5 Positives from Magic’s First Half of Season

by Josh Cohen

#1 Franz Wagner’s Exceptional Play

Where exactly Wagner deserves to rank in the NBA’s Rookie of the Year race is up for debate. But the fact that he’s in the conversation for this honor is a great sign for his development. After his Sixers played the Magic recently, Doc Rivers said the 6-foot-10 forward doesn’t play like a rookie, pointing to his toughness and poise as reasons why. His play in December was incredible, doing things rarely seen from a first-year Magic player. The 38 points he scored against Milwaukee was tied for the third-most by an Orlando rookie. For his splendid play, he was named December’s Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month.

#2 More Competitive Lately

From the beginning, Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley has said this season is about making steady progress. The fact that they’ve been in every game until the very end lately is a sign they are heading in the right direction. Crunch time can be scary for young teams. It will do the Magic wonders if they can find a way to pull out some wins in the coming games that require big plays to be made down the stretch.

#3 A Bright Future

This team can’t be properly judged until they are at full strength. A young core featuring Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony, Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr., R.J. Hampton, Chuma Okeke, and Mo Bamba is intriguing when all are healthy and available. Adding to the excitement is that the Magic have a ton of draft capital going forward. For now, the rehab work for the injured, the skill training in the gym, and the principles being taught by the Magic’s coaching staff are what’s most critical.

#4 A Road-Heavy First Half to Transition into a Home-Heavy Second Half

By the time this upcoming three-game road trip is complete, the Magic will have played 27 road games, the most for any team through mid-January. This also obviously means that the Magic will be home a ton the rest of the way. Why is that so important? Being home will give this team more opportunity to practice together in their own gym and allow the coaches and players to get some much-needed rest between games.

#5 Some Impressive Stats

Obviously, being 7-34 is not what anyone on this team wants. But there are a few things they should be happy about. Where they rank in two key defensive categories is among the positives. Currently, the Magic rank sixth in opponent fast break points and seventh in opponent points in the paint. They also rank in the top half of the league in charges drawn, a “bell play.” When at full strength, the Magic have the personnel to be an elite defensive team.

NEXT UP:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter