The Orlando Magic finished near the bottom of the Eastern Conference again in the 2014-15 season, but they're expected to climb into playoff contention next season. Here are three reasons to be optimistic about the Magic this year:
Skiles has had his ups and downs during his various coaching stops, currently sporting a 443-431 overall record. Dismissed by the Milwaukee Bucks in the middle of the 2012-13 season at the end of his last stint on the bench, Skiles is grateful for the opportunity in front of him.
“When you’re an NBA coach, there are only 30 jobs,” Skiles said. “They’re open often, unfortunately for the coaches, but people tend to have certain guys they look at or certain styles they look at, and that eliminates certain guys. This happened to be the right place at the right time for me.”
Skiles is tasked with turning this young, experienced team into winners - something he has a history of doing. Let's see if he can do it in Orlando.
Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon, and Victory Oladipo's progression
Orlando's future is dependent on these three taking the next step this season. Oladipo has shown promise in his two years in the league, but Orlando needs him to elevate his game to All-Star status to take them back to the postseason. Payton looks like he can be a quality point guard, but needs to improve his outside shooting, while Gordon needs to add skill around his athleticism. If all three guys continue to improve, the Magic will be a force to be reckoned with in the East.
The No. 5 overall pick in the NBA Draft looked like the missing piece to Orlando's puzzle in the Summer League, showcasing his elite shooting ability and eye-popping athleticism. The Magic shot just under 35 percent from beyond the arc as a team last year, and despite having one of the youngest and fastest rosters in the league, ranked just 25th in the NBA with 95.7 points per game. The addition of Hezonja will immediately give Orlando a major boost in both of those categories.
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