Expectations for the Orlando Magic are through the roof this offseason. At least among Magic fans.
Everyone saw the excitement that comes with Paolo Banchero’s Rookie of the Year campaign and the history he made throughout his rookie year — let alone the performance he put on in his debut with Team USA ahead of this month’s World Cup.
The team itself really seemed to put some things together. After getting healthy following a 5-20 start without any point guards, the Magic went 29-28. Their statistics — a -0.5 net rating — suggest they were at least a near-.500 team for about three-quarters of the season.
That was something the team can build on. And indeed, the Magic have bet on this continuity carrying over with a young team ready to get better.
The Orlando Magic have a lot to build on as they try to push their way into the postseason picture. But there are still plenty of things to clean up and their path forward is not as certain as it feels.
Still, the Magic had a negative net rating even during this time. They outperformed their statistics in some ways and this is still a .500 team subject to the whims and ups and downs of inconsistency that teams like the Magic would typically see.
Despite the overall optimism for the upcoming season, there are still plenty of things to clean up. The Magic’s rise to the postseason is not assured even with the talent on this roster.
Orlando fans might be extremely optimistic about this team. The rest of the NBA world sees the potential but is at least a little bit skeptical about whether it all comes together this season for the breakthrough. Even the most realistic optimistic projections have the Magic playing in the Play-In Tournament this year.
There are a lot of reasons to believe in the Magic during the 2024 season. There are at least a few reasons to still cast some doubt. And there are obviously a lot of questions the team has to answer this season one way or the other.
As we sit here and begin to think of the contours of the season, here are three reasons the Magic are on the rise and two reasons still to be concerned.