Magic must be hungry, greedy in the playoffs


Don’t dare repeat what you are about to hear.

And whatever you do, don’t under any circumstances tell the Orlando Magic our little secret.

As the Magic head into the playoffs this weekend, we don’t want them to get complacent.

We don’t want them to be satisfied.

We don’t want them to think that their hopes, dreams and goals have already been achieved.

So please keep this a secret because we don’t want them to know what I’m about to tell you.

We don’t want the Orlando Magic to believe the real, factual truth; that their season has already been a resounding success, no matter what they do in the playoffs.


I tell you with complete confidence: There is absolutely nothing the Magic can do now to put a damper on a season in which they have exceeded all expectations and solidified in our minds the fact that they are a team on the rise with championship potential for years to come. come.

And it’s not just me, the local columnist, speaking.

This is also what the national boys say.

Jalen Suggs dunks on Milwaukee’s Jae Crowder for his only basket in 28 minutes Sunday, a 113-88 victory that earned him a playoff spot. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

Just listen to Zach Harper of The Athletic.

“What would make this season a success? It already is,” Harper wrote a few days ago. “I think the Magic could get beat in the first round, but we’ll still have to consider it an extremely successful season for them. They showed that the last two thirds of last season were no fluke. This team is a fantastic defensive unit despite its youth. And Paolo Banchero is already an All-Star with superstar potential. The Magic know they need to add veteran perimeter help, but this team is on its way. I think Orlando will have a good showing in the playoffs, even if it’s a first round elimination. All possible stocks for the future of this franchise should be unavailable. »

Shh, Josh!

I told you to keep it low.

We don’t want the Magic to hear these accolades until they face the Cavaliers on Saturday in Game 1 of the playoffs.

We want them to be hungry.

We want them on edge.

We want them to be delicious.

We have to inspire them to want to accomplish more than just make the playoffs.

We must remind them that they came thisclose to ruin everything and only avoided the Play-In tournament by beating a Giannis-less Milwaukee Bucks in the final game of the regular season.

We want them to not feel disrespected by the Cavaliers, who apparently missed their final regular season game Sunday against the lowly Charlotte Hornets just so they could face the Magic in the first round of the playoffs instead of the winner of the Play-off game. In between. more proven teams – the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers.

We definitely don’t want the Magic to be full of themselves and feel good about what they’ve accomplished.

We want them to think they still have something to prove even though they’ve already proven that this season is just the beginning of something bigger to come. They have proven that they are not only good; they are good And young.

The Magic began this season with the fifth-youngest roster in the league (average age: 24.8) and yet managed to win nearly 50 games. In fact, in the last quarter century since 1999, only one NBA team has recorded 45 or more wins with its top three scorers (Banchero, Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs) aged 22 or younger. That team is the Orlando Magic.

Banchero, NBA Rookie of the Year last season and All-Star this season, is one of the most versatile players in the league. At the end of the regular season on Sunday, Banchero was 21 years and 154 days old, making him the youngest player in NBA history to ever lead his team in all three major statistical categories: scoring, rebounding and assists.

“When your top three scorers are 22 or younger, I think of our 10- and 11-year-old fans and want them to still be 21-year-olds,” Magic president Jeff Weltman said. basketball operations and the man in charge of putting together that roster. “We’re not going to burn the candle just yet. We’ll let it simmer slowly and continue to invest in and develop the players we have on our roster. We will always be opportunistic. We will always look for the next step to improve the team. And if we can take the plunge, we will. But I have no problem doubling down on these guys at the moment.

In other words, Weltman is confident about what he and his team have built and where this team is headed — as he should be.

But …

I urge you to keep this between you, me and the fence post.

This is neither the time nor the place for Magic players and coaches to feel complacent about what they’ve accomplished and how bright their futures are.

It’s time for them to head into the playoffs on a mission.

It’s time for them to think that they are undervalued and overlooked.

So keep it a secret and shut up about how well the Magic has already proven itself.

Explain how spectacularly successful this season has already been.

This is neither the place nor the time.

It’s playoff time, baby.

A time where reputations are built and legacies are formed.

It’s time for the Orlando Magic to stay hungry and humble.

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