5 measures for success for the Orlando Magic in 2024 (besides winning)

Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic have shown shooting improvement, but it remains a key weakness for this team. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Paolo Banchero and the Orlando Magic have shown shooting improvement, but it remains a key weakness for this team. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls
Jalen Suggs again delivered a huge shot for the Orlando Magic as they bested the Chicago Bulls for their first road win. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

5 measures of success for the 2024 Orlando Magic (besides winning)

Winning clutch opportunities, or avoiding them entirely

So this is a bit of a lie. Winning clutch games is all about winning at the end of the day. And it is an important measure for the Magic to achieve their goals.

This is something that will not necessarily show up in the team’s final record. But it will be a critical component of the team’s final record.

It is worth remembering that close games are a crap shoot. They are truly 50/50 games. Good teams can have bad clutch records and bad teams can be good in clutch situations.

The best teams do not win close games, they avoid them.

That is also a lie. At the stage, the Magic are at in competing for a Play-In spot, winning close games could very well determine what kind of season they have. When the margins are this small, the Magic need to pick up wins wherever they can find them.

There certainly will be pressure to perform in close games. And this Magic team is likely again going to be in a lot of close games this year.

Last year, the Magic played in 44 clutch situations (when the game was within five points in the final five minutes). That was the ninth-most in the league.

They went 19-25 in those games, suggesting there were plenty of wins left on the board for them. Orlando surprisingly was one of the worst defensive teams in clutch situations overall, giving up 120.4 points per 100 possessions (29th in the league).

These are small sample sizes, but it certainly suggests the Magic gave up a lot of games at the end of them. This is especially true during the 5-20 start when Orlando was 3-12 in clutch situations. That is a big reason why the Magic got off to such a slow start.

If Orlando had the same win percentage it had for the rest of the season, the team would have gone 6-9. That is three more games, the number of games remaining when the Magic were officially eliminated from the postseason.

Still, the Magic got very good late in games to end the season as you can tell. Orlando went 16-13 in clutch situations from Dec. 7 through April 4 with a +5.1 net rating (117.4 offensive rating/112.3 defensive rating).

That is the overall profile of a team that is going to win some games. If anything, the Magic may have underperformed in clutch situations based off their net rating — again, small sample sizes when dealing with clutch situations.

Since these games are all 50/50 shots for the most part and even good teams can lose games on a bounce, this is a big deal. Rarely does a team have back-to-back good records in clutch situations. It is hard to know where to categorize the Magic in this sense.

Next. Orlando Magic's guards stand out with competitiveness. dark

Either way, their ability to win these close games could very well determine their season and determine whether they will play deep into April.