Struggles against elite competition signal an early May vacation for the Magic
The Orlando Magic could be in deep trouble heading into the playoffs. I know that doesn’t come as a shock to anyone that has consistently watched this team play, but there is more to an inevitable beard shaving pity-party than just recent sloppy play.
The Magic just flat-out can’t consistently beat good teams. Their current record against teams with winning records is 15-20. Against the top 10 teams record wise in the league (removing Orlando), that number is 10-14. The Magic are a .500 club against good, but not great teams and against the elite teams in the league, they’re basically the equivalent of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The pre/post trade record is as follows:
Pre-trades: 4 wins and 6 losses against teams with winning records (based on current records).
Post-trades: 11 wins and 14 losses against teams with winning records.
You can’t exactly proclaim that Hedo, J-Rich and Gil have set themselves apart from Vince, Rashard, Pietrus and Gortat. Especially when you consider that the Gil and Rashard trades are basically a wash because of injuries to both players. So you have Hedo and J-Rich versus Vince, Pietrus, and Gortat. Do you make that trade again today? Probably not, but I digress.
Let’s take a look at the teams the Magic would have to play in the playoffs and how they compare in the same departments.
Chicago: 22 wins and 11 losses against teams with winning records. 13 wins and 8 losses against the top 10 teams. The Magic are 1-2 against the Bulls.
Boston: 20 wins and 13 losses against teams with winning records. 14 wins and 7 losses against the top 10 teams. The Magic are 1-2 against the Celtics.
Miami: 17 wins and 17 losses against teams with winning records. 8 wins and 14 losses against the top 10 teams. The Magic are 2-2 against the Heat. Clearly the Heat are beating up on the little guys. Do you bet against LeBron though? History says yes.
Atlanta: 12 wins and 22 losses against teams with winning records. 8 wins and 16 losses against the top 10 teams. The Magic are 1-3 against the Hawks, padding Atlanta’s already terrible stats against good teams.
— Side Note: I did not include the stats against the Knicks in this analysis as they are currently at 38-38. The Magic are 3-1 against NY this season. —
The Bulls are the likely second round opponent for the Magic if they are able to beat the Hawks. There seems to be a general consensus amongst the media that the Magic have the best chance of advancing against Chicago, but the Magic are just 1-2 against the Bulls this season. That sole win came pre-trade and was early in the season. In the two losses the Magic were crushed on the boards and held to only 90 and 81 points.
With the Magic playing so poorly as of late, a playoff push already seemed implausible. When you see the numbers against elite teams, it seems almost to be anticipated that the Magic won’t be playing past mid-May.
Can they make a run? Yes. But at this point of the season, it doesn’t seem likely that the Magic are going to flip a switch and become a different team. It’s likely that this team is exactly what we’ve seen over the past few months, a better version of the Atlanta Hawks.
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