It’s been 132 days since the Orlando Magic took a five-point victory at the expense of the Memphis Grizzlies.
Today, NBA fans get their first look at NBA basketball since Rudy Gobert’s landscape altering positive test.
The Magic tip things off on both NBA TV and Fox Sports Florida as they play “host” to the Los Angeles Clippers at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at 3 p.m. eastern.
.@NikolaVucevic on today's scrimmage pic.twitter.com/NQ9NyTZUx4— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) July 22, 2020
The first of three exhibition games should give the Magic ample time to ramp up for the remaining eight seeding games, which prove of critical importance if the Magic are to avoid Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.
Which unit will we see? The same Magic that finished as the number one offense in the NBA after the All-Star break? Or will we see the group that was the seventh-best defense in the NBA leading up to it?
As the athletes work their way back into game shape expect an exhibition-style feel. The Magic should get plenty of mention from starters, rotation players and the full extent of their bench.
Though four months gave many NBA athletes the chance to rehab and recover from the rigors of the regular season, several players are still finding their way back. The Magic will be without starting point guard and power forwards Markelle Fultz, who is still working himself into game shape after his arrival at Disney was delayed due to personal matters, and Jonathan Isaac, whose availability for the eight seeding games is still undecided.
Steve Clifford said Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz will not play in Wednesday's scrimmage against the Clippers.— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) July 22, 2020
Across from the Magic will be one of the three heavy favorites to take home the Larry O’Brien Award. Led by Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Lou Williams, the Magic should kick off the NBA restart against one of the longest, deepest and most versatile groups in the NBA. As one of the better perimeter defenders in the league, both George and Leonard should find their hands full on the offensive end with Aaron Gordon.
It will be interesting to see if Terrence Ross and Evan Fournier can continue with the rhythm they possessed late in the season. Fournier experienced a career-year in scoring and efficiency while Ross finished the season on a blistering note, scoring over 22 points per game while shooting 50.6 percent from three on 8.9 attempts per game. We’ll also get our first look at the new frame Mo Bamba has built.
Last lift before live action. pic.twitter.com/kU6iPxKlZF— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) July 21, 2020
Before you dive into action, make sure you catch up on the some of the Magic’s most intriguing storylines in this article about some of the Magic’s strengths and weaknesses outlined by our own Zach Oliver.
Also, catch up on what getting Fultz back at practice for the Magic means with Aaron Goldstone.
Here's a look inside the Magic's practice tonight inside the bubble. It appears the team had a light evening because of tomorrow afternoon's scrimmage: pic.twitter.com/ew9oXQXOIv— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) July 22, 2020
All of the scrimmages will be broadcasted on FOX Sports Florida, FOX Sports GO and NBA League Pass. Remember today’s matchup will be featured on NBA TV in addition to Fox Sports Florida at 3 p.m. eastern time.
For more, check out our latest podcast featuring Aaron Goldstone, Will Ogburn and Preston Ellis.
Thanks for reading!