The Orlando Magic are sneaky favorites in the Eastern Conference to put in a playoff bid this season. The team has lots of young talent, and they’ve added guys like former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz.
The Magic also have a lot of great young big man talent to go next to Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon. That includes Mo Bamba and third-year player Jonathan Isaac, who Zach Lowe says the Magic have been resistant to field any trade calls for.
According to Lowe, the Magic feel that Isaac is a central figure in their team’s future.
It’s hard to overstate how much the Magic love Isaac. They have batted away any Isaac trade inquiries, sources say. He has quickly become a standard-bearer of the culture president Jeff Weltman and GM John Hammond want to nurture.
This makes a lot of sense. Isaac Is not yet a good offensive player, but he has made strides on defense. He was in the 77th percentile for big men when it came to blocks last year, according to Cleaning the Glass. Isaac’s vorp last season was also pretty good — he played at a replacement level — despite not having a lot of offensive acumen. Essentially, there’s miles of headroom above him to grow.
It feels like Orlando is attached to Isaac the way the Portland Trail Blazers are with Zach Collins. From afar, it might not be obvious why they aren’t interested in packaging him up for another star, but team building has to start somewhere and if you can get cheap guys through the draft that work for your culture, you should keep them around.
The Magic, and Isaac, will be ones to watch this year.