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Magic in May

By Keith Manze


This article is weird to write. If you told me at the beginning of the 2023-24 NBA season that I would be writing about the Orlando Magic coming within 12 points of the second round of the Playoffs I would have scoffed. My preseason aspirations were to make the playoffs. Paolo Banchero was Rookie of the Year, Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs had taken steps forward, and our roster seemed to be coming together. Fast forward to today – Paolo has set/broken so many Magic and age-related records, Franz and Suggs had roller coaster seasons that weren’t bad but weren’t great, and the roster has one glaring hole: shooting.

I am talking about Magic basketball in May! This season had many moments/accomplishments that make the future so exciting. 2011 was the last time the Magic won at least 47 games. This year’s win total, which was 13 wins better than last year, was led by Coach of the Year runner-up Jamal Mosely. That 47-35 record was good enough to win the Southeast Division and secure the 5th seed in the playoffs. In the series against the Cavs, Orlando won three games. That is the same number of playoff game wins Orlando had won since the 2011-12 season. I could go on and on about what this team did this year. Exceeded expectations seems to sum it up perfectly.

With that being said, Magic fans need to take a breather. The amount of hate I was seeing on social media regarding Franz and Jalen’s bad game was disgusting. The pair of 22-year-olds finished game 7 with a combined 3 for 28 shooting. That’s not good! I understand that! But to put the blame solely on them is not fair. On the flip side, it’s equally not fair to say Paolo was the lone bright spot.

I’ll say it again. Breathe, Magic fans. It has been a long time since we have had this feeling. If you’ve been around for a while, you remember the names that have come and gone; Devyn Marble, James Ennis, Dwayne Bacon, Channing Frye, Wes Iwundu (I could go on for days). We have a core. A core that was drafted, by the way. I think there is a team out in the Bay area that built a dynasty with some important draft picks and key free agent acquisitions. Who says we can’t do the same?

Gary Clark
Remember this bum?

Free agent acquisitions will be the main focus this offseason. With a draft class that seems less than stellar, the Magic need to go out and get two players: a shooter and a point guard (that can also shoot). Orlando shot 35.2% from 3, which was 24th in the league. Joe Ingles was the only Magic player to shoot over 40% from three (43.5%). Joe Ingles is also 36, the oldest player on the team by far and probably doesn’t have much gas left in the tank. Jett Howard seems to be the answer for the future. We fans must wait and see how his defense progresses to see if he can crack the rotation. I say go out, find a vet that can shoot , and sign him.

The future is bright. Gone are the days of full rebuilds. It’s time to make a few tweaks and trust in the young core we have. This season exceeded everyone’s expectations. It’s nice to feel pride in being a Magic fan. I got to talk Magic basketball in May. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to stretch it to June next year.


“I know we’ll be back.” – Paolo Banchero

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