5 Orlando Magic games that should have been on national TV
April 12: at Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers roster is up in the air. James Harden requested a trade this offseason but it has been reported that he is currently at training camp.
Last season, Joel Embiid was finally crowned the NBA’s MVP, but he could not carry his team past the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The team has consistently made the playoffs but has yet to get over the hump of making their first NBA Finals in the Embiid era. Selecting this game for national television could pay off as this is the second to last game of the season.
The 76ers are likely to make the playoffs again and still have championship aspirations, but they are clearly falling behind if Harden is indeed on his way out.
Orlando also will hopefully be fighting for its playoff life, but this game goes beyond playoff implications.
This is the Markelle Fultz game.
Fultz has had quite the journey since he was traded from Philadelphia, which has unbelievably been four seasons ago.
After his initial season in pinstripes, Fultz has had difficulty staying on the court. From torn ACLs to broken toes, luck has not been in his favor.
This is Fultz’s first offseason where he was fully healthy and preparing for training camp at 100 percent. What a sigh of relief it must be for him.
He had glimpses of why he was the first overall selection in 2017 throughout last year, and the Magic organization believes this is not even the tip of the iceberg.
In 60 games last year, Fultz had career highs in points, assists, rebounds, blocks, steals, field goal percentage and three-point percentage.
He is only 25 years old and has played 191 games through six seasons. He has not even played two and a half seasons yet of total games. The tip of the iceberg is right.
Fultz is ready to attack training camp and prepare for a great start to the season.
He has been adamant about the potential of this young team and how they can make some noise in the Eastern Conference. Fultz has the skill set and mental fortitude to steer this young team in the right direction.
This game against the 76ers will be nostalgic for Fultz and a full-circle moment of the hurdles he has faced in his short career.
In a televised game, the Magic will want to exhibit how far Fultz has come since he was nationally recognized as a “bust” as he fought through injuries early in his career.
Orlando has been a perfect place for him to regather himself and focus on the game of basketball and be partially exempt from the media relative to his time in Philadelphia.
Surprisingly, Fultz has played only two games in Philadelphia since his trade — both coming in back-to-back games last year in January and February. This is at least a curious matchup considering how high-profile Fultz’s tenure with Philadelphia ended up being.
Unfortunately the Magic’s lone scheduled trip to Philadelphia comes on the same day the Los Angeles Lakers vsiit the Memphis Grizzlies for an NBATV game. It is hard to argue against that.
If there is a good bet for the Magic to get a national TV game out of this matchup, it would be Dec. 27 when the two face off at the Amway Center. NBATV is opting to air the Toronto Raptors and the Washington Wizards instead.
The Magic are ready to show every team in the NBA that they have arrived and their time is now. You can feel the anticipation from fans, reporters, and the entire organization that winning is coming.
Unfortunately, the NBA’s broadcast partners are a bit slow on the take to catch on.