With the 2018-19 NBA season quickly approaching, we're rolling out 30 Teams in 30 Days. Between now and opening night, we're dedicating one day to each team in the league.
Up next, we're taking a look at the Southeast Division, starting with the Orlando Magic.
2017-18 season record
25-57 (14th in the Eastern Conference)
Projected 2018-19 season record
31.5 wins (11th in the Eastern Conference)
Mo Bamba (No. 6 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft)
Isaiah Briscoe (free agency)
Jerian Grant (trade)
Jarell Martin (trade)
Timofey Mozgov (trade)
Aaron Afflalo (free agency)
Bismack Biyombo (trade)
Mario Hezonja (free agency)
Shelvin Mack (free agency)
Marreese Speights (free agency)
3 key storylines
Aaron Gordon's breakout season
Gordon is coming off of a season in which he reached career-bests in points (17.6), rebounds (7.9), assists (2.3) and steals (1.0) per game. He also shot a career-high 33.6 percent from beyond the arc.
With those numbers, Gordon is inching closer and closer to becoming the player the Magic expected when they selected him with the fourth overall pick four years ago.
Over the offseason, Gordon showed off some new moves off the bounce in a pickup game against Kevin Durant. If he can consistently knock down outside shots to go with his explosiveness at the rim, he could become a problem for defenses all across the league.
Gordon is committed to the Magic for the foreseeable future after signing a four-year, $78 million deal this past July.
Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba
Isaac spent most of his rookie campaign sidelined with an ankle injury, but the No. 6 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft showed promise this past Summer League with averages of 14.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
Isaac put his unique skill set on full display in those games, scoring from both inside and out with a smooth touch for a near 7-footer. The Magic have already picked up his team option on his rookie contract, so they seem confident in what he can provide for the future.
Joining him in the frontcourt this season will be Bamba, whom the Magic selected with the No. 6 pick in this year's draft.
The Magic have high hopes for a player many have compared to Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. Bamba was the best shot blocker and rim protector in his draft class, recording 111 total blocks for an average of 3.7 per game in his one year at Texas. The big man has been working on his jump shot this offseason to become more "unicorn"-like, which is good news for Orlando's fans.
The Magic have set themselves up with an extremely athletic frontcourt between Bamba, Isaac and Gordon. Now they just need to see if they can all coexist.
New head coach Steve Clifford
The Magic have brought in Steve Clifford to replace Frank Vogel as their head coach moving forward.
In Clifford's five years with the Charlotte Hornets, he led them to the playoffs twice but failed to get out of the first round on both occasions. After reaching the postseason for six consecutive seasons from 2006-12, the Magic have gone six years without a playoff appearance.
The hope is a new head coach can help develop this team's young talent, make improvements on the defensive end and return the Magic to the playoffs at some point in the next four years.
Clifford is known for his focus on the defensive end, on defensive rebounding and a low turnover rate. Last season, the Magic finished in the bottom half of the league in those categories.
5 games to watch
Oct. 19 vs. Charlotte Hornets
In their second game of the season, the Magic will face off against the team that fired their new head coach Steve Clifford last year.
The former Hornets head coach spent the last five seasons in Charlotte, reaching the playoffs twice. They replaced Clifford with James Borrego, who spent four years as an assistant coach for the Magic.
Borrego even finished the 2015 season as an interim head coach for Orlando, going 10-20 through 30 games.
Oct. 20 vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Bamba worked out with 76ers star Joel Embiid this offseason. At a pickup game in late June, video surfaced of Embiid posting up Bamba and dunking on the soon-to-be rookie with trash talk to follow. This will be Bamba's shot at redemption against a player he's openly said he wants to model his game after.
Nov. 9 vs. Washington Wizards
What's a better benchmark for the Magic's centre of the future than to match up against one of the best players in the franchise's history? Dwight Howard last played for the Magic in 2011-12, but the most memorable years of his Hall of Fame worthy career came in Orlando.
Nov. 11 vs. New York Knicks
This will be a homecoming-like game for Bamba, as he was born in Harlem and grew up "three train stops" away from Madison Square Garden. Seeing as the Knicks were interested in drafting him , this will make for one of the more exciting stops in Bamba's rookie season.
Jan. 29 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Last season, Gordon exploded for 40 points at home against the Thunder. Despite a fully-healthy roster of defensive stoppers such as Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Andre Roberson and Steven Adams, there was no answer for the Magic forward. He hit six triples and shot 13-for-23 from the field while also corralling 15 rebounds.
It was Gordon's second-highest scoring total of the 2017-18 season only behind a 41-point effort against the Brooklyn Nets.
It will be interesting to see if he can bring it to one of the NBA's best teams again in 2019.