2018 Orlando Magic Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
Ever since Dwight Howard left town to embark on his quest to play for every team in the league, the Orlando Magic have been so forgettable they are essentially anonymous. They are the last team anyone thinks about - because they give us no reason to think about them. Their biggest claim to fame right now is that they are the team that gave up on Victor Oladipo far, far too soon. They could have had a budding superstar, but instead they have memories of the epic Serge Ibaka era. They believe that they are making progress, but can that possibly be true?
2018 Orlando Magic Betting Storylines
It's clear that the Magic brass know exactly what has been wrong over the course of these last several lousy years. It's obviously the coach's fault. Since the start of the 2014-15 season the bench has had a revolving door installed. Jacque Vaughn started that, his third season in charge of the team. But after 52 games he was fired, and James Borrego took over for the final 30 games of the season. His dismal 10 wins over that stretch obviously didn't earn him the job full time. Scott Skiles was hired as the savior. Spoiler alert: he wasn't. He quit after one year, claiming that he wasn't the right coach for the team - probably because there is no right coach. Frank Vogel took over, and in two years he proved himself a perfect Magic coach - he won very little. Now he's gone, and Steve Clifford is the next sucker hungry to torpedo is career. If you're idea of the perfect guy to coach your team is the guy who is no longer good enough to coach in Charlotte then you might not be a very good organization.
I'm being negative because that's fun, but there is a core to work with here. Aaron Gordon is entering year five, and despite missing time last year to injury he broke through and showed what he can be capable of. Jonathan Isaac lost much of his rookie year to ankle injuries, but in 27 games that he did play he showed flashes of a bright future. He's long and athletic, and there is skill to work with. And this year's top pick, big man Mo Bamba from Texas, is also a very talented guy with real upside. Those three together could have the makings of something interesting, But it is going to take some time - a few years, probably - which, in Orlando means three more head coaches. If the team is willing to be patient and allow these guys to develop together - and lose a lot of games along the way - we could be starting to see a corner turned in Disney's backyard. But if they try to rush, or they get frustrated by the pace of things and make a rash move to try to speed things up, then, well, they'll be what they have been for years now.
2018 Orlando Magic Additions and Departures
Gordon was a restricted free agent, and he was given an extension this year. That was obviously a no-brainer. The other in-house business they took off was saying goodbye to three veterans. Shelvin Mack was waived, Marreese Speights gave up on free agency and went to China to play, and Mario Hezonja left for the Knicks.
Bamba was the big prize of the draft, going sixth overall. He offered good value in that spot. The team also picked up two forwards in the second round - Melvin Frazier from Tulane, and Justin Jackson of Maryland.
The team made a few trades, but the one that is most significant saw Bismack Biyombo, the disastrous free agent signing two seasons ago, head to Charlotte. The bad news, though, is that they had to take back another regrettable center, Timofey Mozgov - though that's much less of a concern with Bamba around. They also received Jerian Grant in the deal. The guard made some strides last year in his third season and could yet prove valuable.
2018 Orlando Magic Futures Odds and Trends
Orlando Magic Futures Odds
NBA title odds ( from Bovada ) : +45000
Eastern Conference title odds : +10000
Mo Bamba ROY Odds: +2000
Season win total: 31.5
The team was 37-43-2 ATS last season, so there were small profits to be made betting against them - which is what you would have wanted to do if you ever watched them. They went "under" the total 50 times and "over" just 32, so the profits on betting the under were significant.
2018 Orlando Magic Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
The Magic won 25 games last year. They have shuffled a lot of pieces. If Bamba proves ready to be useful, Gordon continues to develop, and Isaac can stay healthy, then this team should be better than last year. But seven wins better? They still don't have a lot of depth, and they are going to be really young. But as much as I have kidded about him, Clifford is a decent fit for this team, and he could help them take a step forward. A small step. I'll take the over on the win total, but only because it's a rooting interest - not because it's a good investment.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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