The Orlando Magic have one of the longer postseason droughts in the NBA, they haven’t made the playoffs since trading Dwight Howard in 2012 and starting their rebuild.
After making the (bizarre) decision to completely blow up their young core that had been progressing together by trading Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo, the one young player that they have to truly build around (I don’t count Evan Fournier) is freak athlete and dunk champion Aaron Gordon.
Gordon is continuing to mold himself into some mix of this generation’s Shawn Marion and Blake Griffin and is the one real beacon of hope for a Magic team that seems to be stuck in neutral after some questionable personnel moves and a failed experiment with Serge Ibaka.
Despite all of this and the Magic finishing at 29-53 and 13th in the eastern conference last season, Gordon is convinced the Magic are headed back to the postseason in 2018.
Here is what Gordon told Sports Techie:
“I’m looking to lead and be led to the playoffs with my team,” he said in an interview with SportTechie. “It’s going to take a collective team effort but yeah — we’ll be in the playoffs this year.”
Gordon is entering the final year of his rookie contract and feels primed to have his breakout season to establish himself as a young star and the leader of this franchise, but I don’t think adding a raw player like Johnathan Isaac in the draft and signing players like Johnathan Simmons, Mareese Speights and Arron Afflalo are going to push them over the edge into being a playoff team.
Gordon’s confidence is encouraging, and the east should be more wide open this season with Indiana, Atlanta and Chicago getting much worse, but Orlando will definitely need some magic and some of that Disney spirit they are rocking on their jerseys this season to actually return to the playoffs.