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?4thewin

Official preseason thread

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JJZFL    114
1 hour ago, ?4thewin said:

We were 17 and 40 with him in the lineup and 8 and 17 with him out. 

I'm not sure that's a dramatic difference considering if we lost that game we were trying to tank against Dallas we would have a better record with vucevic in the lineup than out. 

I hate watching Vuc and he is  the reason we lose a game as often as he's the reason we win them. I just think at this point in time we're a team reliant on his offense based on roster construction. 

The time to get rid of him was June or July. 

Maybe Bamba or Isaac steps up offensively and we can move vucevic without worry. 

There were 14 games from around mid-January to mid-February when Birch started to get consistent minutes. During that month long stretch we went 6-8, and several of the losses were very close.  It was the most competitive we were in all of 2018.  Then Vuch came back, Birch went back to the end of the bench, we lost 5 in a row, won 2, and lost another 5 in a row.  The contrast in team performance over those two time periods was striking.  

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This playoff push is attainable if a few things go the Magic’s way. For starters, staying healthy is huge. Without good health for starters and second unit players, the season will once again be a wash. If guys like Isaac, Gordon, Bamba and Fournier can play a full season without being impeded by the injury bug, they will win games.

Secondly, a true breakout of Gordon and Isaac is going to be necessary for added wins. All signs, from NBA Summer League performances to offseason Instagram workouts, point to these two taking the next step in their respective games.

Gordon is now the No. 1 guy in Orlando and is getting paid as so. If he can take his game to another (maybe All-Star?) level, not only will that help the Magic win more games, but it will also attract other talent to the Sunshine State. If his jump shot and handle show added improvement and he maintains his solid defense, Gordon can fill the breakout Oladipo role and become the first All-Star the Magic have had since 2012.

Isaac showed tremendous two-way potential in the Summer League and could be an absolute beast this season. After a rookie season marred by lower body injuries, Isaac bulked up this summer, gained at least an inch in height and looks to have renewed focus. The media certainly thinks the he can become a focal point on this team moving forward and him having a breakout sophomore season will be imperative for his development. If he can develop a consistent jump shot as well as refine his interior scoring, the sky is the limit for the second-year player out of Florida State.

Another aspect of what could make this team successful is implementing rookie Mohamed Bamba into the lineup early and making sure his development isn’t stunted behind Vucevic or Khem Birch. The Magic are very high on Bamba, as they should be. If he can flash some of the inside-out offense he’s been working on all summer and continue his strong defense, he gives Orlando incredible versatility and a scary front line. His improvement throughout the year could win them games later in the season.

Lastly, this team needs to decide early on what its identity is. The Magic are obviously all in on the defensive side of the ball, but are they going to make the early season push for the playoffs or chill and wait another year? This needs to be situated early, and while the offseason moves they made seem to reside with the future, this team has the talent and coaching to win now. It’s obviously up to them to decide. Is this team going to resign early to get a good draft pick, or will it compete?

As mentioned before, belief in the Orlando Magic organization might be a fool’s errand. The 2010s have been a wash, as they have won zero playoff series all decade. However, this team as currently constructed looks to be the best chance the Magic have have at being successful in a long time.

https://hoopshabit.com/2018/09/25/orlando-magic-could-they-be-this-years-2017-18-indiana-pacers/

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?4thewin    1,787
8 hours ago, JJZFL said:

There were 14 games from around mid-January to mid-February when Birch started to get consistent minutes. During that month long stretch we went 6-8, and several of the losses were very close.  It was the most competitive we were in all of 2018.  Then Vuch came back, Birch went back to the end of the bench, we lost 5 in a row, won 2, and lost another 5 in a row.  The contrast in team performance over those two time periods was striking.  

Right. But that also coincided with really good Payton and hezonja runs so you maintained 5 double digits scorers plus Speights off the bench with 9. 

In a world where you're playing Payton-Simmons-Fournier-hezonja-Biyombo Augustin-Mack-iwundu-Speights- Birch vucevic doesn't really help you that much because you're getting that offense from other places. 

