1 Orlando Magic candidate for each NBA award
Defensive Player of The Year: Jonathan Isaac
Jonathan Isaac’s injuries have hampered him the last few years. An ACL injury during the bubble in 2020 and a torn left abductor muscle caused the forward to miss 160 games since his injury in the NBA bubble.
Before injuries derailed him, Isaac became well-known for his defensive intensity and upside. Many people believed he had the tools to become a regular member of the All-Defensive first team and maybe even win a Defensive Player of the Year or two. While we are well removed from those days, the defensive prowess remains.
Cole Anthony is still a believer, at least. He said after the Orlando Magic’s season-opening win over the Houston Rockets that Isaac could win Defensive Player of the Year. Jamahl Mosley told his team before the preseason opener on the latest episode of Orlando Magic All-Access that he sees at least three players who can be on the All-Defensive team.
Isaac is undoubtedly one of them. But if there is any award the Magic wants to win or get recognition for, it is this one.
The Magic believe they can be a top-10 defense this Year. That all starts with Isaac’s health. He is finally healthy for the beginning stages of training camp, which has not happened for a few years.
The Magic had a 107.7 defensive rating in the minutes Issac was on the floor last season. While the sample is small, it showed that he had not lost much on the defensive side, a positive sign for the upcoming Year.
The Magic are playing him in limited minutes still off the bench. That might slow his candidacy for the award. But he can clearly still hold his own defensively and make some stellar plays on that end.