NBA Christmas: A gift for each team’s wish list in 2018

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images /
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Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images /

Orlando Magic: Playoff experience for youngsters

Every team wants to make the postseason, but with Nikola Vucevic‘s career year likely leading to a pay day on the open market in free agency, the real benefit for the Orlando Magic would be giving their future franchise pillars playoff experience at a ripe young age.

Vucevic, Terrence Ross, Jonathon Simmons, D.J. Augustin — those guys might not be around past this season, let alone the foreseeable future. Still, even though they’re some of the team’s most reliable players right now, getting Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac and Mohamed Bamba their first look at playoff basketball — even in a short first round series — would be huge for a slowly churning rebuild.

Not only would it initiate them to what real NBA basketball looks like, but it’d establish winning as a habit to build on. To that end, continuing to hover around .500 territory and giving the youngsters new expectations moving forward would be a great way to expand their confidence and ultimately, their identity as franchise cornerstones — something the Magic have been unable to establish since Dwight Howard left.