5 Orlando Magic games that should have been on national TV
Dec. 31: at Phoenix Suns
After the Orlando Magic play the Los Angeles Lakers, they will play 23 games before they face the Phoenix Suns on New Year’s Eve as part of their second West Coast road trip. The stint in between these two games will have significant implications that can make or break their season.
Out of those 23 games, 21 of them will be against Eastern Conference rivals and six of those games are amongst teams in the division.
By the time Orlando faces Phoenix, the NBA season will be more than a quarter complete. The Magic will want to end 2023 on a good note.
Phoenix retooled its roster within the last six months and now boast three All-Stars looking to lead their team to its first championship. The Suns only have one player on the team remaining from when they went to the NBA Finals in 2021.
Many NBA insiders in recent years envisioned the Magic attempting to build a similar roster to the Suns from their Finals run. They built a young team through the draft and were competing at a contending level. The front office in Phoenix felt that the team’s ceiling was limited with its youthful roster and packaged most of their promising talent for win-now stars.
Orlando has been stockpiling young talent and draft assets since the 2021 NBA trade deadline and many fans wonder if the Magic will also make an all-in move in the coming months.
The main reason that this matchup is a candidate for national television is because Paolo Banchero has another opportunity to showcase his elite talent against one of the players he is often compare dto.
Paolo Banchero is certainly trying to mimic some of Kevin Durant’s game as the two worked out together at least once this offseason. Durant seems to have an appreciation for Banchero’s game. Durant signed a jersey for Paolo after their first matchup in November of last year.
Durant poured 45 points on Banchero early in his rookie season so Banchero is going to be circling this one on the calendar as another chance to prove himself.
Unlike the matchup with the Lakers, this game against the Suns is buried on the national television schedule. The NBA does not even have an NBATV game scheduled for New Year’s Eve, nor does it have one when the Suns visit Amway Center on Jan. 28 (a Sunday during the NFL Playoffs, no less).