This would be the first time within the historical past of sports activities journalism that anyone has ever written this a few 16-28 staff that has the third-worst file in its personal convention:
The Orlando Magic rebuild – or at the very least this model of the Orlando Magic rebuild – is working.
It’s truly working.
The purpose we are saying “this version” of the Magic rebuild is to correctly acknowledge the dreary decade that has ensued because the inaugural rebuild started, adopted by all of its failed iterations. Actually, it’s been greater than a decade – 11 years to be actual – since Dwight Howard pressured his means out of city, Stan Van Gundy was fired and former Magic GM Rob Hennigan blew up the roster and began the unique reboot.
The outcomes had been disastrous. Over the subsequent decade, the Magic compiled the worst file within the league with no actual finish in sight. Hennigan was fired after 5 seasons and the Magic employed the present Magic administration staff of president Jeff Weltman and normal supervisor John Hammond to exchange him.
Weltman and Hammond inherited Hennigan’s mediocre roster with the organizational edict of getting again to the playoffs as quickly as potential. Weltman and Hammond adopted orders, employed sage coach Steve Clifford a 12 months later and the Magic had been a back-end playoff staff in Clifford’s first two seasons. Then, in fact, all of it got here crumbling down two seasons in the past after season-ending knee accidents to Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz.
That’s when Weltman made the controversial resolution to commerce All-Star middle Nikola Vucevic and different core veterans corresponding to Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier for a haul of younger gamers, draft picks and cap house. Clifford was not on board with the plan and negotiated an exit technique.
And, so, Weltman and Hammond pressed Control – Alt – Delete, employed a brand new younger coach in Jamahl Mosley and launched into their first complete rebuild of the Magic roster. That was 1 1/2 seasons in the past and I’m right here to inform you at the moment it’s trying good.
Bianchi, you fool, how will you say that?!!! This Magic staff is worse than the Vooch-led playoff staff of some seasons in the past!
This could also be true proper now, however these two Vooch-led, one-and-done playoff groups completed a mixed 5 video games beneath .500 and had a ceiling that was decrease than Danny DeVito’s igloo. Those Vooch groups had been by no means going to be any higher than mediocre.
The Magic, with 11 gamers 24-years-old or youthful, now have a creating younger core led by Rookie of the Year favourite Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner (All Rookie First Team final season). You don’t should be an NBA personnel and analytics skilled to see Banchero has celebrity potential and Wagner has All-Star potential.
Wagner himself is sufficient for me to declare that the Magic received the Vooch commerce with the Chicago Bulls in a landslide. There’s no denying the Bulls have been disappointing since they made the blockbuster commerce for Vooch, whose manufacturing has declined dramatically in Chicago.
Meanwhile, the Magic turned one of many two first-round picks it acquired within the Vooch commerce into Wagner, who proper now could be averaging extra factors (20.3 to 17.2) than Vooch though Vooch remains to be a double-double machine.
When you contemplate the Magic additionally acquired younger, defensive-minded middle Wendell Carter Jr. and Chicago’s first-round draft decide this season within the Vooch commerce, this can go down as the perfect deal the Magic have made since they shipped Steve Francis and his bloated contract to the Knicks for Penny Hardaway’s expiring contract and the cap house that allowed them to signal Rashard Lewis.
With Banchero and Wagner, the Magic, for the primary time because the authentic rebuild started, know who they should construct round. In the previous, after drafting Gordon, Elfrid Payton, Mario Hezonja, Victor Oladipo, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba, administration had no clue if these gamers would grow to be future stars.
The Magic even have an intriguing mix of different younger gamers, together with Carter, Bol Bol, Jalen Suggs, level guards Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony and — fingers crossed — Issac (pending his return from damage).
Moreover, Banchero has the ability set, the charisma and the road cred across the NBA to draw future free brokers who hopefully will wish to come play with him sometime quickly.
And make no mistake about it, the Magic, after they’re prepared, can have the wherewithal to have the ability to make a run at free agent stars. They can have most cap flexibility and loads of draft capital to make a future free agent splash. If you’re scoring at house, the Magic have have 9 first-round draft picks over the subsequent seven seasons, which ranks them among the many league leaders.
Weltman has contended all alongside he received’t make a blockbuster deal only for a “sugar high” or to “rush back to mediocrity.” He will wait till he believes the Magic are able to contend earlier than going big-game looking.
Who is aware of when that day will come, however at the very least we now have some proof that this model of the Orlando Magic rebuild is working.
Hallelujah, it’s truly working.
Email me at [email protected]. Hit me up on Twitter @BianchiWrites and hearken to my Open Mike radio present each weekday from 6 to 9:30 a.m. on FM 96.9, AM 740 and HD 101.1-2