Scott Skiles and the Orlando Magic seemingly are the perfect fit, which has fans and analysts alike excited about what he can do with what is a very athletic and youthful roster.
Skiles, who was hired by Orlando this past offseason to be the team’s new head coach, spent five seasons with the Magic as a player from 1989-1994, won the NBA Most Improved Player award in 1991 and set an NBA record for most assists in one game during that same season with 30. After winning 20 games in 2012, 23 games in 2013 and 25 games in 2014, the Magic are ready to make their push in advancing into the Eastern Conference playoffs, a place they haven’t reached since 2011.
Led by Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo in the starting five, Orlando has its deepest team in years. Second-year point guard Elfrid Payton was very impressive last season as a rookie and now has a wealth of knowledge with a former point guard as his head coach. The club’s most impactful player, meanwhile, might be big man Nikola Vucevic, who is one of the premier centers in the NBA, capable of filling up the stat sheets on any given night. Aaron Gordon also might be a useful piece this year, as reports from summer leagues indicate he made huge strides in his offensive game. With one of the most talented first-round draft picks Mario Hezonja ready to contribute right away, the Magic plan on being a team that flies up and down the court for the entire game.
Skiles brings a defensive mind set that should help improve a Magic team that was ranked in the bottom third of the NBA in points-allowed per game last season at 101.4. He’ll have the athletes and young legs to do it, too, as the Magic are tied for fourth in the NBA with the youngest average age.
The Magic’s opening game is on October 28 against the Washington Wizards at the Amway Center. According to SeatSmart.com, secondary market Magic tickets have an average price of $130.43 with a get-in price of $25. The most expensive purchase would for tickets to see the Raptors on January 14, which is their game overseas in London. That special contest carries an average ticket price of $719.64 and a get-in price of $125.
Orlando’s most expensive road game is unsurprisingly against the defending champion Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena, having an average ticket price of $672.20 and a get-in price of $51. Games against the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks round out the top-10 in terms of average ticket price.
Although some are excited to project the Magic’s improvement, Las Vegas has them in the bottom four in terms of odds to win the NBA title. Although no one is running with those unrealistic expectations, the Brooklyn Nets earned a playoff spot last season even though they were six games under .500. If the bottom of the Eastern Conference struggles again, the Magic should be in the mix to make the surprise leap for a postseason appearance.