One advantage the Orlando Magic have over Play-In competitors
Chicago Bulls: A leading point guard
The Chicago Bulls made the Play-In Tournament last season but nobody is putting the mortgage on them for this upcoming season.
In 2023, they were probably best known for DeMar DeRozan’s daughter taking the basketball world by storm against the Toronto Raptors with her high-pitched voice. And while their lone play-in win offered hope, it was short-lived as they were bounced by the Miami Heat two days later after leading in the fourth quarter on the road.
It was par for the course for a team that has had its past few years filled with disappointment.
Injuries that have reshaped the team, trades that have mortgaged the future and stars that might not be enough to win big are the Bulls’ storylines in this era.
But perhaps the biggest Achilles heal to the Chicago Bulls’ chances, and what puts the Orlando Magic ahead, is having a true point guard to run the show.
In 2022, the Bulls — and the entire NBA community — thought Lonzo Ball was going to lead the Bulls to a playoff run with newly acquired DeMar DeRozan, who was on MVP pace at the time.
Unfortunately, that feels like an alternate universe at this point, especially after Ball was ruled out for the entire 2024 NBA season and missed all of last season too. The Bulls have been looking for support for their three stars and have struggled to find it.
For the Magic, Markelle Fultz has stayed healthy and cemented his place as the team’s starting point guard.
They play better with him out on the floor and the additions of Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony and Anthony Black give Orlando guard depth that Chicago simply does not have.
Overall, it seems like both of these teams are moving in opposite directions — a spiral and rise that was spurred by the Wendell Carter-Nikola Vucevic trade from March 2021.
The Bulls are trying to hang on for dear life to stay competitive and the Magic are looking to finally break through with a much more promising future.
Orlando will have the edge in the upcoming season.