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The Magic’s season is now 44 games old and and while some characteristics of this team are starting to take focus, others are still a bit hazier. The Magic are somehow simultaneously exactly what we thought they’d be and not really anything like we thought they’d be. Results are inconclusive.
Instead of looking at expectations for this season and grading the Magic accordingly, this is an exercise in bringing everyone up to speed on who exactly the Magic are, what exactly they’re made up of, and how they arrived at a 14-30 record.
You’re only as good as your record
A 14-30 record is bad, but evaluating the Magic at this point is not as simple as citing wins and losses. Looking at a team’s record is what you do when you have a fully stocked and competitive roster that is competing for home-court advantage in the playoffs, and has even an outside chance of winning a championship. Orlando is not in that position. So we should really throw their record out the window.
After all, more than a handful of the Magic’s losses this year have been in close games and against good teams. The problem is that the Magic still lack a serious scorer and in no way have proven that they can close a game out. Competitiveness can only get you so far in a game. At some point, you need someone to take over (preferably multiple options on that front).
You honestly could make an argument that this team could be gunning for a playoff spot if they only had a closer. Think back to a couple weeks ago when the Magic played neck-and-neck with the Knicks for three and a half quarters, only to be bested by Carmelo Anthony down the stretch. The only thing that can really combat that is a Carmelo of your own or something similar.
The point is that we know Orlando is a bad team, but that does not mean that all is bad. Throwing wins and losses around doesn’t really capture what is really going on this season. There is plenty of good, in fact, within this organization at the moment. So if you want to talk about records, consider the fact that Orlando isn’t too far off from being a playoff team when taking into account all the close losses they’ve had.