The simmering season-long torment of the downtrodden Magic Fan comes to an end as the undermanned Magic, who surprisingly grabbed game 1 of this series away from the Bucks, sputter to an uninspiring 1-4 finish to complement their uninspiring 33-40 regular season record. Don’t worry, fans of the rudderless Orlando franchise! The mental anguish that is synonymous with Magic fandom will be relieved for approximately four months, or however long it takes the NBA to get back up and running for the 2020-21 season.
Where did it all go wrong? As always, DownToBuck has all the answers, and he is going to share them with you know.
Reason it all went wrong #1: Organizational lack of direction. No team should aspire to be a low playoff seed with a winning percentage below .500 who gets butt-dominated in the first round, but that’s exactly what the Magic seemed to be aspiring towards. Did they go into this season thinking this roster was going to make noise? Did they actually think that?
Reason it all went wrong #2: Aaron Gordon. He’s supposed to be an All-Star by now or at least be on an observable trajectory towards being an All-Star. Instead, he regressed, posting his worst eFG% since his rookie season (where he barely appeared in half the team’s games). His jumper is poo and that poo jumper is getting paid a lot of money. The twenty million dollars that were given to his poo jumper could have gone to anything else. You could buy every player a solid-gold Gatorade cooler for their locker with their name encrusted on it in precious gemstones and still have a sizable chunk left over to go out and sign somebody good.
Reason it all went wrong #3: GM John Hammond. Remember, this is the guy who, while GMing for the Bucks, traded known studbeast Tobias Harris for known rental J.J. Redick so that the Bucks could make a “playoff push”. Then they got dominated in the first round as an eighth seed that won thirty-something games. Sound familiar? Hamboner should not be allowed next to any phone that can be used to contact other GM’s. He should not even be allowed in Magic HQ, period.
Reason it all went wrong #4: There’s a pizza chain in Orlando called Flipper’s, and their breadsticks are the best. I want those breadsticks again but they don’t deliver to Wisconsin. As far as I can tell, Flipper’s breadsticks don’t have any effect one way or the other on the fortunes of the Magic, but it still pisses me off.
Reason it all went wrong #5: D.J. Augustin stealing minutes from Markelle Fultz. Sure, Augustin is the “solid vet” who is a “steadying presence” on the court, but he has no more upside left in his body. Fultz is a being made entirely out of upside. Upside and broken shooting mechanics. If you did an autopsy on him, the second you sliced his skin open, a violent gush of pure upside would splash you in the face and soak you right through your surgical gown (upside has a pinkish-orange tint to it, in case you need help visualizing this).
Reason it all went wrong #6: I’m burying this way down here so people don’t get mad, but Mo Bamba was supposed to more of a contributor at this point, right?
Reason it all went wrong #7: Fragility of Jonathan Isaac. Versatile defender, improving scorer, inspiring spiritual leader (as long as his teammates bother to show up to his sermons), what more could you want? Oh yeah, that’s right, what you want is more than thirty games out of this guy.
Reason it all went wrong #8: Magic fans themselves. If you bought more merchandise and went to more games, the team would have more money to go into the luxury tax to sign a fifteen-man roster comprised entirely of All-stars. Since COVID-19 prevented you from actually going to games, your merchandise purchases should have increased tenfold. If your residence contains any clothing that does not have a Magic logo on it, you failed in your duty as a fan.
Reason it all went wrong #9: Crappy Eastern Conference. If the Magic played in the West, they would have tanked like they should have all along, but playing in the East gave them a false sense of hope. I will give them credit, though. Out of all the horrible franchises in the East playoffs, the Magic had the most on-court success. The trophy is in the mail.
So there you have it. A detailed analysis of why the Magic disappointed this season and why they will probably continued to disappoint for years to come. Magic fans, did you know there’s another NBA team in your state that you can support?