Orlando Magic stuck in between: Eastern Conference Power Rankings

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Orlando Magic
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – MARCH 02: Cole Anthony #50 of the Orlando Magic celebrates Jalen Suggs #4 and Wendell Carter Jr. #34 against the Indiana Pacers during the first half at Amway Center on March 02, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

It is August and optimism about the Orlando Magic and their future is easy to find at this point.

That is a good thing. Everyone should believe how good this team can be.

If there is something that can give everyone optimism it is that the pathway to make the Play-In Tournament is not an overly difficult one. Climbing from the bottom of the conference to the middle of the pack just takes the right spark.

Staying there is another story entirely.

The Eastern Conference is more competitive than ever as the Orlando Magic look for their place ahead of the 2023 season.

Adding to the intrigue is teams are just better and smarter about rebuilding. There are few teams in the Eastern Conference that are just out and out bad. There are reasons for all 15 teams in the Eastern Conference to believe they are capable of making the play-in tournament at least. That is if everything breaks right.

And for the teams that this dream is a bit far-fetched, they are at least teams that should be looking ahead to their future. Not a team that is muddling at the bottom or sinking (there might be one team there that is asking real questions about its future and its overall direction).

The Eastern Conference is as competitive as it has been in recent history. This is not the days of the early 2010s when LeBron James ran roughshod over the conference for the decade with naysayers claiming the East just parted like the Red Sea for him.

That is not the case. The competition is fierce and rising in the standings is not going to be easy. It will not be a one-year ticket either (probably).

The Eastern Conference is tougher. And while everyone should have outsized beliefs in what they could accomplish this season, some team is going to disappoint just as much as some team is going to surprise. Someone is going to settle into the bottom of the standings.

The Orlando Magic are a team that is in the middle of all of these interplays.

Nobody will consider the Magic a title contender — even the most optimistic (or reasonably optimistic) fans — but there are certainly enough people who think this team has postseason potential. That may be a dream, but it is one the team should realistically aspire to.

The reality is the Magic are likely going to sink near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. That is what everyone expects from them. And that might be the realistic situation for the Magic.

Still, Orlando is optimistic about what it can accomplish in 2023 and what the team can learn. There is a path for the team to climb the Eastern Conference standings — even with the difficult start for the Magic to the season — but the Magic are still near the bottom of the Eastern Conference ecosystem.

With the offseason mostly done and thoughts turning to the 2023 season. It is good to look at how the Magic fit into the Eastern Conference at this moment.