Since Dwight Howard was traded from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012, the reasons to be optimistic as a Magic fan have been few and far between.
There have been some less-than-inspirational moves made by management, draft disappointments a plenty and, of course, a consistent culture of losing.
The team has reached the playoffs just twice and both were first-round cameos that never developed into much more. Injuries ended that run in the COVID-shortened 2021 season and the team embarked on a new rebuild plan.
That got some life with the selection of Paolo Banchero with the first overall pick in 2022 and Franz Wagner’s emergence in his rookie season in 2022. Despite a 5-20 start to last season, Orlando rallied to 34 wins and was the last team eliminated from postseason contention.
That finish and Banchero’s Rookie of the Year Award win raised the expectations for the 2024 season.
Things feel different in the City Beautiful now. And even though there are still plenty of fans scarred by the decade of futility and hesitant to jump on board.
The Orlando Magic are off to a solid start this year and have already given their fans plenty of reasons to believe this is something that can last.
Orlando is working to give its fan base a reason to believe — they certainly are responding with sellouts in the first four games at the Amway Center this season.
The team does not seem to have a unanimous ceiling or floor among NBA analysts. A winning season and making the playoffs feel just as likely as missing the play in.
Still, the Magic have done their part establishing a strong defense to race out to a 5-4 start this season.
For the first time in more than a decade, the Magic and their fans have a real chance to win. Here are 3 reasons to believe in this year’s Orlando Magic team.