The Magic may have the shortest trip to the Walt Disney World complex, but their players are struggling with the same adjustment as the other 21 teams, writes Marc Stein of The New York Times. They can have things dropped off easily to help pass the time, but they are still isolated from friends and family members.
Like most of the teams in Orlando, Magic players have family concerns while they tend to basketball-related business. D.J. Augustin‘s father-in-law recently died, and Nikola Vucevic‘s parents arrived from Montenegro to help his wife, who is expecting a baby in November.
“It’s hard being away from family, period, so when I get back to my room, that’s when it’s hard,” Augustin said. But at the same time I’m here to do a job. I’m here and I’m focused and I’m trying to make the best of this opportunity.”
There’s more Magic news to pass along:
- Orlando may use an expanded rotation when the season resumes, according to John Denton of NBA.com. The Magic already had one of the league’s most productive bench units, which may be bolstered by the return of Jonathan Isaac from a knee injury. “I don’t see us, by July 31 being able to play just nine guys, especially when you are going to play eight games in 15 nights,’’ head coach Steve Clifford said. “I think there will be nights when you play 10 guys or 11 guys and everybody has to be ready. That might make it difficult to get to playing groups, which is always an important factor in our league. It will be as unique of a situation as anything that any of us have ever been involved with.’’
- The Magic will approach the eight seeding games with a goal of moving up to the seventh slot, Denton adds in a separate story. At 30-35, Orlando is a half game behind the depleted Nets, and passing them would prevent the Magic from having to face the Bucks in the first round. “I would say that’s one of our main goals right now,’’ Wesley Iwundu said. “It’s about coming out from the start really strong.”
- Markelle Fultz has passed the quarantine protocol and is expected to take part in his first practice this afternoon, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Fultz, who didn’t travel with the team, said his arrival was delayed by a personal matter and wasn’t due to COVID-19.