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98 - Back to the NBA Lottery, Part 6: 2017-18 Orlando Magic Preview

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More than a half-decade has come and gone since the Orlando Magic last made the playoffs. And, well, they're not about to reverse course anytime soon.

Led by a new front office regime following the exit of general manager Rob Hennigan, the Magic find themselves in one of the NBA's most bizarre situations. They haven't actually hit reset on anything; they've been in a constant rebuilding state since the Dwight Howard trade. They have, however, tethered themselves to a process without any discernible direction.

Seriously: Who projects as the cornerstone on this team? At one time it looked like Nikola Vucevic, but it'll be a small miracle if he finishes the season in Orlando. Evan Fournier has the contract of a primal building block, but he cannot be the best player on a quality postseason squad.

Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton are the best guesses here, and yet, neither one has proved beyond a shadow of the doubt they're equipped to ferry such a burden. (Gordon, to his credit, hasn't been given a fair shake while getting shuttled between the 3 and 4.) This is problematic in a vacuum, but the situation grows more tenuous with both Gordon and Payton due raises next summer.

Beyond all this, the Magic must figure out what they're going to do with rookie Jonathan Isaac, how they plan to develop Mario Hezonja and whether Bismack Biyombo should even be a part of the rotation.

Tony East (@TEastNBA) of NBA Math and Locked On Pacers (@lockedonpacers) dives into all this, and so much more, on the latest, greatest, most specialest episode of Hardwood Knocks.

As always, be sure to subscribe to and rate Hardwood Knocks on iTunes. You can also find us on Stitcher and BlogTalkRadio. And as 50 Cent's biopic suggests: Follow Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey), Dan Favale (@danfavale), the show (@HardwoodKnocks) and NBA Math (@NBA_Math) on Twitter or die trying.

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