NBA Playoffs: Ranking the teams most likely to return to the playoffs in 2024

Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks - Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic
Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic -Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Potential 2024 Playoff Team #3: Orlando Magic

This may come as a surprise, given the Magic don’t have an established star player leading their charge (yet), but Orlando’s roster is both young and already fairly solid. They have a host of young players still working on their games, veterans who are carving out key roles for the team, and the potential to add more to this core this year.

Most of the issues come on the offensive end for the Magic this year, as they actually rank 16th in defensive rating. Their lack of high-level floor spacers has hurt them in many matchups, but after a poor start to their season, the team was able to right the ship and play above .500 basketball for the rest of the year.

Their success comes mostly from their two young stars in Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero. While Banchero is the deserved overwhelming favorite for rookie of the year due to his ability to step in from day one and be the team’s leading scorer, Wagner’s steady growth from a surprisingly good rookie campaign gives the Magic two centerpiece wings to build around:

Armed with two potential top ten picks in this year’s top heavy NBA draft, the Magic can be a bit choosier in finding players that fit their need for wings and guards who can spray bombs from deep. With those additions to their young core, alongside the positive contributions of Jalen Suggs, Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony, and Wendell Carter Jr., Orlando is sneakily one of the better teams in the entire NBA that missed out on the postseason entirely.