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Markelle Fultz thinks the Magic are playoff-bound and then some in 2023
The Orlando Magic, like any team rolling out a first overall pick from the NBA Draft, will have a lot of eyes on their young talent and early returns from it this season. After drafting Paolo Banchero out of Duke University, they’re hoping to make a leap.
Across the league, projections are relatively tempered for Orlando, but internally, they seem to be holding high expectations for what’s to come from the 2022-23 chapter.
The Magic have had incredible luck thus far with retained No. 1 overall picks. Their first top pick was Shaquille O’Neal in 1992, and then in 2004, they selected Dwight Howard. In 1993, they drafted No. 1 again, but traded Chris Webber, their selection, to Golden State for Penny Hardaway.
Cumulatively in the Shaq and Dwight years, the Magic got 9 playoff appearances and two Eastern Conference titles. Howard leads the franchise in win shares, and Shaq is top-5 despite spending just three years with the Magic.
Markelle Fultz is predicting the Magic get home court in round 1 of the NBA Playoffs
The Magic have not been past the first round of the postseason since 2010 and haven’t qualified for postseason action in the last two years, but sixth-year guard Markelle Fultz thinks the Magic will make it this year.
Not only that, but he predicts the Magic will be in the top half of the bracket, giving the Magic home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Fultz Tweeted this out late on Thursday night, which we’re assuming is his prediction for his team:
It’s a pretty bold prediction. Last season, 4-through-8 looked like:
The Cavs and Hornets were also involved in the play-in tournament. So the Magic would ostensibly need to perform better than most of those teams to get to No. 4. Possible, but definitely a stretch goal for the young team in Florida.
Fultz, who has been through an emotional rollercoaster in his NBA career, is clearly excited about the addition of Banchero and what the team is capable of this year. After trading Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic in 2021, the team’s identity is ready to be re-shaped.