Orlando Magic NBA Roster Projections
Sure, the Magic didn’t make any flashy moves, but that doesn’t mean that free agency has been a loss. All-Star center Nikola Vucevic and sharp-shooting guard Terrance Ross both re-signed with the team to multi-year contracts. Newcomer Al-Farouq Aminu signed a 3-year, $29 million-dollar deal to join the squad from Portland. With Summer League over for Orlando, how does the roster look, and how may it change?
D. J. Augustin, Michael Carter-Williams, Markelle Fultz
The point guard position has been the biggest question mark for Orlando the past few seasons. D. J. Augustin stepped up last year, but does he still have anything left in the tank? Michael Carter-Williams proved to be a key cog for Orlando’s playoff push, but without the ability to shoot he does not stand much of a chance to see the starting spot.
The biggest question mark of the three is, expectedly, Markelle Fultz. Retired NBA player Caron Butler said that the starting point guard position is Fultz’s to lose. Will Markelle find his game? Can D. J. keep the “magic” that he had last year? Will Orlando make a move to sign another point guard? Yes, no, and yes.
Fultz may not play like the number 1 overall pick he was, but he will get his feet wet this season. D. J. will not be able to recreate what he did last season but will still be a serviceable starter. Lastly, I predict the Magic will re-sign Isaiah Briscoe. A solid season by the undrafted guard from Kentucky was cut short after a torn meniscus. He was then cut to make room for Carter-Williams. Still without a suitor, Orlando makes the most sense for him and his playing style. Defense came first with him, a staple of Head Coach Steve Clifford’s offense. Expect to see him don the pinstripes again this season.
Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross
Evan Fournier has become the easiest scapegoat for the Magic not winning more. Coming off his worst season as a member of the Magic, Fournier needs to regain his place in the hearts of Magic fans. It might be too late…
The opposite is said for Terrence Ross, who has completely won over the fanbase. The hottest 3-point shooter on the roster (and arguably the league), Ross earned the nickname ‘Human Torch’. Rightfully so, as the team’s 6th man shot 38% on 7 attempts a game. Expect Ross to come off the bench as he did last year, leading the second unit.
Al-Farouq Aminu, Melvin Frazier Jr., Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, Wes Iwundu, Chuma Okeke
Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon will be your starters at the small and power forward positions, respectively. With another year under the belt for those two we should expect to see further improvement, especially offensively. Wes Iwundu’s team option was exercised in June, bringing him back for the 2019-20 season. Melvin Frazier Jr., who appeared in just ten games last season, just underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right tibia. His timetable to return will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation.
The two newcomers of the bunch are Al-Farouq Aminu and Chuma Okeke. Aminu, now on his fifth team since joining the league in 2010, is yet another talented defender that will fit right in with the system. What he lacks offensively he certainly makes up on the defensive end. Okeke was Orlando’s first round draft pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The sixteenth overall pick out of Auburn will be sidelined with a torn ACL for a good bit. Before getting injured, Okeke was a key component in Auburn’s run to their first-ever Final Four last March. Expect an energy-filled reserve to emerge as he recovers from the injury.
Mohamed Bamba, Khem Birch, Nikola Vucevic
Four years, $100 million dollars. First time All-Star Nikola Vucevic returns to Orlando coming off his best season yet. Mohamed Bamba, coming off a shaky rookie season, looks to grow in year two, after some promising Summer League minutes. Adding twenty pounds of muscle and displaying flashes of offensive finesse in his one-game Summer League has fans on the edge of their seat for the 21-year-old’s sophomore season. Khem Birch is the second center to ink a new deal this offseason, locking in with a two-year, $6 million-dollar deal. Birch stepped up when his number was called while Bamba was sidelined due to injury. A fan favorite, Birch will continue to bring hustle and heart to a bench that desperately needs a spark.
No, there wasn’t a Russell Westbrook signing. Monte Ellis or Amar’e Stoudemire, either. Many Magic enthusiasts expected a two-way contract to be signed, with the top candidate for that being DaQuan Jeffries. With a wingspan stretching 6’11 ¼” standing at just 6’ 5”, Jeffries has shown flashes of excellence during Summer League. His athleticism should entice the front office, but whether or not they believe there is opportunity for his skill set to develop will determine if he earns a roster spot or not.
Expect to see a lot of what we saw last year as the 2019-2020 season draws near. Continuous improvement from the young stars will be crucial for improvement over last season. The biggest visual change? Terrence Ross will suit up wearing the number 8 this season in tribute to his son’s favorite number. There is still plenty of time to see changes to the roster but don’t hold your breath for a big splash, Magic fans.
Keith Manze is a contributor to Feud Sports.
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