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Orlando Magic power ranking round-up

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A round-up of where the Magic stand in power rankings around the web as the season opens

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NBA: Preseason-Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve all made our predications for the Magic.

Consensus seems to be somewhere between 43-45 wins and the fifth or sixth seed. So, with the Magic season about to tip off, let’s see where the experts have the Magic listed in their respective NBA Power Rankings. Click on each publication for the full ranking.

ESPN - Magic at 18

Orlando -- and former No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz -- will try to improve on last season’s 42-40 mark to try to make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 2011 and 2012.

What they did this summer

While the Magic’s offseason mostly revolved around re-signing All-Star center Nikola Vucevic, Terrence Ross and Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando did add Al-Farouq Aminu from Portland in free agency. Markelle Fultz came over in a trade-deadline deal in February, but it’s almost a new acquisition considering he never suited up in Orlando. The former No. 1 pick averaged 6.7 points and 4.0 assists in the preseason, showing flashes of the player he was coming out of college.

BPI’s best-case scenario (48-34) and how they get there

Fultz struggled from the floor (17 of 54 overall, 0 of 6 from 3) in the preseason, but for the Magic to reach their best-case scenario, he has to be more efficient to give Orlando a boost off the bench with Ross. Aaron Gordon (34.9% from deep in 2018-19) and Jonathan Isaac (32.3%) both need to continue to develop from 3-point range. And another All-Star-like performance from Vucevic -- who had 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.0 steals per game -- wouldn’t hurt, either.

One big question: Forward progress

Aside from the question of whether the Magic and Knicks can have a lineup featuring 10 forwards on the court at the same time, Orlando has to figure out how to get the most out of multiple players perhaps better suited as small-ball 4s. Gordon and Isaac will likely share starting duties with Vucevic -- meaning Isaac is the small forward. As for the backups, Aminu and Mo Bamba have better fits at the 4 and 5. But Gordon or Isaac -- or both -- have to get better at shooting from beyond the arc. — Andrew Lopez - Magic at 15

The Magic were the Jekyll and Hyde team of the preseason. They won 11 of 12 quarters over their first three games (all on the road), and then won just one of 12 quarters over their last three games (all at home), with health issues for Evan Fournier (back spasms) and Vucevic (ankle) being a factor. Fultz’s shot isn’t exactly fixed (he was 2-for-22 from outside the paint), but Mo Bamba looked pretty confident in draining nine of his 18 3-point attempts. When healthy (Fournier and Vucevic were both back for the preseason finale), the Magic seemingly have 12 useful rotation guys. And with much invested in both Fultz and Bamba, Wes Iwundu and Khem Birch will likely be the two guys squeezed out to start the season. — John Schuhmann

The Ringer - Magic at 15

I’m confused by the Magic this season. On one hand, they ranked first in defensive rating over their final 37 games last season. But on the other hand, teams typically ease up in the second half of the season as they make vacation plans or wait for the playoffs. Were they not getting each opponent’s best effort? What should we make of Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors making quick work of them in the first round of the playoffs? I lean toward the Magic being really good on defense. (Click on the link for more on Isaac, Bamba and Birch). — Kevin O’Connor

CBS Sports - Magic at 15

The Magic struggled to score in the preseason, but kept up the outstanding defense that allowed them to make the playoffs last season. Markelle Fultz hasn’t looked great, but getting him on the court in game action is a positive step. They’re going to rely heavily on Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon offensively to start the season. —Colin Ward-Henninger

Sports Illustrated - Magic at 18

Best case: Orlando’s stack of wings swarms opposing offenses and Aaron Gordon becomes the league’s premier Swiss Army Knife. D.J. Augustin posts another career year in his 12th season.

Worst case: Augustin regresses to the mean while Markelle Fultz’s shot remains broken. Mo Bamba is a bust and the franchise takes a step back to the lottery. — Michael Shapiro

Rotoworld - Magic at 16

One player the entire league will be keeping an eye on early in the year is Orlando PG Markelle Fultz. The former No. 1 overall pick in the draft just two years ago, Fultz has appeared in just 33 games over his first two pros seasons and had converted only 26.7% of his 3-point attempts and 53.4% of his free throws. Still, the talent he showcased as a freshman at Washington is somewhere in there. He averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists, 5.7 rebounds, 1.6 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 2.1 treys, while shooting 47.6 percent from the floor and 41.3 percent from downtown at UW. — Tommy Beer

USA Today - Magic at 17

Tier 3: Good but not good enough — Andrew Joseph

UPROXX - Magic at 19

Orlando essentially brought the band back after an encouraging 2018-19 season and, if all growth was linear (or anything close to that), the expectation of a playoff return would be justified. A closer look yields more tepid excitement, however, with the Magic relying heavily on a couple of career-best offensive seasons from Nikola Vucevic and D.J. Augustin last season. On the bright side, Orlando is going to put a strong defense on the floor but there are enough questions about the offense to be uneasy about the overall ceiling. — Brad Rowland

NBC Sports - Magic at 19

This may be too low a ranking for a solid team that won 42 games last season, made the playoffs and brought the band back for another tour. All eyes are on Markelle Fultz, who in the preseason looked like a solid backup point guard for Orlando (a big step forward for him) but let’s see what happens when the trials and tribulations of the NBA regular season hits him. — Kurt Helin

The Athletic - Magic at 17

Orlando was shrewd in buying pretty low on Fultz to see if it could turn him into a high reward reclamation project. Luckily for Orlando, DJ Augustin is probably coming off the best stretch of basketball of his career, and he’s perfectly capable of being the point guard for the Magic. That takes a lot of pressure off of Fultz to perform right away. But he’ll eventually have to perform, and perform well. At this point, the number one overall pick of the 2017 Draft moniker is a sunk cost. The Magic and Fultz can’t look at him like that. They need to look at making him their definite backup point guard. Then they need to work toward making him earn the starting spot away from Augustin. Not all of that has to happen this season, but it needs to happen eventually. He can’t have any setbacks this season. Only move forward. — Zach Harper

Bleacher Report - Magic at 15

There was some hand-wringing online about the Magic more or less locking themselves into a borderline playoff contender this offseason. But Nikola Vucevic is still just 28, and he was better than you realize last season. And Orlando still has plenty of developing talent in Aaron Gordon (23), Jonathan Isaac (21) and Mohamed Bamba (21). Plus, there’s the Markelle Fultz wild card. There’s a reason he was the No. 1 pick just two years ago. If he can get anywhere near his projections coming out of college, Orlando can find another level. — Andy Bailey