2016-2017 Season Review: 29-53
5th in Southeast Division, 13th in Eastern Conf
Jonathon Simmons (Free Agent – San Antonio Spurs)
Shelvin Mack (Free Agent – Utah Jazz)
Jonathan Isaac (Drafted 1st Round, 6th Overall)
Marreese Speights (Free Agent – Los Angeles Clippers)
Arron Afflalo (Free Agent – Sacramento Kings)
Jeff Green (Free Agent – Cleveland Cavaliers)
Jodie Meeks (Free Agent – Washington Wizards)
The Orlando Magic is a team coming off a disappointing season where they finished near the bottom of the pack in the Eastern Conference. The subtraction of Serge Ibaka seemed to really boost the team’s pace and offense after the All-Star break. Frank Vogel and his squad seemingly hit gold as they switched their offense from an Evan Fournier-centered offense to an Elfrid Payton centered offense and led to some big fantasy performances. I anticipate they will stick with the same formula to start the year so keep an eye on Magic players who will probably go overlooked most nights.
Elfrid Payton really started to thrive toward the end of the year and turned into a triple-double machine in March. Elf is frequently overlooked compared to guys like John Wall, Russell Westbrook, etc… and is an excellent option at PG for salary relief. In February Elf averaged 11.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists points per game, while in March those numbers ballooned to 12.7, 7.6 and 8.4. I expect the Magic to run the same style offense they implemented post All-Star break which means Payton’s fantasy value will be sky-high.
Evan Fournier was pretty inefficient last season and didn’t have as good a year as I thought he would. He seemed to play better as the secondary scoring option when Victor Oladipo was on the team. Fournier doesn’t standout to me as a #1 scoring option who can carry a team’s offense. I think he is best suited as a complementary piece to an offense where everyone contributes which is what the Magic became over the last few months. Like his teammates he was strong down the stretch and benefited from the change in Orlando’s offensive scheme.
Aaron Gordon is also someone who picked it up after the All-Star break. Gordon was able to play the 4 once Serge Ibaka was shipped off to the Raptors. Gordon can play both the 3 and the 4, but I think he is better at the 4. He is due for a breakout year now that he will start at PF with Ibaka gone.
Nikola Vucevic can’t play defense to save his life, but he’s an offensive force. He will probably be the second or third scoring option for the Magic in the upcoming season. Last season he averaged 1.2 Draftkings points per minute, which makes him a solid cash game play.
The Magic selected Jonathan Isaac with the 6th overall pick in this year’s draft and there is a lot to like about the young prospect from FSU. He has a great all around game and can score, rebound, hit threes, hit free throws, and get blocks and steals. Getting minutes will be tough playing behind Aaron Gordon, but if the Magic are as bad I anticipate them to be Isaac will see plenty of floor time toward the end of the year.
Jonathon Simmons signed as a free agent and will most likely slot in as the team’s 6th man. Simmons is an athletic, versatile player who can help the team on both ends of the floor. I’m interested to see what he can do in an organization looking to rebuild because being on a championship caliber team limited his playing time. I expect Simmons to produce on the same level he did during the playoffs when he got around 20 MPG and averaged low double digits in points.
Marreese Speights, Shelvin Mack and Arron Afflalo are all reserve guys that the Magic brought in for depth. Speights is guy that has excellent per 36 numbers, but never gets minutes. He can hit threes at a good clip for a big man and last year he took 277 from downtown in a backup role for the Clippers. Mack will compete with D.J. Augustin for the backup PG role. Last season Mack had some big games for the Jazz backing up George Hill and was an excellent, inexpensive option in those games. Afflalo returns to the Magic after playing for 4 different teams in the last 3 years. Don’t expect him to return to the Arron Afflalo that played for the Magic between 2012 and 2014 because it’s not happening. He won’t be much of a fantasy option unless he’s min price and news comes out that he will start.