NBA Finals show what Orlando Magic need most to become serious contenders

The Orlando Magic can take some lessons away from the final teams left in the race for the championship. 
2024 NBA Finals - Game One
2024 NBA Finals - Game One / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages

The Orlando Magic are in a unique position this summer. They have an incredibly talented young core and plenty of cap space to build around it. Securing fifth place in the Eastern Conference, the Magic already made their first playoff run with Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, and Jalen Suggs.

Now, it is time to build a team that can actually win a series. Battling the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games, the Magic already came close, but in the end, it was not enough. 

The playoffs were a great learning experience, especially for the core three, and now the front office knows exactly what the team still needs. Banchero has admitted already that he would love to have a table-setter around so he can operate more as an offensive hub than the team's point guard. 

The team's need for help at the point guard spot certainly became obvious in the playoffs, as the Magic often struggled to get the offense going, especially on the road. That is not all, however, and the Magic can take some lessons away from the final teams left in the race for the championship. 

The Magic need more shooting to become serious contenders

The Magic's need for three-point shooting should be no surprise to anyone. The Magic finished the regular season 24th in three-point percentage, and their inability to stretch the floor hurt them in the playoffs. We have talked about it before, but the finals exemplified that need. 

It is no coincidence that the second-best three-point shooting team for the season is in the finals and that all four of the final teams left ranked in the top eight of three-point percentage among all playoff teams. 

Having several reliable three-point threats is crucial in today's NBA if you want to go on a deep playoff run. Just look at the Boston Celtics. Over the regular season, they had eight players averaging at least four three-point attempts per game, and none of them shot worse than 35.4 percent. The Celtics aren't even really playing anyone who cannot shoot the three. 

In the playoffs, the volume changed for some players, but the same eight players are still all averaging over three attempts per game. Al Horford's and Jayson Tatum's shooting numbers plummeted compared to the regular season—they are currently shooting 34.9 percent and 29.9 percent respectively. Nevertheless, the Celtics still have four players shooting around 40 percent for the playoffs. They have the depth to largely make up for shooting slumps and that has been incredibly valuable

The Magic are often compared to the Celtics because they are also building around two talented wings. Now just imagine Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner surrounded by the kind of shooting Boston has available. 

The Celtics are no exception, however. Dallas currently ranks sixth in playoff three-point percentage. Three-point shooting is not as important for them as it is for the Celtics, but it still plays a role, especially for Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. The Mavericks have only lost six playoff games so far, and in all six losses, they did not shoot the three particularly well. 

Indiana and Minnesota, the last two teams eliminated before the NBA Finals, also featured several players shooting around 40 percent from three on a relatively high volume. 

Orlando does not have that right now, and the lesson should be clear: three-point shooting depth plays a big role in most deep playoff runs. Out of the last six NBA champions, all but two ranked in the top ten in three-point percentage for the playoffs, and all but one were a top-10 three-point shooting team in the regular season as well. 

Hopefully, this offseason will see some three-point threats coming to Orlando.