The Magic’s win over the Nets on Monday was a microcosm of their season.
The team is in a constant state of inconsistency, whether from quarter to quarter, half to half, or game to game. Sometimes they’ll find a way to pull out an impressive win, other times it’s a disappointing loss. So let’s see where the experts have placed Orlando in the latest editions of NBA Power Rankings.
Click on each publication for the full ranking...
ESPN - Magic at 19
The Magic have lost nine of their past 12 games, going 0-8 against teams currently positioned for the playoffs and 3-1 against teams positioned for the lottery. They have fallen eight games under .500, but they still have a three-game lead for the eighth playoff spot in the East. Slam dunk near-champion Aaron Gordon has been the bellwether of late, averaging 22.3 points per game in the three wins but only 14.3 points in the nine losses. — Andre Snellings
Bleacher Report - Magic at 18
Orlando’s 24th-ranked offense has been a problem all season, but a top-10 defense has helped it cling to one of the final two playoff spots in the East.
If anyone wants to come along for the ride with Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier (the only two players on the roster with above-average offensive box plus/minuses), the Magic should be able to hold off the Bulls and Wizards. -- Andy Bailey
NBA.com - Magic at 20
The Magic went with a new lineup on Friday, starting James Ennis III (acquired at the deadline) at the three against Dallas. And the new group outscored the Mavs by eight points in its 16-plus minutes, with a strong start to the third quarter helping the Magic erase what had been an 18-point deficit. But they were outscored by 24 points in less than 32 minutes with at least one reserve on the floor, with the bench shooting 7-for-27 from the field and allowing the Mavs to build another double-digit lead early in the fourth.
As was the case last season, wins and losses for the Magic are often decided by bench minutes. And this season, those bench minutes haven’t been as good. Terrence Ross’ effective field goal percentage has dropped (from 53.4% last season to just 48.0% this season) and the Magic’s bottom-five offense has scored 5.0 fewer points per 100 possessions with Ross on the floor (101.6) than it has with him off the floor (106.6).
The Magic will play 13 of their next 15 games against teams that are currently at or below .500. They’re 20-7 within that group, but that breaks down to 12-1 at home and 8-6 on the road, where they will play seven of their next nine. Their game in Brooklyn on Monday is the second of four meetings with the seventh-place Nets, who have a more difficult remaining schedule. -- John Schuhmann
CBS Sports - Magic at 20
The Magic only had one game this week, losing to the Mavericks at home. They’ve lost seven of their last 10 games, but sit three games ahead of the Wizards in the loss column for the final playoff spot in the East. Orlando has one of the most favorable remaining schedules in the league, so at least that’s something to look forward to. -- Colin Ward-Henninger
The Athletic - Magic at 19
The lineup: Markelle Fultz, Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic
With Jonathan Isaac and Al-Farouq Aminu out for the Orlando Magic, this is really the lineup Steve Clifford can put out there that gives them the most talent and potential possible. Orlando’s issue this season has mostly been offense. We’re waiting to see if they can recapture that late-season scoring excellence we saw last season. Until then, this lineup has actually been excellent offensively in 177 minutes together. It has scored 110.1 points per 100 possessions, which would put it around league average instead of the 26th current ranking. The problem is this lineup gives up 111.8 per 100 possessions, which puts it at a -1.7 net rating. If this lineup can figure out how to compete defensively, we’ll see Orlando cruise to another playoff berth. As of right now, it has to sweat Washington a little bit. -- Zach Harper
Sports Illustrated - Magic at 19
Evan Fournier’s contract is up at the end of 2019-20, leaving quite the interesting dilemma for Orlando. Seeing Fournier bolt would remove nearly all of Orlando’s reliable guard scoring, though committing $20 million per year to a non-All-Star seems to be a perfect path to mediocrity. The Magic have boxed themselves in to a degree. Perhaps they would have been well served to explore the Fournier trade market before Feb. 6. -- Michael Shapiro
UPROXX - Magic at 17
Orlando went into Brooklyn and won on Monday. That is the entire reason that the Magic arrive before the Nets on this list. Sophisticated stuff, I know. -- Brad Rowland