Orlando Magic need to start preparing for Playoff rotations

The Orlando Magic are 42-30 and need to start preparing for the postseason. This is the time of year when teams tighten up rotations, finalize lineups and fight for seeding. The Magic are a deep team but will have to tighten up their rotation to prepare for the playoffs.

Sacramento Kings v Orlando Magic
Sacramento Kings v Orlando Magic / Rich Storry/GettyImages

The playoffs and the regular season are different in many ways.

Rotations are usually the key difference in how teams approach those games. Teams tighten their rotations and play their starters heavier minutes. Coaches, having to win playoff games, go to the players they trust the most and only deviate when they need to make an adjustment.

The Orlando Magic have depth -- they have the fourth-highest-scoring bench in the NBA -- but even a deep team like the Magic will tighten things up for the Playoffs.

Depth is an important aspect during the regular season. And while it is important to have depth during the postseason, traditionally teams cut down their rotations to eight or nine players to make sure their best players are on the court.

The Magic are no different and have to start working to get into playoff mode. They will have to tighten their 10-man rotation and probably bump Paolo Banchero (34.8 minutes per game) and Franz Wagner's (32.7 minutes per game) minutes up. Even Jalen Suggs (26.7 minutes per game) and certainly Jonathan Isaac (15.3 minutes per game) will have to play more when the Playoffs begin.

That also means some players are probably not going to be part of the playoff rotation -- even players who have been important throughout the regular season.

To start there has been an outcry to get Anthony Black any minutes to get any playoff experience. But the Magic seemingly have their 10-man rotation at the moment when the team is healthy. And Black is not part of it.

He is not the only one who may see his minutes cut when the postseason begins.

There is going to be a change in the rotation -- whether it is a change in minutes or simply cutting someone out of the lineup entirely. A change is likely coming and should be done sooner rather than later to prepare the team for Playoff games.

The games they are playing are already at Playoff intensity, or something closer to it.

There are key changes that should be made as the team ramps up to postseason.

Jonathan Isaac without a doubt needs more minutes in the playoffs.

Isaac has been a great defender all season long. But since the All-Star break, Isaac has reached a new level.

Since the break, Isaac is averaging 9.5 points per game (10.5 in March) and 4.8 rebounds per game in only 16.7 minutes per game.

While these numbers do not jump off the page, Isaac has been scorching from the field shooting 64.4 percent and 63.3 percent from three. Isaac continues to be one of the best defenders in the league but continues to improve on the offensive end of the floor.

This version of Isaac is going to be the Magic's X factor in the postseason. The Magic need to have Isaac on the floor as long as possible.

Isaac's versatility to play anywhere on the floor is going to make it easy to have him on the floor. And it will allow the magic to use him in a variety of lineups and situations. He is the kind of player who can turn a playoff game and series.

The Magic also need to press with lineups and groups that have provably worked.

The starting lineup of Jalen Suggs-Gary Harris-Franz Wagner-Paolo Banchero-Wendell Carter has gone 11-0 with a +14.6 net rating. It has been very good with shooting across the floor and strong defense.

That group is the base of everything the Magic do. Their lineups should grow from that lineup.

Isaac's versatility allows him to be plugged in various ways into that lineup, which the Magic have done in the past with Suggs-Wagner-Banchero-Isaac-Carter and have shown flashes of strong play. The Magic are even using Isaac as the backup center.

The other major change has to be with Markelle Fultz.

This would not be a discussion if Fultz was healthy. But unfortunately, he has not been himself all season long. Last season's version of Fultz would be an important piece going into the playoffs, but his body has failed him this season and he will likely get played off the floor.

Fultz is averaging 7.5 points per game and shooting 47.0 percent from the floor, but he has been hesitant to shoot threes and defenses know that.

His inability to shoot the ball shrinks the floor and makes his greatest attributes of getting to the rim and play-making for his teammates even harder.

Fultz's role has been getting smaller as the season has progressed. His minutes have continued to decrease and he has been taken out of the starting lineup -- Wednesday was his first start since before the All-Star Break.

Fultz's numbers and efficiency has also been down since the All-Star Break. While he provides some defense, this inability to be a threat on offense is going to kill the Magic in the Playoffs.

Regardless of the numbers, defenses are ignoring Fultz on the perimeter and packing the paint when Fultz attempts to get into the paint. His play style has changed even getting away from the midrange jump shots he was comfortable with last season.

At this point, Fultz will be played off the floor in the postseason, especially against strong defensive teams like the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers who protect the paint at a high level and rank fifth and sixth respectively in paint defense.

This would cut the Magic's rotation down to nine allowing for one starter to be on the floor at all times.

That gives more minutes to go around and a better chance for players to get into a rhythm. Creating a new rotation and a new distribution of minutes is going to be a test for Jamahl Mosley.

With time ticking on the regular season, now is the time to insert whatever that rotation looks like. Especially as the games increase in intensity.

The season is coming quickly coming to an end. The Magic will be playing postseason basketball.

The Magic need to begin preparing for playoff basketball. That starts with the rotations and who will actually play in these games and in what combinations.

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The Magic need to get a feel for what that may look like, Whether it be minutes redistribution or players being edged out of the rotation, it is going to be important that the Magic are ready for when the playoffs begin.