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Chicago Bulls vs. Orlando Magic Preview: The trade deadline revenge game

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Reunion with an old pal

Orlando Magic New Player Portraits Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Chicago Bulls (22-31) vs. Orlando Magic (17-37)

Old friend alert!

When the Chicago Bulls drafted him in 2018, experts billed Wendell Carter Jr. as the safe pick. He wasn’t amazing at anything, but he had a well rounded skillset that would give him staying power in the modern NBA. And, if those flashes of 3-point range he showed at Duke translated into the NBA, who knows....maybe he could be a starter on a championship caliber squad?

With just three years of NBA experience under his belt, Carter’s book is still mostly unwritten. The Bulls chapter of that book has concluded though, at least for now.

Injuries were the bane of Carter’s career in Chicago. This season, he was mostly a disaster especially offensively probably taking steps back in his development. In an effort to change direction, the Bulls brass chose to ship him to the Orlando Magic for much more well established big men.

....And so far the change of scenery has been good for Carter Jr. His per 36 minutes scoring and shooting percentages are up. He’s getting more playing time while bumping up his player efficiency rating by over four points. The Magic’s roster is pretty rough all around, so Carter Jr. should get plenty of opportunities.

Basically, the Orlando Magic are a horrible basketball team. They own the fourth-worst record in the league and have won just two games since shipping Nikola Vucevic to the Bulls at the deadline.

The Magic are eyeing a top-three pick while the Bulls are theoretically competing for a playoff spot (they are five games out of the eighth seed right now with about a month of basketball to play).

On paper, it seems obvious who should win. But remember, the Bulls lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves very recently so I guess you never know.

Injury Report:

Garrett Temple has been upgraded to probable.

For the Magic, less fondly-remembered Otto Porter has missed the last few games with a foot injury. Mo Bamba and Chuma Okeke are questionable.

Game Time: NBC Sports Chicago; 7:00 CDT