Another day, another close Orlando Magic game that came down to the closing moments. Unfortunately, once again the fans and the organization found themselves on the losing side of things with a loss to the Toronto Raptors 105-100. It’s a feeling that I’m sad to say I’m all too familiar with after watching this young Magic team rebuild in the wake of the Dwight Howard fiasco.
The 2015-2016 NBA season was supposed to be different. Rob Hennigan, the Magic’s General Manager brought in local favorite Scott Skiles to coach the young players. It was believed that Skiles would to be the guy to bring an identity and accountability to a team that up until that point didn’t have those intangibles.
At the beginning of the season the Magic seemed ready to climb out of the haze that was the Jacque Vaughn era; an era that set the Magic back seriously in terms of growth and is possibly the only real smear on the young GM’s track record up to this point.
With a 29-40 record the Magic are coming into the final stretch of a season that was supposed to feature some light at the end of the tunnel. Instead Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Raptors was a game that was symbolic and representative of so many others this season. The team displays glimpses and stretches of greatness but ultimately falters in major ways. Usually this allows the other team to make a run and eventually take the lead. There should be a record of how many “late game alerts” I’ve gotten from the Orlando Magic this season however I also wish that most of those alerts would lead to an eventual “W” as well.
The Magic still have some real issues to figure out. Finding the best line-ups to put on the court still seems to be a mystery for Skiles and his staff. Minutes are often delegated in drastically different ways on a night-to-night basis. Injuries have played their part in the chaos but the feeling that the coaching staff still doesn’t know how to maximize this roster lingers.
After a recent lackluster effort by the Magic against the dismal Los Angeles Lakers coach Skiles had this to say,
“We’ll get together and talk about it and we may make some changes,’’
On top of everything else it seems more and more likely that our young guard duo of Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo aren’t as complimentary to each other as the organization and fans had hoped they would be. I don’t think it’s a coincidence either that Oladipo is having his best stretch of games of his season while Payton has been sidelined with a wrist injury.
There’s hope that as the season comes to a close that the Magic can add some clarity to the situation. A strong finish to the season would help alleviate some worries about the future. If not, then Hennigan will have to make some smart and drastic moves this off-season. After all, his job very well could be on the line.