Orlando Magic

How The Orlando Magic Are Pleasantly Surprising the NBA

The Orlando Magic have emerged as an unexpected challenger in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Their sudden emergence has surprised fans and experts alike, far exceeded expectations during the early part of this NBA season.

The journey began in 2021 when Jamahl Mosley, a first-time NBA coach, took over the reins. Credit to the Orlando Magic, they have been patient since his arrival.

He was tasked with rebuilding a team that had lost its three best players – Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier. This left the Magic with a dismal record and a four-season-long absence from the postseason.

A glimmer of hope was ignited with the addition of Paolo Banchero, the number one overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft. Since then, the Magic have come onto the scene quicker than anyone has anticipated. 

The team now boasts a young, talented core to supplement Banchero, the Wagner brothers – Franz and Moritz, guards Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony, center Wendell Carter Jr., and rookie guard Anthony Black. Mosley quickly recognized the potential in this group, their chemistry, and has been a key element in the teams overall spirit and development.

This unselfish attitude has fostered a strong sense of unity and togetherness, which has played a significant role in the team’s successful start. They are currently riding a seven game winning streak and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.

The Banchero Effect

The kid is just a straight up baller. His offensive game was impressive in his one year at Duke, and he has been polishing it ever since.

Banchero, the unanimous 2023 NBA Rookie of the Year, has been the ultimate driving force in the team’s turnaround. With an average of 20 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists last season, he helped the Magic improve their record significantly and showed he is ready to take the reigns and lead a team at such a young age. 

The former Duke star expressed his desire last season to make the playoffs; and part of his preparation was playing for USA Basketball in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

A significant factor behind Orlando’s impressive run is their defensive strategy. The Magic ranks first in turnovers forced per game and fourth in defensive-rebounding percentage, even in the absence of their starting center Wendell Carter Jr.  Their young, enthusiastic energy, paired with the team’s relentless effort, has made them very exciting to watch.

Mosley is setting a culture and a standard where they protect the rim first, and they are flying around and making sure that every shot is contested.

The Unexpected Winning Streak

With a 12-5 overall record and victories over reigning NBA champion Denver Nuggets, the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and LA Lakers, Orlando is not just beating up on bad opponents.

This is their best result since the 11-5 start during the 2011-12 season. What’s more, they achieved this with players averaging just 24.79 years of age and 11 players with three years or less of NBA experience.

Their success is not attributed to any one player. Six players are averaging 11 or more points per game, indicating a balanced contribution.

Bright Future

The start of the season has been promising for the Magic. The team’s youth, energy, and camaraderie, coupled with Mosley’s leadership, have set them on a path towards a potentially franchise-altering season.

The Magic have shown that they are a force to be reckoned with in the NBA and should not be taken lightly due to their age. As the season progresses, fans and rivals will be watching closely to see if this young and dynamic team can carry this momentum throughout the season and clinch their first playoff birth since 2020. 


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