My worry is if we're going in to this season with Augustin-Fournier-Isaac-Gordon-Birch Grant-Simmons-Ross-Martin-Bamba you're entering the season with only 5 guys who can create offense. If one of the wings gets hurt we're stuck with an unviable offense. 

Vuc means more to this team than last the way I see it now. Though I might be underselling Isaac, Grant, or Bamba's offense which would make vucevic expendable. If Isaac is more Wilson Chandler than Mo Harkless on Monday then you can completely ignore my point. 

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?4thewin    1,787
12 minutes ago, The Neighborhood Bully said:

Yeah I can't help but think the experts are overlooking us due to our weird injury situation that saw iwundu, Artis, and Afflalo play probably double the minutes we anticipated. 

Matt Moore said he expected our over/under at 26.5 which is absurdly low. 

Even if you ignore the absurdly low healthy game numbers for projections (only 7 healthy games where we went 7-0) you can look at games where both Fournier and Gordon played where we were on 29 win pace. Take that plus healthy Ross and Isaac and a player in Bamba that should provide something better than Biyombo and that should be a mid 30 win team. 

Don't know if we should be talking playoffs. That's a discussion for January. 

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JJZFL    114
17 minutes ago, ?4thewin said:

Right. But that also coincided with really good Payton and hezonja runs so you maintained 5 double digits scorers plus Speights off the bench with 9. 

In a world where you're playing Payton-Simmons-Fournier-hezonja-Biyombo Augustin-Mack-iwundu-Speights- Birch vucevic doesn't really help you that much because you're getting that offense from other places. 

My worry is if we're going in to this season with Augustin-Fournier-Isaac-Gordon-Birch Grant-Simmons-Ross-Martin-Bamba you're entering the season with only 5 guys who can create offense. If one of the wings gets hurt we're stuck with an unviable offense. 

Vuc means more to this team than last the way I see it now. Though I might be underselling Isaac, Grant, or Bamba's offense which would make vucevic expendable. If Isaac is more Wilson Chandler than Mo Harkless on Monday then you can completely ignore my point. 

Ok.  Fair points.  I weight some of Vuchs intangibles as more negative than you do, because I see his lack of effort on defense demoralizing everyone else.  The intensity level of the team dropped dramatically when he returned last February. But we’ve probably gone about as far as we can with this discussion.  

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JJZFL    114
8 minutes ago, ?4thewin said:

Yeah I can't help but think the experts are overlooking us due to our weird injury situation that saw iwundu, Artis, and Afflalo play probably double the minutes we anticipated. 

Matt Moore said he expected our over/under at 26.5 which is absurdly low. 

Even if you ignore the absurdly low healthy game numbers for projections (only 7 healthy games where we went 7-0) you can look at games where both Fournier and Gordon played where we were on 29 win pace. Take that plus healthy Ross and Isaac and a player in Bamba that should provide something better than Biyombo and that should be a mid 30 win team. 

Don't know if we should be talking playoffs. That's a discussion for January. 

I think an unanswered question is what happens when the Magic hit a rough stretch and lose a few games in a row.  All the losing from the past few years has mentally conditioned them to wilt under those circumstances, which is exactly what’s happened the past few years. The success (or lack thereof) of this season could partly depend on how they handle periods of adversity. 

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?4thewin    1,787
5 minutes ago, JJZFL said:

I think an unanswered question is what happens when the Magic hit a rough stretch and lose a few games in a row.  All the losing from the past few years has mentally conditioned them to wilt under those circumstances, which is exactly what’s happened the past few years. The success (or lack thereof) of this season could partly depend on how they handle periods of adversity. 

I dunno. We were a mash unit in December and January. Maybe we do better than 3 wins in December if Gordon, Fournier, Ross, and Isaac weren't missing time simultaneously. Maybe 2-3 more wins gives us more to play for late in the season. 

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magicdoc1    176
13 hours ago, J-Mac said:

Since it's Vuch's contract yr he's gonna average 20+

I truly hope so. That will make his trade value higher during the trade deadline. 

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J-Mac    13
24 minutes ago, magicdoc1 said:

I truly hope so. That will make his trade value higher during the trade deadline. 

Hopefully Lowry is still available

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