The Orlando Magic begin preseason tonight on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies. It is the beginning of what could be an exciting season.
Tip time from the FedEx Forum is shown on the NBA app and the Orlando Magic website as being 1am here in the U.K. (8pm Eastern for our friends in Florida). Sadly, not a friendly start time for us in the U.K. and Europe. To watch the game live or on demand you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription.
Your Orlando Magic
Projected Starting Unit
Gary Harris is out following arthroscopic surgery to his torn meniscus of the left knee.
Jonathan Isaac remains rehabbing his 2 year injury absence. There are still reports suggesting he could be available for the season start.
Markelle Fultz is out with a toe fracture.
Last Season’s Record
Record: 22-60, Finished 15th in NBA Eastern Conference.
PTS/G – 104.2 (29th of 30) Opp PTS/G – 112.2 (20th of 30)
Pace – 10th of 30 Off Rtg – 30th of 30 Def Rtg – 17th of 30
Our Opponents – The Memphis Grizzlies
Projected Starting Unit
Ja Morant (PG), Desmond Bane (SG), Dillon Brooks (SF), Brandon Clarke (PF), Steven Adams (C)
John Konchar, Ziaire Williams, Xavier Tilman, Tyus Jones, Vince Williams Jr, Kennedy Chandler, Jake LaRavia, David Roddy, Kenneth Lofton Jr, Jacob Gilyard, Justin Bean, Killian Tillie, Santi Aldama
Jaren Jackson Jr is absent following foot surgery and expected to be absent until at least November.
Danny Green is out with a torn ACL, sustained before his move from Philadelphia to Memphis.
Record – 56-26. Finished 2nd in the Western Conference. Lost in NBA Western Conference Semifinals (2-4) versus Golden State Warriors.
PTS/G – 115.6 (2nd of 30) Opp PTS/G – 109.9 (12th of 30)
Pace – 3rd of 30 Off Rtg – 5th of 30 Def Rtg – 4th of 30
Led by their star young back-court duo of Ja Morant and Desmond Bane the Grizzlies were perhaps the surprise team in the West last season. Coach Taylor Jenkins saw wins built on fast paced attacking basketball. They did not shoot the three heavily but attacked the paint, ranking number one in field goals and two-pointers attempted. They were also top rated for total and offensive rebounds, steals and blocks made. And don’t expect them to turn the ball over a lot either!
Memphis opened their new season on Sunday night with a 107-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. It was a very unfamiliar look the team had with Morant, Bane, Adams and Brooks amongst others not playing. Kenneth Lofton Jr led the Grizzlies to victory with 17 points.
Head-To-Head – The Memphis Grizzlies
In 51 regular season games played the score favours Memphis, at 25-26.
Last season saw the Grizzlies sweep Orlando 2-0, with comfortable victories in each game of at least 20 points. Season 2020-2021 was split 1-1, each team winning on home court. Orlando saw success by sweeping the series 2-0 during the 2019-20 season.
The Magic have won 6 of last the 10 regular season games played. A Magic win on April 3rd 2016 broke a 9 game winning streak for Memphis.
These two teams have never met in the playoffs.
Final Thoughts As The Orlando Magic Begin Preseason
Ja Morant and Des Bane are a dynamic pairing. Ja Morant’s play is both spectacular and intelligent. Bane shoots the ball with great threat. For the Magic backcourt this will be a challenge.
However; for Orlando fans the focus will heavily be on our first view of number 1 draft pick Paolo Banchero in a Magic uniform since Summer League. Paolo is seen as the cornerstone of the Orlando rebuild, possessing an ability to score, an eye for a pass and the size to be a monster on defence. There will also be eyes on Franz Wagner as he enters his second season. Franz has spent the summer playing competitive basketball for Germany in Eurobasket. His performances have been raising his profile and has finally seen him getting the plaudits that his rookie season play deserved. A battle with Dillon Brooks awaits.
At centre a clash between Steven Adams and Wendell Carter Jr is certain to be competitive.
It should be interesting to see Bol Bol as he gets his first opportunity to play in a Magic uniform. His performances in training camp have been drawing much praise. A front court partnership with Mo Bamba will be exciting to watch.
This Memphis team lives up to the burly “grit ’n’ grime” identity known for the Grizzlies of the past.
A Splash Of Realism As The Orlando Magic Begin Preseason
It is the opening game of pre-season and a fair assumption that neither team will be playing all out. There will be rust, there will be limited minutes and there will be a lot of different rotations from both teams. Magic Coach Jamahl Mosley has publicly stated that every player except Harris, Isaac and Fultz will play tonight.
These exhibition games are not about results, but yes winning is a nice habit to form. They are not necessarily about the performance. It is about improving conditioning and readiness of the entire squad in a more competitive environment. This is also an opportunity to work on different defensive and offensive sets. There can also be agreements between teams on playing certain tactics that each would like work against (such as facing a zonal defence).
This affects all areas of the game. Turnovers can be increased, more points conceded. Should that occur it is no cause for panic or overreaction.
Enjoy the game as the Orlando Magic begin preseason. These are exciting times for the team.
Let’s Go Magic!