When J.J. Redick jokingly said the basketball gods were against the Magic after three tip-in attempts failed to send the Magic to overtime against the Pistons, you could take it as the light-hearted frustration of a team on a losing streak.
Of course, then Glen Davis went down with a fractured left foot and his career season was cut off prematurely. Then you step back and consider that Davis' separated shoulder derailed a surprising start to Orlando's season.
And then you step even further back and you think, man, the Magic HAVE had a lot of bad luck. When you put all the pieces together, as Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie does, the Magic have had some awful luck with some great decision-making:
It truly isn’t fair. Magic fans were held hostage by both Brian Hill’s iffy play-calling and Shaquille O’Neal’s dreams of C-level Hollywood stardom in the mid-1990s. The team smartly cleared cap space to sign both Grant Hill (a top-five and sometimes top-three player during 1999-00) and Tracy McGrady in 2000, only to watch as Hill’s ankle fell apart (due to his persistence on acting the good guy and playing through injury). A terrible GM in John Weisbrod then traded McGrady for pennies on the dollar, even though he did rightly select Dwight Howard and deal for Jameer Nelson in the 2004 draft. Howard led the team past LeBron James and into the 2009 NBA Finals, but a series of good moves by the team’s GM in Otis Smith backfired, he compounded those with the crummy moves that dotted his first few years as GM, and young personnel boss Rob Hennigan was left to clean the Dwight Howard-led mess up with absolutely no leverage on his side.
Just reading that and realizing all the things Orlando has gone through in 24 years is pretty astounding. A lot has derailed this franchise.
How many sheeps do we have to slaughter to appease the basketball gods?