OMD Roundtable: Recapping the Orlando Magic's breakthrough season

The Orlando Magic were among the surprises in the Eastern Conference and the entire NBA this season. They broke through to become the fifth seed in the playoffs. Before those begin, we look back at a successful season.
The Orlando Magic experienced a surge this season and broke through to make the Playoffs this year.
The Orlando Magic experienced a surge this season and broke through to make the Playoffs this year. / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
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OMD Roundtable: Recapping the Orlando Magic's breakthrough season

What postseason award would you like to see a Magic player win?

Philip: I want to see Jalen Suggs on the All-Defensive team. It is so hard to build a defensive reputation in this league and so much of these All-Defensive teams are about your reputation around the league and not necessarily about your actual defensive ability.

Suggs picked up that defensive reputation so quickly. He is not going to win Defensive Player of the Year, but everyone exited this year saying – and that includes national media – Suggs could win that award sometime in the future.

Suggs being on the All-Defensive team (first or second, although I think the first team would be huge for him) is a sign of respect for Suggs’ work and what the Magic are building.

Brandon: I am all aboard the train to get Jamahl Mosley the Coach of the Year award.

Yes, Oklahoma City Thunder coach, Mark Daigneault, led his squad to the top seed in the West at 57-25. It is a huge accomplishment for them with a baby-faced roster in their own right. But the Thunder were slotted as a playoff team this year after finishing just two games worse than .500 while waiting for the return of Chet Holmgren to star alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (a top five vote-getter for MVP last season).

Meanwhile, in Orlando, Mosley taking a team from the 6th and 11th picks in the 2023 Draft to division champions is, in my opinion, on par with Daigneault’s job out West. Orlando’s head honcho has not bolstered his roster with flashy free-agent signings to play alongside Paolo Banchero and company, either (sorry, Joe). He has built this roster, through the draft, from the ground up. From the first overall pick to the playoffs. That’s Coach of the Year stuff.

Tyler: For me it would also be seeing Jalen Suggs on an all defensive team which I definitely think he will earn.

For the sake of picking something different, I would like to see Moe Wagner get some Sixth Man of the Year consideration. I hear Coby White and Malik Monk the most but the Chicago Bulls were not very good this year and underachieved again, and Malik Monk had more points per game but had what would be considered a down year for him from three (35 percent).

Wagner shot 60 percent from the floor this season, he had a better plus/minus than the other candidates and Monk did not play a game in April. 

Omar: The most deserving award this season has to be coach of the year for Jamahl Mosley. All of the sayings and all of the beliefs that Mosley has been instilling into this team have started to translate into the win column. The culture that the team built over the years started with Mosley and it shows on and off the court the team plays for each other and wants to see the next man succeed.

The team has also exceeded expectations across the board as the Magic were slated for the Play-In Tournament by the major sites and ended up settling as the 5-seed.   

Coby: I know it was already touched on, but my pick is Paolo Banchero for All-NBA. Banchero averaged 22.5 points, 5.4 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game. He was the best player on a young playoff team that won 13 more games. His efficiency has shot up since his rookie year, and he did it on a team that had no playoff expectation.

He also played 80 of 82 games this season as a number-one option and he had an above-average defensive rating which was a big question in his game this year. He deserves at least to be third team.

Alfred: I would have to hop on the train of Jamahl Mosley being named the NBA Coach of the Year. Despite having wonderful and deserving candidates in the race with him like the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Mark Daigneault and Minnesota Timberwolves' Chris Finch, Jamahl Mosley really has been on a three-year incline that is beginning to get close to the top with what he was able to do this season.

Mosley more than doubled his win total from his first season in 2022 when Orlando finished with 22 wins and ended up with the first overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft. He won the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month back in November when Orlando was riding a historic nine-game winning streak which tied for the longest in franchise history.

Mosley also built a culture in the Orlando locker room himself that has got the team in competition for the East in a legitimate way. I respect everything Daigneault and Finch have done for their respective teams in the Thunder and Timberwolves as they have earned top three seeds in the West and had 55-plus win seasons. But, Mosley’s work has been all about the rebuild in the team and culture and that has come to a head during the 2024 season. 

Harrison: I agree that seeing Jalen Suggs on the All-Defensive team would be a major accomplishment. His improvement this year has been eye-opening to the player he can still become.

Magic fans were expecting this type of production from their fifth overall pick when he was drafted but injuries hindered his development. He came into this season with a vengeance on the defensive end and displayed what he is capable of. There are not many guards who can defend a team’s best player and still have the third-best defensive field goal percentage in the league.

Suggs plays 110% every night and he has been able to sustain his defensive energy throughout the season. It would be a great building block for his career and would give him even more momentum to continue his growth into next season. 

Patrick: I think the potential awards include Jalen Suggs for the All-Defensive team, Paolo Banchero for an All-NBA team and Jamahl Mosley for Coach of the Year. Out of that group, I think the most likely honor is Jalen Suggs getting an All-Defensive nod.

Holding a defensive rating of 110.4, Suggs has made his presence felt on the defensive end. When opposing teams play the Magic, they know that Suggs and company will make their night tough out on the perimeter and I think the national media will recognize the engine behind the defensive prowess for Orlando.