5 Orlando Magic players with the most to gain from the 2024 NBA Playoffs

The Orlando Magic are at the tail end of their best season since the Dwight Howard era. While they have made some strides in terms of earning national respect, there is still much to build on and work for. They will have a lot of questions to answer this postseason.

The Orlando Magic are preparing to burst onto the postseason stage and they have a lot to prove in their first trip.
The Orlando Magic are preparing to burst onto the postseason stage and they have a lot to prove in their first trip. / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
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Orlando Magic players with the most to gain from the 2024 NBA Playoffs

What busts?: Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac

Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac have had some similarities in the early parts of their NBA careers.

Both were top picks in the 2017 NBA draft where Isaac was taken No. 6 by the Orlando Magic and Markelle Fultz was the unanimous top prospect in the draft at that time to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Take a minute to process and remember that last point. Markelle Fultz was the unanimous top prospect in a draft that included Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, De'Aaron Fox, Donovan Mitchell and many other modern-day big-name players.

Isaac was considered one of the best defensive players in the draft and someone who in 6-7 years (present-day ironically) had the potential to be the best player from that draft class.

Unfortunately for both players, neither have lived up to hype. Injuries were both constant and impactful.

While on the 76ers, Fultz battled with one of the more bizarre injury stories in recent NBA memory. A victim of a hard-to-diagnose condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that limits movement in the neck and shoulders.

Fultz spent the end of his time in PHiladelphia constantly missing games and when he did play he struggled.

Once properly diagnosed, treated and traded to Orlando, Fultz has been a regular starter at times for the Magic and a good NBA point guard during his time in the City Beautiful.

But NBA fans aside from the Magic seem to have forgotten about him. And then an ACL injury further put him behind the 8-ball and it still seems he is recovering from it after dealing with left knee tendinitis throughout this season.

Isaac has always been with the Magic, but you would be hard to say he has played his full time in Orlando. INjuries were the story for him throughout from an ankle injury to the knee injuries that robbed him of two full seasons.

Since his rookie season in 2018, he has only played in 201 total career NBA games. Mostly due to a variety of leg injuries that have been long-term or season-ending, Isaac is no stranger to the injury bug and his time away from the court has impacted both the perception of his skill as well as his development.

Despite the hiccups, when on the court Isaac has proven to be a good player.

An elite-level defender at times who has shown major growth in his offensive game, Isaac remains one of the most fascinating players on the Magic's roster.

He averages about 2.4 “stocks” (a combination of steals and blocks) per game for his career and has averaged around 40 percent from the 3-point line in the past two seasons when healthy. For comparison, Rudy Gobert and Anthony Davis average 2.8 and 3.6 stocks per game respectively and Karl-Anthony Towns shoots about 42.3 percent from three.

With some big moments, games, or series in the 2024 NBA playoffs, Fultz or Isaac may be set up to remind the world why they were drafted so high in 2017.

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The NBA fans may have written off Fultz and Isaac, but they still have not written back. It would be poetic to see one of these two (if not both) players who have been through so much have a meaningful impact for Orlando this postseason for the entire world to see.