Last season: 22-60; 30th in offense, 17th in defenseKey additions: SF Bol BolKey subtractions: C Robin Lopez, PF Ignas BrazdeikisDraft picks: PF Paolo Banchero (first), SF Caleb Houstan (32nd)
April 13, 2019, wasn’t much of a high-water mark, but it will have to do for now. That was the day the Orlando Magic won Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the eventual champion Toronto Raptors. It was the crowning moment of a 42-40 regular season, a point in time that represents the only winning season and one of only two playoff wins in 10 post-“Dwightmare” seasons. In six of these 10 seasons, the Magic won between 20 and 25 games, including the last two.
Who’s ready to make it seven of 11? It’s been a rough go … and it’s fair to ask when the misery ends. Fortunately, some flickers of light emanate from a distant tunnel. The Magic’s intentional pivot away from quasi-respectable mediocrity in the 2020-21 season has already reaped the benefits of a lottery pick from Chicago that turned into Franz Wagner and a denuded roster bad enough to nab the top pick in the 2022 draft and land Banchero. .
Other pieces have joined the assemblage as well, and even as the Magic got their brains beat in last season, a couple of them made noticeable strides.