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I am tired

I am tired.

We are eight games into the regular season and I am already exhausted.

Let’s go back to the beginning of the season. The Orlando Magic had the best start (4-0) in their 31-season history and spirits were high. Markelle Fultz was putting up nearly 20 points a night. Terrence Ross came out with a mid-range jumper package we had never seen before instead of just chucking threes until one went in. Nikola Vucevic continued his offensive dominance. Chuma Okeke, Orlando’s draft pick from last year that had yet to see the floor due to injury, had potential written all over him. Cole Anthony, too. Sure, Jonathan Isaac was out for the season with an ACL injury, but the only troublesome thoughts for the team at this point was whether former 6th overall pick Mo Bamba would ever find his rhythm in an NBA rotation.

Then, reality set in. The Magic dropped two straight – one to the East’s best 76er’s, and the other to the Thunder – and looked like a Magic team we have seen in the past. Poor shooting paired with nonexistent effort/sloppy play by certain players outshined any sort of positive aspect of those two games. Questions like “is Aaron Gordon really just an average player?” or “can anyone on the bench score besides T-Ross?” started circulating. And rightfully so; Magic fans have seen this story over and over again. It’s like going to a movie multiple times and expecting the ending (that you did not care for) to be different than the last time. If the front office does nothing to change the core, how can we as fans expect different results?

Monday rolled around and we recorded a win against a very average Cleveland Cavaliers team. Orlando won by 20, but it still seemed like a run-of-the-mill victory, with the lone highlight of the night being Gordon shooting six of nine from behind the arc. The second game of the back-to-back came on Wednesday night, where the future of the season changed completely in the first quarter.

You saw the ESPN alert. Or maybe you were actually watching the game unlike me (thanks, YouTubeTV). Or you follow me on Twitter and saw my tweet. Regardless of where you saw it, it happened. Markelle Fultz tore his ACL on a drive to the basket and his season ended.

The two players Orlando just signed extensions to are both sidelined with knee injuries. If that isn’t the luck of the Magic I don’t know what is. On top of that, Evan Fournier is still dealing with back spasms, Okeke, Michael Carter-Williams, and Al-Farouq Aminu are all sidelined as well. I mentioned on my latest episode of Manze’s Magic that the Magic were plagued by the injury bug last season. It looks that the bug is back and he brought friends.

So, what now? Well, just like every other season since the Dwightmare almost ten years ago, we have to find some sort of positive. Vucevic is playing at an elite level again. Ross is the league’s leader in scoring off the bench. Cole Anthony has some big shoes to fill and could (should) be a candidate for Rookie of the Year. Fans via Twitter have called for the team to sign Isaiah Thomas or JJ Barea to fill the point guard vacancy. The Magic could certainly still push for the playoffs and I hope they do. But what about the other side? In the back of my mind there is always the thought of throwing the season away and tanking. Is it worth it? Can I deal with another team I care about wasting a year’s worth of talent of other players on the roster? Will the front office actually make some notable changes to help?

This. This is the reason that I am tired.


Keith Manze hosts the Manze's Magic podcast and has experienced all the highs and lows of a Magic fan. Follow him on Twitter at @KeithManze

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