It’s both Easter and April Fool’s Day, a fact that feels oddly appropriate as the 22-win Magic roll into Atlanta to take on the 21-win Hawks.
In the midst of a six-game stretch against fellow cellar dwellers Orlando will realistically only be hoping to improve their lottery odds while damaging those of the competition. It’s a circumstance that undoubtedly galls for both the team and its fans, but with only seven opportunities left to accumulate ping-pong balls it’s easy to understand why an L is the desired outcome.
The Hawks, having now shut down both Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder for the season, won’t make that easy. It’s a team that has already gone ahead and pencilled in losses for every remaining game this season. Outside of the intriguing potential of second year wing Taurean Prince and the familiar face that is Dewayne Dedmon, it’s a roster littered with names that even NBA fanatics would be forgiven for not recognising.
Still, if the Magic manage to shoot as poorly and generally look as offensively inept as they did in their last outing, who Atlanta trot out onto the hardwood might not make a difference.
Even if the final scoreboard outcome isn’t the most important part of the viewing experience there’s still plenty to keep Magic fans watching.
Jonathan Isaac is back (on a minutes restriction), and his continued development will eventually go some way towards determining the success of this current rebuild. He already looks the goods on D, but can he develop into a competent NBA player with the ball in hand?
Rodney Purvis is the owner of a fresh two-year contract with a team-option for next season, which means he’ll be keen to show management that they need to keep the offensive minded guard and G League standout around. Can he get something cooking for a team in desperate need of a consistent scorer?
Other questions persist. Will Aaron Gordon demonstrate shot selection less likely to give a coach an aneurysm? Which version of Mario Hezonja will show up? Will Khem Birch get a decent run as the first big off the bench? Precisely how bad at basketball was Keanu Reeves?
As always, be sure to dive in and join both the pre and in-game discussion below!