We're over a week into an NBA season full of surprises, and the biggest has to be the Orlando Magic starting 4-0 for the first time in franchise history. While I'm not ready to label them a contender in the Eastern Conference, there is plenty to be excited about in Orlando.
Nikola Vucecic is putting up a 20/10 double-double to start the year, which has been imperative to the team's success. They will likely go as far as their All-Star center takes them. Markelle Fultz has finally developed into the player he was projected to be when the 76ers selected him 1st overall in the 2017 Draft and has been solid as their starting Point Guard. Aaron Gordon missed their playoffs series last season but seems to be back to himself this year, and the team will need him healthy if they hope to make a playoff run. The bench players have provided solid minutes including an impressive 21 PPG from Terrence Ross. Mo Bamba should be back soon after being out do to issues related to contracting COVID-19 in the summer. He would strengthen a squad dealing with Jonathan Isaac out for the year and Al-Farouq Aminu without a timetable to return.
So far this NBA season has been highly entertaining and a lot of it has to do with an increase in parity throughout the league. We've become accustomed to blowouts and front runners over the last few seasons and the success in Orlando is refreshing for basketball fans. While things are sure to change and they have a long way to go, a Top-4 finish and playoff series win is a possibility. Now that LeBron is gone, the Eastern Conference is up for grabs, though it's hard to see the the Magic taking down some of the tougher competition. A matchup with the 76ers on New Years Eve will provide an opportunity to prove they can compete with the better teams as they have only beaten the Heat, Thunder, and Wizards twice thus far. It will be interesting to see how they fare against a tougher opponent and a win would surely open some eyes about what they got going in Central Florida.