The Magic are on track to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season, and even have an opportunity to move up in the standings if everything goes right for them at Disney World. They should be at full strength heading into the NBA restart, aside from young center Jonathan Isaac, whose return is up in the air. He'll accompany his team in the bubble as he continues to rehab his way back from a nasty knee injury he suffered in January. The Magic have been playing without Isaac for a couple months, though, so while his presence would be missed, his absence hasn't been a significant blow for this team.
Before the hiatus, Orlando was beginning to put the pieces together, and had the best offensive rating in the league (116.6) in the final month before COVID-19 paused the season. It'll be a challenge to try and capture that success after nearly five months away, but if the Magic want to have any chance at making any sort of noise in the playoffs, they'll need to rebuild that chemistry to get them there.
Here's a look at the Magic's roster, schedule and some key storylines for when the season resumes in Orlando on July 30.
- DJ Augustin
- Markelle Fultz
- Melvin Frazier
- Michael Carter-Williams
- Evan Fournier
- Terrence Ross
- Aaron Gordon
- Jonathan Isaac
- Al-Farouq Aminu
- Gary Clark
- Wesley Iwundu
- James Ennis
- Vic Law (two-way player)
- B.J. Johnson (two-way player)
- Nikola Vucevic
- Mo Bamba
- Khem Birch
Players sitting out: Isaac (status up in the air)
All times Eastern
- July 31 vs. Brooklyn Nets, 1:30 p.m.
- Aug. 2 vs. Sacramento Kings, 5 p.m.
- Aug. 4 vs. Indiana Pacers, 5 p.m.
- Aug. 5 vs. Toronto Raptors, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 7 vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 5:30 p.m.
- Aug. 9 vs. Boston Celtics, 4 p.m.
- Aug. 11 vs. Brooklyn Nets, 12 p.m.
- Aug. 13 vs. New Orleans Pelicans, (TBA)
Chasing down that No. 7 seed: Leapfrogging the Brooklyn Nets for the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference should be the Magic's top priority heading into Orlando. They sit just a 1/2 game behind the Nets, and will have two opportunities against them to move up the standings. Getting out of that No. 8 spot is crucial for Orlando, as it would mean an incredibly lopsided first-round matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. Playing the Toronto Raptors is slightly more favorable for the Magic, only because they wouldn't have to figure out how to guard Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Raptors are no easy task, though, and a playoff matchup against them would set up a rematch from last year's playoffs between these two teams, which the Magic would surely like to forget.
Playoff redemption for Vucevic: Speaking of last season's playoffs, no one on the Magic stands to prove more in the postseason that Nikola Vucevic. After becoming an All-Star for the first time last season, Vucevic pulled a vanishing act in the playoffs against the Raptors. He averaged just 11.2 points in the first round, while shooting a lowly 23.1 percent from 3-point range. If Orlando wants to be more than just an easy first-round matchup, they'll need their 6-11 Swiss center to play at an All-Star level. Vucevic has proven he can be a 20-and-10 guy, but the Magic didn't sign him to a four-year, $100 million contract last summer to only perform in the regular season.
An opportunity for Fultz: Over the course of the regular season, Markelle Fultz proved that he wasn't a draft bust, and while his raw numbers weren't exactly jaw dropping -- especially his 25.4 percent shooting from 3-point range -- he showed glimpses of promise for the future. Remember, he's still just 22 years old, and the Magic already picked up his team option for next season before even seeing him play after trading for him last season. He's been given the reigns to be the team's starting point guard this year, and with each passing game he's shown significant improvement. This time in Orlando, especially in the playoffs, will allow Fultz to show the Magic that he's worth investing in long term. If he shows out, he could play himself into a sizable contract when he becomes a restricted free agent in 2021.