During last week’s power ranking roundup edition, the 4-0 Magic made a big jump in some rankings, but not all.
Then came a blowout loss to the Sixers and a disappointing loss to the Thunder. As a result, the Magic this week have dropped in some rankings and somehow jumped in others.
Sounds as if nobody really knows what to make of this team.
Click on each publication for the full ranking...
ESPN - Magic jump from 18 to 16
After starting 4-0 for the first time in franchise history, the Magic fell back to earth, dropping two straight to the Sixers and Thunder. After a strong start to the season, Markelle Fultz has cooled off, too — he is shooting just 13-for-43 over his past three games. The Magic have a tough stretch coming up with seven of their next 10 on the road. — Nick Friedell
Sports Illustrated - Magic jump from 17 to 14
Cole Anthony has struggled as a shooter early in his NBA career, but he’s made a positive impact out of the gate outside of his shaky percentages. The North Carolina product is a plus defender who rebounds well for a point guard, and he brings a well-developed feel as a half-court playmaker. Anthony’s skill-set (and deficiencies) mirror Markelle Fultz to a degree, and while both players are projects, they represent a pair of valuable pieces as we head into 2021. — Michael Shapiro
CBS Sports - Magic fall from 10 to 15
After their 3-0 start, the Magic were blown out by the 76ers and split with the Thunder this week. They continue to play fast, but the offense was much more of a struggle outside of the ever-dependable Nikola Vucevic (25.7 points, 11 rebounds, 60 percent 3-point shooting this week) and a couple of hot games from Terrence Ross. The defense is always there for a Steve Clifford team, but the offense will need some punch if they’re going to make any significant noise. — Colin Ward-Henninger
NBA.com - Magic fall from 5 to 13
The Magic were the last unbeaten team in the league, but any good feelings about that accomplishment have probably been lost with a loss to the Sixers in which they trailed by 38 and a loss to the Thunder in which they scored 35 points over the second and fourth quarters. The Philly game was riddled with un-Magic-like defensive mistakes, Dwayne Bacon was at the center of a few of them, and the Magic’s starting lineup (with Bacon in place of the injured James Ennis) has allowed 125 points per 100 possessions, the worst mark among the 16 lineups that have played at least 50 minutes
Aaron Gordon did have a transition block against Ben Simmons on Thursday and a slick transition dime to Nikola Vucevic on Saturday (making more plays with Evan Fournier out), but he’s one of several Magic players who have struggled to shoot from the perimeter. It doesn’t help that this team ranks last in both the percentage of its shots that have come from the restricted area (20%) and the percentage of its shots that have come from 3-point range (30%). Markelle Fultz’ 5-for-23 (22%) from mid-range is the worst mark (by a healthy margin) among 26 players with at least 20 mid-range attempts. — John Schuhmann
Bleacher Report - Magic jump from 15 to 13
Things have gone a little downhill after starting out 4-0. The Magic got blown out by the Sixers and then lost to the Thunder while scoring only 17 fourth-quarter points. They were not able to crack triple digits in either game.
Orlando is one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the NBA, averaging just nine made threes a game. Of their main rotation players, only two (Terrence Ross and Nikola Vucevic) are shooting above 35 percent from long range. — Mo Dakhil
The Athletic - Magic fall from 4 to 7
Poise or Panic? Maybe a little panic, but mostly poise. The Magic bid for a perfect season was foiled by a couple of losses in a row to Philadelphia and Oklahoma City this week. The Sixers loss? Yeah, that makes sense. Philly is a better team and has a much better player/star at the center position. The loss to the Thunder? That was not good. Orlando has been a middle-of-the-road offensive team so far because Markelle Fultz and Aaron Gordon just can’t find consistency. But Terrence Ross has been a revelation off the bench. If he keeps this up, he’ll keep that offense balanced and afloat.
Why rank them here? Had them locked into the top 5 again this week until they lost to Oklahoma City. Losing two in a row isn’t a huge deal with their start, but good teams typically take care of business against bad teams. The Magic didn’t do that in their second matchup against OKC. — Zach Harper