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Orlando Magic Betting Outlook
Eastern Conference Odds: +4000
Preseason NBA Championship Odds: +10000
The Magic are looking for a third straight playoff appearance in 2020-21, with few personnel changes made during the offseason. The team is hoping its young players will continue to grow into a team that can advance in the playoffs under coach Steve Clifford. The team chose Cole Anthony in the 2020 NBA Draft with the hope that the former North Carolina point guard can become a leader.
Players like Aaron Gordon, Markelle Fultz, Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross have been with the team and make up the young core of the squad. Defense is always a key to the Magic under Clifford, and this year’s team will go as far as that defense can take it.
Magic 2021 Predictions
Regular-Season Record: 24-48
Conference Standing: 11th
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Orlando Magic Team Leaders
Nikola Vucevic is the veteran of the Orlando Magic, entering his 10th year in the NBA. The 6-11 center was the team leader in both scoring (19.6 points per game) and rebounding (10.9 per game) in 2019-20, and he’ll be the main focus of the team’s offense this season as well. Vucevic is also a team player, averaging 3.6 assists per game a season ago to keep his teammates involved as well.
Though he came off the bench in every game last year, Terrence Ross is still an important piece to the Magic puzzle. The 6-6 guard can heat up as hot as any scorer in the league, but he has accepted his reserve role and plays it well, averaging 14.7 points per game a season ago. Like Vucevic, Ross is one of the older players on the team, leading by his example of not worrying about starting and just doing his job.
Orlando Magic Injuries
Orlando Magic Team History
The Orlando Magic joined the NBA as an expansion franchise for the 1989-90 season, suffering through a difficult first three seasons of finishing at least 20 games under .500. The Magic’s fortunes turned around in 1992, though, when the team won the NBA Draft Lottery and was able to pick center Shaquille O’Neal out of LSU with the No. 1 overall pick.
O’Neal immediately made the Magic a playoff contender, as Orlando finished 41-41 in his first season, with O’Neal winning the league’s Rookie of the Year Award. That offseason, the Magic won the draft lottery again, getting the No. 1 pick and taking Michigan forward Chris Webber. But, within minutes of making the pick, Orlando traded Webber’s rights to the Golden State Warriors for the rights to No. 3 pick Anfernee Hardaway from Memphis State.
The inside-outside duo of O’Neal and Hardaway was an immediate hit, as the Magic made the playoffs for the first time in Hardaway’s first season. The team had Nick Anderson and Dennis Scott in the lineup at that point, which was also its first year with Brian Hill as head coach. After adding power forward Horace Grant in free agency, the Magic set a franchise record with 57 wins in 1994-95, advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time.
Unfortunately, the team was overwhelmed by the defending champion Houston Rockets, getting swept in the Finals. The next season saw the Magic advance to the Eastern Conference finals, where they lost to the Chicago Bulls.
O’Neal left as a free agent to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1996 offseason, dealing a big blow to the Magic. In the team’s first season without O’Neal, the Magic started 24-25, leading to the dismissal of Hill, who was replaced by Richie Adubato for the rest of the campaign, which ended with a first-round loss in the playoffs.
Chuck Daly took over as head coach the next season, but the two-time NBA champion coach could only get one first-round playoff loss out of his two years with the team. The 1999 offseason was one of change for the team, with Hardaway being dealt to the Phoenix Suns and Daly being replaced by rookie head coach Doc Rivers.
With a team led by Darrell Armstrong, Bo Outlaw and Ben Wallace, Rivers led the Magic to a .500 record, just missing out on the postseason but earning Rivers the NBA’s Coach of the Year award. General manager John Gabriel had lots of cap money and was able to lure Tracy McGrady from Toronto and Grant Hill from Detroit as free agents prior to the 2000-01 campaign.
Unfortunately, Hill played only four games in 2000-01 because of an ankle injury that ended up limiting him to 47 games in his first four years with the team. McGrady, on the other hand, flourished, leading the team to the playoffs in his first three seasons with the club.
McGrady’s fourth season, though, was a disaster, with Rivers being let go after a 1-10 start and the team finishing 21-61. Orlando went into rebuilding mode again, trading away McGrady in a deal with Houston. The Magic earned the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft and selected high school big man Dwight Howard.
It took a little time, but the team developed into a title contender around Howard, with players like JJ Redick, Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu, and coach Stan Van Gundy. The Magic advanced to the NBA Finals in 2009 but fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games.
The next season saw the team reach the Eastern Conference Finals but fall to the Boston Celtics. The team continued to make the postseason but never got that far again under Van Gundy, who was having some internal troubles with Howard. Following a second straight first-round exit in the 2012 playoffs, Van Gundy was let go.
The Magic were getting trade demands from Howard for much of the 2011-12 season, and in the 2012 offseason, they relented, dealing Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team trade. Howard departed as the team’s all-time leading scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker.
Orlando struggled after dealing away Howard, missing the playoffs for six straight years before finally advancing to the postseason again in 2019 in coach Steve Clifford’s first season with the club. The Magic lost in the first round but had won their sixth division title in team history.
Five players who have worn the Orlando Magic uniform are in the Basketball Hall of Fame, including O’Neal, McGrady and Hill. Daly is the only former Magic head coach who is in the Hall.
Following their first playoff season in seven years, the Magic were hopeful of building on that in 2019-20. Things didn’t start well, though, as Orlando had a 3-7 mark after 10 games. A four-game winning streak at the beginning of December got the Magic to .500 at 11-11, but they wouldn’t reach that mark again. Orlando was sitting at 30-35 and on a three-game winning streak when the NBA season was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Magic were invited to participate in the Orlando bubble restart of the season, and, despite a 3-5 record, made the Eastern Conference playoffs as the eighth seed. Orlando drew a series with the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and shocked them with a Game 1 victory. Unfortunately, that was the last game the Magic would win, falling to the Bucks in five games.
Clifford has been in coaching for as long as many of his current players have been alive and is heading into his third season as the head coach of the Magic. Clifford has led the Magic to the playoffs in both of his seasons as the head coach, his second head coaching job in the NBA. Clifford started as a high school coach in the early 1980s before moving on to college basketball, then made the move to the NBA for the 2000-01 season as an advance scout for the Knicks under Jeff Van Gundy.
Clifford was promoted to an assistant coach role with the Knicks, then joined Van Gundy in Houston as an assistant as well. Clifford came to the Magic in 2007-08 as an assistant to Stan Van Gundy, spending five seasons with the club before moving on to an assistant coach job with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012-13. Prior to the 2012-13 season, Clifford was named the head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats, leading the team to the postseason in two of his five seasons in the position.
Clifford was fired after the 2017-18 season when the team finished outside the playoffs for the second straight year, but he was quickly hired by the Magic for their head coaching role. In seven seasons as an NBA head coach, Clifford has put together a 271-294 regular-season record, making the playoffs four times and compiling a 5-16 postseason mark.
Dwayne Bacon, forward, Charlotte Hornets
D.J. Augustin, guard, Milwaukee Bucks
Cole Anthony, guard, North Carolina
Karim Mane, guard, Senegal
What is the only jersey number the Orlando Magic have retired?
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Stan Van Gundy