The Orlando Magic's surprisingly strong start to the 2014/15 season hasn't gone unnoticed: SB Nation NBA analyst Drew Garrison has Orlando on the rise yet again in his NBA power rankings feature, moving the Magic up four spots to 21st overall.
"Victor Oladipo is back, and that's a big boost for Orlando," says Garrison of the Magic's second-year guard, who missed their first nine games due to a sprained MCL and a facial fracture. "This team has been competitive even in their losses, and having Oladipo back is only going to make them a tougher outing."
With Oladipo in the fold, Orlando has won two of its three games, with its lone loss coming on the road against the Southeast Division-leading Washington Wizards. While the Indiana product is still knocking some rust off shooting the ball--he's converting just 39.4 percent of his field-goal tries--he's nonetheless averaging 14 points, 5.3 rebounds, and four assists per game and drawing fouls like a man possessed.
The biggest test for Orlando is yet to come: eight of its next 11 games are scheduled away from Amway Center. That period will say a lot about whether this team has improved as much as its performance to date may suggest.