The Orlando Magic have not made the playoffs since the 2010-11 season when they won 52 games. For the past two seasons they have won under 30 games. Frank Vogel was fired and they hired Steve Clifford who previously coached the Charlotte Hornets. The player to keep an eye on for them is Aaron Gordon. This will be Gordon’s 5th head coach since entering the league.in 2014. He’s only 22 years old and he just signed a 4-year / $80 million deal.
Last season was a career year for Gordon. The Magic started the season red hot from 3-point range but they slowly came back down to earth. They started the season 8-4 before losing nine straight games. Gordon averaged 17 ppg, grabbed 8 rpg and dished out 2 apg. He made 115 3-pointers on 33% shooting. He was limited to just 58 games but he scored more points than he did during the 2016-17 season in 80 games.
Gordon has the talent to make a leap. He should be able to get to 20 ppg and maybe increase his assists. Coach Clifford should make him look better on defense because he did a solid job making the Hornets decent on defense. This will be Gordon’s fifth coach in his fifth season so it is another new system to learn.
He has been working on his jumper but can he create for others? Their point situation might be the worse in the league so Gordon may have to initiate the offense more often. He may also play out of position for the majority of the season. Gordon is best playing at the 4 but the Magic have Jonathan Isaac and rookie Mo Bamba.
In order for Gordon to take the next step and actually compete to be an All-Star in the East he has to do a better job of getting to the line. He is very athletic but he was getting to the line less than four times per game. He has yet to attempt 300 free throws in a season. Steph Curry, a notable shooter attempted more free throws than Gordon last season in only 51 games.
I think Gordon will make the push to be an All-Star this season. His dunks will make the highlights but he will continue to improve the shooting off the dribble and his overall game. If the Magic get off to a really bad start expect Gordon’s name to come up in trade rumors. His contract is a tradable one and with the acquisition of Bamba and a healthy Isaac, Gordon could be the odd man out.