Since trading their franchise centre piece, the Magic have finished no higher than 11th in the traditionally weaker Eastern Conference before finally breaking through to finish seventh and return to the playoffs last season.

Despite the quick exit at the hands of eventual champs the Toronto Raptors, the sense of eternal doom that hung over the franchise since the last days of Dwight has finally been lifted.

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Behind the strong play of newly minted (to the tune of a four year $100 million contract) all-star centre Nikola Vucevic, the Magic exceeded expectations finishing with a 42-40 record.

The Magic have maintained a patient, draft-based approach in the past few years, snaring high upside prospects such as Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba to go with the veterans in sharp shooting wing Evan Fournier and Vucevic.

However they remain a team that is put together... weirdly!

Vucevic is a star and they have a foundational piece in Aaron Godron manning the power forward position. Yet they've drafted big in Isaac, Bamba and Chuma Okeke in the last three drafts.

The Magic have a a couple of solid wings in Fourner and spark plug Terrance Ross, but they're not considered top line options for a team that wants to sit at the top table.

Jouneyman lead guard DJ Augustin offered up a career year last season, but he's a backup by practically any standard and at 31, doesn't project to get any better.

In a sliding doors scenario, the Magic could be starting draft picks Donovan Mitchell and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander alongside Fournier, Gordon and Big Vooch.

Instead they have seven (including underrated back up Khem Birch and free agent acquisition Al-Farouq Aminu) Very Tall People to man but two Very Tall People positions.

They have only two proven commodities on the wing and no recognised starting level point guard.

That being said, the Magic are a team that could surprise many this season.

They have perhaps made the most intriguing acquisition in the NBA this year with their trade for perennially broken (33 games in two seasons) former #1 draft pick Markelle Fultz.

The trade is a no brainer for General Manager John Hammond: for the price of a draft pick, Orlando get a long look at a five star prospect at their greatest position of need.

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By all accounts, Fultz has looked healthy in training camp, yet may not play in the pre-season.

Should they team be able to get 20 minutes a night out of the former Sixer, it goes a long way to solving the Magic's greatest problem.

Coach Steve Clifford is a noted Big Man Whisperer, getting the best out of both prime and late career Dwight Howard as well as coaxing an Indian Summer out of Al Jefferson, so Vucevic isn't expected to drop off.

Bamba and Isaac could thrive under Clifford, if given the opportunity, but even in their limited minutes, they can create a formidable front line rotation matched only by Eastern Elites in Toronto, Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

Gordon is the conundrum that could either make all this work, or gum up the gears. The 24 year old, who averaged 16 point, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, shooting 35% from deep last season, has talent to burn.

A generation ago, Gordon would have been the perfect small forward – able to bang inside, run the wing, create for team mates, hit the three & defend multiple positions. A springier Larry Johnson.

In the modern game, he's a prototypical power forward. And that's where Orlando are hoping to buck conventional wisdom.

Playing Gordon at the three allows Clifford to spread his big man minutes around, whilst fixing his lack of wing options.

Gordon might not be the star that the Magic were hoping when selected fourth overall in 2014, but his do-it-all skill set means his ultimate destiny could be as the perfect second banana. The tide the lifts all ships.

Given the age profile of the team, Orlando have plenty of growth in them. But a lot of things need to come up trumps.

Can Gordon embrace being the Robin to Vucevic's Batman? Can Vooch maintain his 2019 production? Does Isaac continue to develop into a defensive force? Can Fultz play actual NBA basketball?

If things break positively for the Magic, they can push for 46 wins or thereabouts – and that might be good enough for fourth in the conference and home court in the first round.

It seems that – finally – the Magic are worth noticing again.

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