Next up in our “Seasons in Review” series, we take a look at Magic Gaming, who fell just short of a surprising playoff berth after rejuvenating themselves in the regular season.
Check out the latest installment of this series, where I took a look at Celtics Crossover Gaming, who flashed their talent in tournament play but couldn’t translate it to the regular season.
Current roster: UCManny, KingCamRoyalty
Protections: UCManny, KingCamRoyalty
Offseason transactions: None
Draft picks: 1st round (9th overall), 2nd (29th), 3rd (43rd), 4th (61st)
The Good: The Magic shocked a lot of people by nearly qualifying for the playoffs after opening their season a cumulative 0-5. They put sixth-round pick KingCamRoyalty into the lineup, and he helped the Magic go 8-4 in regular-season play the rest of the way. Under Chris Touissaint and then DevGoss, the Magic diversified their offense substantially and incorporated more and more sophisticated concepts into their gameplan; they finished in select company, with over 20 assists per game, as well as ranking third in three-point percentage. Also, they gave the world Nacho, the only man to unite the Twitch chat.
The Bad: The Magic didn’t sneak into the playoffs because they inexplicably benched KontruL in their penultimate game of the season, in which a win would have ensured a playoff spot. That’s actually more reflective of their season on the whole. The Magic posted a trepidation-worthy 1-5 record against playoff teams and a weak 1-5 record in tournaments. They missed their best chances to secure a playoff spot late, and looked absolutely overwhelmed against some of the league’s best teams. The offense never found a player to really take over, beyond short stretches from KontruL, and also finished with the second-most turnovers per game.
The Good: The Magic made one of the savviest personnel moves of the offseason by hiring former Mavs Gaming coach Jonah Edwards. He’ll bring a perfect balance of 2K knowledge and experience to the Magic. The team also returns versatile player UCManny as well as talisman KingCamRoyalty. The team has also worked well to develop its brand, enormously expanding its Twitch presence with constant content creators and striking innovative partnerships. The Magic had one of the toughest choices to make about player protections, but they’re very happy with the quality and attitude of the guys they protected.
The Bad: They might not be so happy about the amount of talent that they’ve protected. Not to say that UCManny and KingCamRoyalty aren’t talented—they are—but compared to just about any other team, the Magic’s immediate ceiling, without considering the draft, is low. The two are versatile, but the Magic is without a leading scorer, primary ballhandler, or even a primary wing, depending on where they play UCManny. That leaves a lot up to the draft, but luckily for the Magic, the full complement of picks is present, including a lottery selection.
The Big Question
Who’s going to score?
The Magic retained players who ranked 30th and 50th in points per game last season, with UCManny pacing the duo with 15 points per game. Leading scorer Marley and primary ballhandler KontruL are both gone.
Should the league return to more of a paint-mashy style, that’ll benefit KingCamRoyalty but will likely debilitate UCManny. If it sticks closer to the post-patch meta, the inverse will occur.
The team really has to find a scorer with one of their top two picks. They can’t rely on a late-round pick to rejuvenate their season in the middle, as KingCam did; they’ll be going up against more experienced teams this time around.
Do they dare not picking a point guard in the first round?