This off season, the Orlando Magic have acted swiftly to add to their roster for the new campaign. In doing so, they have avoided any potential panic purchases, and have the nucleus of the team together nice and early.
Two of the players they have brought in–Channing Frye and Ben Gordon–are of the veteran variety, and they will certainly help. Yet the ugly truth is that this has been a summer when the team hasn’t even been linked with a big name.
Yes, rebuilding is a long term thing, but is this a concern?
OK, so it’s not like the Magic were ever going to convince LeBron James or Kevin Love to join the team. Nevertheless there were plenty of other accomplished players available this summer, and Orlando wasn’t even linked with any of them.
For a fan base crying out for some stars to watch in their new arena, this is a worry. Again, the trades and acquisitions done so far have been nice ones that move the team forward.
But they haven’t excited the fans, some of whom are now really getting restless.
Be honest, the most exciting player on the roster is Victor Oladipo. He has just come off his stellar rookie season.
It’s great to have him on the team, but when that is as exciting as it gets, something is wrong. It is clear that Orlando are looking to probably make more of an impact during free agency next summer, but there is no guarantee the team will have any joy then either.
Lance Stephenson recently signed with the Charlotte Hornets. No doubt they are building something over there, but these are the kind of players the Magic need to target to truly grow.
Grabbing a player like this would have really lifted the mood around the team to even greater heights, but right now all that is in place is a solid roster and nothing more.
If you trawl the Internet, you will see that Magic fans are losing patience, their discontent is bubbling away through comments made on posts written about the team. It is largely understandable, as it still seems that the organization is struggling to finally get over Dwight Howard‘s departure once and for all.
They are being sold on a long term vision, and while general manager Rob Hennigan is convincing in his words, that vision only seems a little closer now than when the squad was depleted a couple of years back.
We live in a star-driven league. More than that though, we know that you need superstars plural to have any kind of meaningful success.
Orlando doesn’t even have one of them right now. If they do get one next summer, they still won’t be contenders, just a playoff team who gets bounced in the first round.
Of course not every team can be successful all at once, it just seems that Orlando is happy to plod along as they are for an extended amount of time.
You look at other teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and think “well it could be worse, we could be them,” but at least they’re doing something. They are going for broke right now, and if their risky draft picks and trades pay off, they could be big time down the road.
Similarly the likes of the Sacramento Kings, perennial underachievers at this point, are trying to make things happen, and let us not forget they have All-Star talent in the form of DeMarcus Cousins already on the roster.
It just all seems a bit safe, and dare it be said, a little boring. Orlando has a solid team with a nice mix of youth and experience, and that’s it.
We know already how their season is going to go next year, and it will almost certainly end before the playoffs begin. As a fan, that is disheartening to look at and realize.
In fact, you almost wouldn’t blame a person for not parting with their hard earned cash to support a team that isn’t up to much. Plenty will, of course, and in many ways that’s the beauty and stupidity of professional sports.
This all may seem a little negative, especially when there is proof the team is slowly getting better, but it needed to be said. There is only so long accepting that this is a lengthy rebuild can be taken.
Maybe in a few years we can look back on this period and laugh and how impatient we were as the team gears up for a long playoff run. That is true, and as we have mentioned this is not a bad team at this point, either.
But the Magic could also be back in the lottery in the not so distant future as well, because the inability to attract stars will drive the promising youth away to try and be more successful elsewhere. What it really comes down to is this: barring some sort of master plan by the suits upstairs, this summer has been a missed opportunity so far, and it may yet turn out to be one that requires a heavy price to pay at a later time.