No one expects the Orlando Magic to do much of anything this season.
And for many reasons, it's easy to see why. Orlando hasn't made it past the first round of the playoffs since 2010, as the team is now on its seventh head coach since then.
But for other reasons, it could also be the most hopeful the team has felt in over a decade, and it starts with third-year guard Cole Anthony.
Anthony understands the substantial growth that needs to happen for the Magic to even be considered a team that's a Eastern Conference playoff contender, let alone one that could contend for titles.
Anthony, second-year coach Jamahl Mosley, and the rest of the team seem to be on the same page when it comes to this, as Anthony's forward-thinking mindset is certainly one that could get Magic fans fired up.
"We just had a little chat in the locker room before we came out here and he talked about leveling up like what that means," Anthony said. "When you level up, your room for error gets smaller, you improve, stuff becomes harder but the rewards, benefits, all that that you reap become greater. So as we level up, become better, a better team, it ain't gonna be easy but it's something that's necessary on our path to greatness."
The Magic have seemed to be one of the worst teams in the league year after year, evident by the eight top-10 draft picks Orlando has had in the past 10 seasons.
But headed into his third season, Anthony is already 27th in career points amongst all Magic draft picks in franchise history. This isn't necessarily a stat to write home about, but it proves that Anthony has been a consistently productive players despite failing to play more than 65 games in each of his first two seasons.
Given the fact that he led the Magic last season in scoring (16.3), assists per game (5.7), and minutes per game (31.7), it's clear Anthony is growing into a star. He also failed to reach the double-digit scoring mark in just 10 games, while surpassing the 30-point mark on three separate occasions.
This is only the start for Anthony, who will be surrounded by young talents like Wendell Carter Jr., Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero, Jalen Suggs, and more.
Based on talent alone, the Magic seemed to be leaps and bounds ahead of where it was last season as a team that finished with the league's second-worst record.
Orlando will see how it all comes together on October 19th against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena.
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7
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