Now, Orlando is facing something completely new.
A long-term ankle injury (to Aaron Gordon).
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 1, 2021
Orlando (8-13, 12th in the Eastern Conference) has hung in the play-in race. But that was with Gordon.
Don’t expect the Steve Clifford-coached team to throw in the towel. Nikola Vucevic is playing at a near-star level. Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross can pitch in. Rookie point guard Cole Anthony has legitimate ups with his legitimate downs.
But this team is so thin now. It’ll be tough to remain competitive.
This ought to nudge Orlando even further toward dealing Fournier – an impending unrestricted free agent – before the trade deadline. Maybe even Vucevic and Ross, too.
Silver lining: The 2021 NBA Draft looks strong at the top, and the Magic never had grand expectations for this season, anyway. But even with that standard, all these setbacks are still pretty disheartening.