IX: Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic is another NBA team that does not feel any closer to an NBA Playoff run than before. While the team has some intriguing players, they haven’t gotten much traction yet in terms of wholesale improvements. The difference is that for several years, their fans have been told that this is their year. I remain skeptical. After all, it’s tough to shrug off the fact that over the past ten seasons, the Magic have consistently been the worst team in the NBA, turning in a record of 289 wins and 512 losses over that period of time.
As is the case for many teams on this list, the Magic have their hopes deeply invested in the NBA Draft. But that requires the team to draft well, and then have the right coaching and patience to optimize that player for the future. Can the Magic pull that off?
The Magic may have a crisis in the front court, having parted ways with both Bol Bol and Mo Bamba. While there is hope for the Magic to improve this season, I don’t see their roster having nearly enough firepower to compete in the postseason for several years to come.
VIII: Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz were once a perennial NBA Playoffs team that ultimately decided to tear it all down and start over. Even with an ever-growing number of picks and young talent, has the team decided to turn the corner yet? The Jazz continued to throttle back throughout the 2022-23 NBA season. How do I know this? They were willing to trade away both stars, center Rudy Gobert, and guard Donovan Mitchell, before the 2022-23 NBA season began. But even then, the team was not tanking quickly enough and traded away PG Mike Conley Jr. and promising young SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline.
As a result of the Jazz front office shedding talented players to sink the team, the Jazz roster for the 2023-24 NBA season is made up of eight players who have no more than one year of NBA experience. In farming language, they have planted a lot of seeds into the NBA soil, and it will take years to determine which blossom into a vibrant player worth keeping.
The Jazz are not done just yet with tanking. All but Walker Kessler acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves a year ago are gone. So, the Jazz are just as likely to do worse in the 2023-24 NBA season than a year ago. When will the Jazz hit bedrock? I look for that to be two years into the future. But which young players will be worth keeping is still a huge question mark laying in their future.