The Magic front court is a bit crowded with Nikola Vucvic, Mo Bamba, Aaron Gordon, and Khem Birch. Vucevic and Bama are expected to have a somewhat split role, as Aaron Gordon will easily be the starter at the four. Khem Birch made a name for himself last season in a limited role, but is likely going to be the odd man out. The Magic have other options they likely want to get a look at. Bamba and Vucevic is going to be the interesting battle, and both bring the opposite to the table. Vucevic is heavier on the offensive side while Bamba is more known for his defense.
Nikola Vucevic is on an expiring contact, and was looked at as a traded candidate this past season. Vucevic can certainly fill a void for teams looking for an offensive center. The problem is this season there likely won’t be a lot of teams in dire need of it. Vucevic likely is going to be in his last year for Orlando, but the big question is will that departure come at the end of the season or halfway through the year. A contending team might take him for a half season rental and use him off the bench for his offense.
Steve Clifford has been coaching the Hornets over the last five seasons, and his best year came in the 2015-2016 season winning 48 games. Clifford has been around a winning percentage of .475. Clifford will come into a rougher situation, but also a team with a lot of talent. The backcourt is a little weaker and will need developing, but the front court is loaded with potential. Clifford’s short term goes will to keep developing these names, and at some point the Magic will need to start winning some basketball games. If they don’t, it might be much more of the same for Clifford.
D.J. Augustin is a 30-year-old point guard out of Texas, and will be starting for Orlando this season. It is a bit odd, but the Magic made no other plans heading into the season. Augustin has been strong from three, shooting over 40% in his career, but the volume isn’t all that high. We have seen Augustin be able to run offenses before, but it is a fairly small sample size. It would not surprise us to see Jonathon Simmons run the offense a bit more as a ball-handler and use Augustin off the ball more.
Mohamed Bamba played one year at Texas, averaging 12 points and 10 rebounds. The big number for Bamba was the 3.7 blocks per game. Bamba did average nine attempts per game, shooting 54%, but a lot came around the rim. Bamba is entering the league as a true center, and in an era where only a few exists. Bamba has the defensive talent to be a Rudy Gobert style player, which seems like the route he will go. If Bamba can add more diversity in his offense, there is a chance for him to emerge as one of the better centers in the game.