When the Orlando Magic leaned fully into a rebuild with their jettisoning of Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic, they did so knowing that their collection of young talent would not immediately have an opportunity to play together and mesh due largely to injuries. With Mo Bamba (hip), Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac -- both of whom are sidelined for the season with knee injuries -- unavailable, Orlando is hamstrung in its ability to start putting the pieces of its future in place. Without that trio, the Magic offer a mix of youngsters with upside (Cole Anthony, Dwayne Bacon, R.J. Hampton and Chuma Okeke) and veterans (James Ennis III, Otto Porter, Terrence Ross and Michael Carter-Williams) who might not fit Orlando long term.
With a loss, Houston would fall five games behind Orlando with only 15 left to play. That could be crucial for 2021 draft lottery odds.
I’m really happy for him. I’m really proud of him. And it’s only up from here for him.