5 questions for the second quarter of the Orlando Magic's 2024 season
Can the team maintain and grow its offense?
The Orlando Magic spent the first quarter of their season establishing their defensive identity. In the first quarter of the season, Orlando finished fifth in defensive rating at 109.8 points allowed per 100 possessions.
The team's defense feels legitimate and has only gotten better with strong performances against the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers to open the second quarter of the season. The Magic know defense is their calling card.
But any time the Magic struggled -- especially early in the season -- it was because the team could not rely on its offense. And that seems to go double on the road.
Yet, the first quarter of the season showed some meager signs of life. Orlando finished the first quarter of the season 17th in offensive rating at 113.4 points per 100 possessions.
That is nothing impressive for sure. But considering the Magic have not been outside the bottom 10 in offensive rating since Dwight Howard's final season in pinstripes in 2012, that feels like a big thing. Especially considering the Magic were seventh in the league at home with an offensive rating of 120.3 points per 100 possessions.
There feels like a good offensive team in there for the Magic. And they did all of this without two pretty key offensive players in Wendell Carter and Markelle Fultz and with two extremely low-usage players in the starting lineup in Goga Bitadze and Anthony Black. Both Fultz and Carter should add to the team's offense in some significant ways.
But the team has shown hints it can be a better offensive team.
There will still be issues with the team's spacing. Orlando is one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league and shoots at a low volume. But the team has found a way to overcome that for now.
This quarter of the season will need to further prove the Magic's offense can function consistently or else the team will have to begin thinking about upgrades at the trade deadline in the third quarter of the season.