Tonight the Utah Jazz (5-4) will face the Orlando Magic (3-5). Looking at the Magic, I can’t help but think how similar the Magic are to the Jazz, but show how things could have gone wrong with our rebuild and team building.
The trajectory is interesting considering the Jazz and Magic have similar timelines. The Magic, after a losing season of tanking decided to pick Aaron Gordon over Dante Exum who fell to the Jazz with the 5th pick in the 2014 draft.
Aaron Gordon has slowly improved every season and is averaging 11 points per game this year. He’s also improved his three point shooting to 32% so far this season. It’s very likely we see it rise even more season. The Magic also had a promising point guard in Elfrid Payton, have cultivated Nikola Vucevic and drafted Mario Hezonja.
Like the Jazz, the Magic have filled their roster with veterans from trades and free agency. Some of the players Orlando added include Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo, D.J. Augustin and Jeff Green. They also added new head coach Frank Vogel.
The Jazz were similar in that they had a roster with lots of promising young talent and supplemented it with veteran help.
But so far, it doesn’t seem like it’s working as well for the Magic. They’re 22nd in the league in offensive rating and 17th in defensive rating. While the Jazz are 15th and 6th respectively per basketball reference. The records show the trends as well.
Obviously there is a chance that the Magic will turn things around and, as Corbin would say, get better. But, it’s troubling that they haven’t found an identity and their vets haven’t helped them be above average in much. Meanwhile, the Jazz have found themselves with solid rankings despite multiple injury setbacks.
All I can say is I am glad Dennis Lindsey is at the helm of our front office.