Happy New Year, folks. 2015 is so, well, 2015, and it’s time for a fresh start. It's an annual January tradition to take a look at yourself in the mirror, decide what needs fixing, and get to it. (That comes a month before the annual February tradition of settling for "good enough.) If your checklist for self-improvement looks daunting, take solace in knowing that you're not alone.
Here are some classic New Year's resolutions on the Orlando Magic's list, and the odds the team sticks to them.
Learn something new
The Magic spent a fifth overall draft pick on Mario Hezonja in June, and since then he’s largely fallen to the wayside on a deep roster. In his first 29 games, Hezonja’s averaged 12.5 minutes a night. He’s seen more playing time in a few recent games, but it’s been a mixed bag. With that inconsistent time has come inconsistent results, something that’s not uncommon for rookies.
One thing we know he doesn’t lack is confidence. He’ll have to get more playing time to work out the kinks and develop, though. It may depend on how the Magic performs going forward -- a coach making a playoff push is going to be less inclined to throw a rookie into the mix for the sake of development -- and whether any roster changes are made. Also, the health of backup point guard C.J. Watson is critical in Hezonja's playing time.
This wish will come true in 2016. Of the Magic’s 50 remaining regular season games, 27 are on the road, so the team will log plenty of frequent flyer miles over the next few months. Plus, they have an "away home game" when the team travels to London in just over a week to take on the Toronto Raptors. So far this season, Orlando has a 7-7 road record.
Get a promotion
Orlando has been a perennial lottery team since Dwight Howard’s departure in 2012. But now, after years of stockpiling young players and hiring a capable new coach to lead them, the Magic finds itself back in the thick of the playoff hunt. If the playoffs started today, the Magic would be a five-seed – a huge improvement over last season, when the team finished with the league’s fifth-worst record. But they don't start today, and a lot can happen in 50 games, especially for such a young team. One of Orlando's main goals for 2016 will be extending its good start, and spinning it into a playoff berth.
This may be a resolution that Scott Skiles and the Magic willingly rip up and set aside for next year. So far Skiles has done a commendable job with what he has: a young team lacking much, if any, star power. Skiles has adapted accordingly, throwing out a ton of different looks, and playing the matchups night-to-night. 13 of 14 players that have donned the Magic uniform this season have averaged more than 12 minutes a night. Here’s what Skiles said of the roster back in November (via the Orlando Sentinal):
"I don't think we have the type of team that's going to have a set rotation," Skiles said. "There isn't much difference between our starters and our bench players until people emerge."
About two months later a prototypical lineup has yet to really emerge, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, Orlando is fighting for a playoff spot. Long-term, though, and perhaps to experience any postseason success this year, the Magic will need a consistent group to rely upon.
What other resolutions should Orlando add to its list for the New Year? Let us know in the comments below.