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Are the Orlando Magic for Real?

The Orlando Magic have gotten off to a great start this season. They are 11-5 after their big win over Boston Celtics, 113-96. Boston currently has the best record in the eastern conference. Are the Magic a real contender or a nice story in November of a long NBA season?

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This is not a new situation where a team who was not expected to be a top team started the season on a high note. Speaking of taking notes last season the Utah Jazz started with a record of 11-6 through their first 17 games. The great play did not last for Utah as they finished the season 37-45. What is different about this Magic squad?

A Star Duo

The best teams in the NBA usually have at least two “star” players. The Magic have two great young players who are carrying the load offensively. Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner are the leading scorers for the Magic. Banchero is averaging 19.4 points per game, shooting 47% from the floor and 45% from three. Wagner is averaging 19 points per game and shooting 43% from the floor. In clutch situations the Magic have two players who can score from anywhere on the floor.

Defense Wins Championships

The Orlando Magic are currently fifth in the league in defense, allowing 107.5 points per game. Only two of the top ten defensive teams are under .500, the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers. This is a great sign for the Orlando Magic as the cliche, “Defense wins championships”, is true. The two teams who made it to the finals last season, the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat were both top ten in points allowed per game.

Good Role Players

Teams need more than just their star players to be a good team. The Magic are a well balance team outside of Banchero and Wagner. There are four other players who average double figures in scoring, Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Moritz Wagner, and Markelle Fultz. Suggs is also tied for fourth in steals per game in the league. Another big role player for the Magic is Goga Bitadze. Bitadze averages 1.6 blocks per game which is 13th best in the NBA.

The Concern

The Magic are only averaging 111.5 points per game, which is 22nd in the NBA. Do they score enough to win on a consistent basis? The results, say yes, as they are currently on a six game win streak but is this sustainable? Yes, as long as they continue to score like they have over the few games. Orlando has scored 128, 126,124, and 113 respectively over the last four games. The offense is showing a trend of improvement while the defense is still top notch.

The Orlando Magic look to be for real. The question is how real are they? Are they a solid playoff team? Are they a title contender? These questions are still being answered but the fact these questions are being asked is a huge step in the right direction for Orlando.



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