One advantage the Orlando Magic have over Play-In competitors
Indiana Pacers: Front Court Power
The Indiana Pacers are on a similar timeline as the Orlando Magic.
Both teams were cautiously optimistic about a playoff run last year, despite the odds being stacked against them. Both teams had young franchise players compete in the FIBA World Championships. Both teams have added two players in the first round of last year’s draft.
Both teams even have the same odds for over/under 35.5 wins on the season. These are two teams bursting to break onto the Eastern Conference scene. The Pacers’ big advantage is Tyrese Haliburton is probably a hair ahead of Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner’s development.
Before Haliburton’s injury in February torpedoed the Pacers’ season, the Pacers were in line to break through to the postseason.
But the Magic have a frontcourt that can take advantage of the Pacers in head-to-head matchups.
Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter will be a handful for Myles Turner, despite how good the 2-time blocks leader is on the defensive end.
The addition of Bruce Brown is intriguing. It gives Indiana championship experience the team did not have before but it does not address their need for front-court depth.
The Tyrese Haliburton-Buddy Hield-Bennedict Mathurin experience is going to be fun but the worry is size with each player shorter than 6-foot-6-inches tall.
The Pacers will be relying on rookie Jarace Walker, a solid defender who is short on scoring at least from his time at Houston in college, to fill in at power forward. This is a small and quick team that wants to up the number of possessions.
Maybe that lineup will present matchup issues for Orlando, especially since the Magic struggle to shoot well from deep.
But Orlando can bring out a small ball lineup of their own with Banchero playing the 5 so I do not think there is any inherent advantage for the Pacers in that regard.