The Tankers Series: Orlando Magic

Apr 11, 2018; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) points as he makes a three pointer Washington Wizards during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Long term solutions rather than short term

Who would have figured the firing of Stan Van Gundy would have altered the course of the Florida based franchise so much.  Since the start of the 2012-2013 campaign, Orlando has been coached by four different coaches — with the hiring of Steve Clifford in the offseason, Steve will become their fifth coach in only seven years.  A mixture of horrible front office roster moves and multiple different coaches have created a horrific mess in Orlando over the course of the last 6 seasons.

Year after year, one thing you can expect from the Orlando Magic is there draft position will be somewhere in the lottery.  Since 2013 Orlando has consistently picked in the top 11, with every pick but their 2016 pick ending up in the top 6 or higher.

Ponder that for a second, the Magic have been one of the worst teams in the NBA every year for the last 5 seasons, perennial losers.

As if losing isn’t enough, when they do get superb young pieces to bring their team out of the wreckage, Orlando finds a way to trade them for a bag of chips.  They’ve traded young assets such as Victor Oladipo, Damontas Sabonis, Tobias Harris, and Elfrid Payton for next to nothing in return.

Their trades history during their former Front office was so putrid, they essentially traded Oladipo, Sabonis, Eryn Ilyasova, Brandon Jennings for Terrence Ross and a late first round pick.  Needless to say, former GM Rob Hennigan didn’t do the franchise any favors in his 5-year tenure.

Now John Hammond has been tabbed as the man who must attempt to rebuild this roster back to playoff status.  Much as the case with The Knicks and The Hawks, this new front office regime should utilize the draft as the best tool at their disposal.  Adamant that their plans focus on the long-term rather than the short-term, look for his regime to obtain as many draft picks as possible.  Orlando will likely look to trade away their most intriguing contracts such as Nikola Vucevic and Jonathon Simmons to playoff contenders.  Orlando should use this season to heavily focus on the development of their young core (Aaron Gordon, Mo Bamba, and Jonathan Issac) and look forward to the future.

Magic fans must recognize the abysmal mess their team has become over the last six years and there is no overnight, quick fix for this franchise.  2018-2019 will be a very pivotal season for how the next few years will play out for Orlando.  If Hammond is able to obtain some young pieces for players like Vucevic, Simmons, and Fournier, expect the Magic to jump at that possibility.  The smartest move for this team might just be tanking the 2018-2019 season to acquire a top 7 pick and adjusting the roster to fit the scheme of the new regime.  The days of horrible trades and using band-aids to fix long-term issues are over, but the path back to the playoffs might take some time.