Publish date:

14 ORLANDO MAGIC

Author:

A MODEST PROPOSAL...

STOP ACQUIRING BIG MEN

Remember in 2016 when the Magic rather hilariously acquired Bismack Biyombo and Serge Ibaka in the span of a couple weeks, even though Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucević were already on the roster? Of course, that was the old regime, but the new one is running into a similar problem: A logjam in the frontcourt. The Magic entered camp with a whopping eight power forwards and centers.

The three young players on this roster who will determine the Magic's future—Gordon, Mo Bamba, Jonathan Isaac—should arguably all be playing the same position: center in a small, fast-paced lineup. That's a problem.

The point guards are retreads. There's not enough consistent shooting on the wing. And Vucević is still here. (And now Timofey Mozgov is too.)

Orlando, for the love of God, no more picking up players over 6'9". There's a reason why the rest of the NBA is enamored with three-and-D players. Even if Bamba and Isaac—the Magic's last two lottery picks—pan out, where does that leave Gordon, the team's highest-paid player?

For now, Steve Clifford should shelve Vucević and commit to playing only his young players in his power rotation. At least then the Magic can get some answers on who to keep moving forward.

STARTING 5

COACH STEVE CLIFFORD

2017--18 RECORD: 25--57

PREDICTION: Miss playoffs

PG D.J. AUGUSTIN

3.8

APG

SG EVAN FOURNIER

17.8

PPG

SF JONATHON SIMMONS

13.9

PPG

C NIKOLA VUCEVIĆ

9.2

RPG

33.6

3FG%

PF AARON GORDON

Gordon became a legit threat, improving his three-point shooting from 28.8% and doubling the number of threes per game he hit (2.0, up from 1.0).

BENCH

SG TERRENCE ROSS

PF JONATHAN ISAAC

C MOHAMED BAMBA [ROOKIE]

(R) ROOKIE

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP ORLANDO

FIRST OF all, JONATHAN ISAAC is going to have to give them 70, 75 games. It was kind of a lost year for him [with an ankle injury]. The hope is he and [No. 6 pick] MOHAMED BAMBA can show significant improvement.... They're going to be where they are until Isaac and Bamba become the players they can be. Watching them in pick-and-roll in Summer League, that combination could be incredible with their length and size. Both guys need to get a little meaner.... Bamba could be like Clint Capela with more offensive upside, rolling and making jump shots, using his [7'10"] wingspan and athleticism. He should bring the rim protection they've lacked through the years. Now it's about getting him reps.... If those two develop quickly, NIKOLA VUCEVIĆ and EVAN FOURNIER are young enough where they can keep them around and rebuild.... Vucević is a really good offensive player, but his limitations on defense hurt his total impact.... When stuff runs through Vucević and Fournier, that's the IQ element of their team. Fournier can put it on the floor and shoot it, has some toughness, defends and is only 25. He could fit on any team.... Maybe they find a point guard in the draft, because they need to fill that spot. D.J. AUGUSTIN and JERIAN GRANT are just placeholders.... AARON GORDON is a high-energy high flier, he guards multiple positions, he's improving as a shooter. He's found his niche using his athletic advantage at power forward—look at how Shawn Marion worked out for the Suns.