5 Orlando Magic needs missed at the trade deadline and how to fill them in the offseason

The Orlando Magic let the trade deadline pass without making any moves, content to see how far this group could go now that they are healthy and facing a more manageable schedule. They still have lingering questions and needs to fill with missed opportunities and options this offseason.
The Orlando Magic missed out on acquiring Buddy Hield. So what direction should they go to fill the needs on the roster?
The Orlando Magic missed out on acquiring Buddy Hield. So what direction should they go to fill the needs on the roster? / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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5 Orlando Magic Needs Missed at the Deadline, and How To Fill Them


The most obvious and important need for the Orlando Magic to address is shooting.

Everyone can see it on the floor even before they get to the numbers. Teams love to pack the paint or go zone against the Magic to try to keep them out of the paint. The next evolution for the Magic is to hit more 3-point shots.

Certainly, when the Magic get to the Playoffs, they are either going to get creative to make space for their drivers to get to the basket, or they are going to have to make shots to make defenses pay for doubling Paolo Banchero (as they are doing in the regular season to excess).

And this team still has far too many showings, like the 9-for-34 performance in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies or a 2-for-23 showing at Cleveland in December. The Magic have games where they get good looks and do not hit those shots.

Orlando needs shooting.

The Magic are 29th in the league, shooting 34.8 percent from deep and ranking 27th in attempts with 31.3 attempts per game. The low volume is probably by design at the moment, considering the Magic's poor percentages. But that may need to change. Orlando is going to have to transform its shooting.

If that was not clear through the first 52 games of the season, it will become extremely clear when they get to the Playoffs and teams are packing the paint and compressing space for Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner to drive.

With Markelle Fultz currently unwilling to shoot from three -- he has only seven total 3-pointers nearly two-thirds of the way through the season -- the Magic are at a major deficit from deep.

If the Magic want to make life easier for their main star players, it has to start with giving them more space and more outlets to pass out to when they do collapse the defense. The Magic need more shooting.

That was a big focus for the team entering the trade deadline. If there was a big disappointment at the deadline, it was that the Magic did not shore up their shooting. That could have been something big like going after Buddy Hield or something small to add that element back into the team.

Orlando is going to regret not getting some shooting for the playoffs this year and must address the need this offseason.

What Could Have Been

Buddy Hield Trade 02.18.24

From the moment the Indiana Pacers and Buddy Hield were unable to come to an extension agreement this summer, Orlando Magic fans thought Hield would be a good idea for this team.

Hield is a volume shooter -- averaging 39.0 percent shooting on 7.0 attempts per game. And that may be the biggest thing the Magic need to add to their lineup. Their best 3-point shooters do not take enough of them to be a big enough threat from deep.

When the Philadelphia 76ers made the deal for Hield by giving up only two veterans and three second-round picks, it felt like some opportunity might have been missed. Would Gary Harris (to Indiana), Chuma Okeke (to San Antonio) and some of the Magic's cache of second-round picks get the job done?

That might be a fair question to ask. At some point, the Magic are going to have to spend their draft capital. And holding onto all of those picks might be the thing holding the team back from these in-season deals for now.

Hield's contract future also probably was a deciding point. Orlando could still go after Hield and sign him in the offseason. But with the Sixers in contention with Joel Embiid, they are likely going to re-sign him this offseason if everything goes well.

Where they could go

The shooting need is not going anywhere for the Magic. And it should be a big priority for the team. Orlando cannot add anyone to the roster who is not a capable shooter.

There is already at least one name on the rumor mill connected to the Magic.

Shams Charania of Stadium told the Pat McAfee Show he anticipates both Florida teams will be among the teams registering interest in sharpshooter Klay Thompson.

Color me skeptical that this is anything more than dot-connecting. I would anticipate Thompson staying in Golden State despite the struggles to come to an extension this offseason. Thompson's injury history and downturn in his play this year make it unlikely the Magic would pursue him.

But Orlando is one of the few contending teams with money. If the Magic wanted their "Horace Grant" and get someone with experience on the roster, they could throw a sweetheart two-year deal at Thompson and see whether that helps. That feels a bit too short-term for this team.

The Magic had been linked to Gary Trent Jr. at last year's trade deadline. Trent is shooting 41.8 percent from three this season. He could be a player the Magic turn to for shooting.

The other player to look at is Malik Monk. He is a free agent and due a big payday. The Sacramento Kings are likely going to try to keep their Sixth Man of the Year front-runner. But he would be a good addition because of how much he can score in a hurry.

In a free agent market short on quality players this offseason, that might be as far as the team is willing to go in free agency.