After finishing last season on a 22-9 run to nab the seventh seed in the East, the Magic entered the 2019/20 season looking to build on that second-half success and take another step forward. But so far, injuries and struggles on the offensive end have held the club back.
Orlando’s 105.5 offensive rating is easily the worst mark of any playoff team, ranking 26th overall in the NBA. However, asked by Josh Robbins of The Athletic if the Magic will prioritize acquiring offensive-minded players going forward, president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman suggested it isn’t quite that simple.
“I think we’ve already done that. I just think that they’re young,” Weltman said. “Jonathan Isaac is going to be a good offensive player. Mo Bamba’s going to be a good offensive player. Chuma Okeke is going to be a good offensive player. We’re trying to get two-way players. The trick is to not get guys who are just good offensive players. So I don’t think we look at it like, ‘This year we draft an offensive player.’ We try to draft good basketball players.”
Although the Magic had an opportunity to add reinforcements at the trade deadline last week, they ended up only making one minor move, bringing in James Ennis in exchange for a late-second round pick. Weltman told Robbins that it’s hard to say for sure how close he got to making additional moves.
“I always say you’d have to ask the other teams,” he said. “I can tell you that we had a few connections that we made with teams and talks that got seemingly substantial. But at the end of the day, this is a poker game, and when the hand gets folded, the other team doesn’t show you its cards. So I really don’t know.”
Here’s more out of Orlando:
- Injured point guard D.J. Augustin seems to be on track to return to the Magic’s rotation shortly after the All-Star break, tweets Robbins. Augustin, who has primarily come off the bench this season, has been on the shelf with a knee injury since January 13.
- Newly-acquired swingman James Ennis, who waived his no-trade clause to join the Magic last week, says he did so because he wanted a chance at an increased role, writes John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com. “I waived it because it was time for me be selfish,” Ennis said. “I was unselfish this (past) summer by giving up more money to go back to Philly. And when I stopped playing in Philly and I saw a good opportunity to come here due to the injuries. But, I’m glad that I’m here now.” After averaging just 7.2 minutes per game in his last seven contests with Philadelphia, Ennis logged 16 minutes in his first game with the Magic on Monday.
- After Orlando’s City Council approved a land sale to the Magic this week, the team is moving forward with plans to build a new practice facility that will open for the 2021/22 season, Robbins writes at The Athletic. The Magic currently practice at the Amway Center, but the team’s new facility will be a separate building that includes a community health center and offices for the basketball operations staff.