Midseason Report Cards 2017-18

2017-18 Midseason Report Card: Orlando Magic

Sekou Smith

Sekou Smith

(All stats and records through Jan. 14; for report cards for all 30 teams click here.)

Offense: 103.5, 24th Overall

Defense: 109.0, 27th Overall

W-L | Pct. | GB

12-31 | .279 | 21.5

Conf.: 7-19

Div.: 2-7

Home: 7-12

Road: 5-19

FRONTCOURT: C

Aaron Gordon was playing at an All-Star level early on before injury interrupted his flow. Nikola Vucevic scores and rebounds better than he gets credit for, but is not the defender or rim protector his dimensions suggest he should be. Jonathan Simmons has been a solid role player.

BACKCOURT: C-

Evan Fournier puts up solid scoring numbers but doesn’t impact the game in other areas the way he could. Elfrid Payton is shooting career bests from the floor and beyond the 3-point line but hasn’t seen a spike in his raw numbers.

DEFENSE: F

A bottom five defensive team, the Magic have not developed any sort of identity and it continues to be one of the things that have plagued the franchise during their playoff drought. They’re not good enough to outscore people and cannot lock down when they need to.

BENCH: D

Bismack Biyombo and Marreese Speights in the frontcourt and D.J. Augustin and Shelvin Mack in the backcourt are veterans who were supposed to bolster the lineup. But the chemistry hasn’t come together yet. Mario Hezonja, however, is playing like a man heading toward (unrestricted) free agency.

COACHING: D

Frank Vogel’s time in Indiana, a stretch that included back-to-back trips to the Eastern Conference finals, suggested that he was a defensive-minded coach with the ability to push all the right buttons. But it hasn’t happened yet in Orlando. He’s working with young talent that is not yet ready for prime time.

OVERALL GRADE: D-

As shocking as it may seem, Dwight Howard is playing on his fourth different team since departing Orlando and taking the postseason mojo with him. The Magic, still trying to rebound from the departure of a franchise player, have yet to identify and develop a replacement. Never mind all of the high Draft picks they’ve gotten their hands on in the five-plus years since he’s been gone.

There’s a reason the Magic made a regime change after last season. And Jeff Weltman and John Hammond deserve an opportunity and a little time to make the necessary changes to jumpstart the program. They have a potential star in Gordon, whose clearly taken his game to another level this season. But they need more, much more, if they are going to find their way back to the postseason anytime soon.

Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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