Welcome to day two of my NBA Preview for the 2013-2014 NBA season, counting down from the worst to best teams in the NBA, and giving you a detailed look at each team. Yesterday we had the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns, so if you missed out on those two, click here and here. They lost one of the premiere players in the NBA last year, and actually got the better of the deal. They have managed to add pieces that could become legitimate players, through essentially theft, that’s how lopsided the deals have been. That’s right, I’m talking about the Orlando Magic!
Key Additions: Ronnie Price (Free Agency) Jason Maxiell (Free Agency) Victor Oladipo (Draft)
Key Departures: Al Harrington (Free Agent) Beno Udrih (Knicks)
Projected Starters: PG Jameer Nelson, SG Aaron Afflalo, SF Tobias Harris, PF Glen Davis, C Nikola Vucevic
Surprisingly enough, I think the Magic actually overachieved last year going 20-62, and a lot of that was thanks to the thefts of Nikola Vucevic from the 76ers and Tobias Harris from the Milwaukee Bucks. Vucevic came over as a part of the Dwight Howard/Andrew Bynum trade, and really the Magic came out as the big winners of that trade, as the three big pieces of that trade, Andre Iguodala, Howard and Bynum are all playing for different teams this year. Vucevic proved he could be a legitimate starting center last year, averaging a double-double at 13-11. Harris, the other big steal, came over as a part of the JJ Redick trade, and with Redick not resigning with the Bucks and now with the Clippers, it’s another big win for the Magic. Harris didn’t get much time in Milwaukee, but really broke out in his shortened season with the Magic, averaging a line of 17/8/2/1 on 45% shooting. Of course you have to look at the addition of number two overall pick Victor Oladipo who will provide a lot of great perimeter defense and energy, but will most likely be the sixth man behind Aaron Afflalo.
Looking at the starting lineup, and there’s definitly potential with Harris and Vucevic as noted in the above paragraph, but not much else with the other three. Afflalo is a very talented defender, and pretty good shooter, but he’s not someone thst’s ever going to be “The Guy” and isn’t much more than a serviceable rotation guy in reality. The other two, Glen Davis and Jameer Nelson, are not of starting quality, and in reality are just holdovers for this season. Jameer Nelson’s level of play has declined steadily every season since the Magic went to the finals all those years ago, and even though the Magic resigned him, you can tell they aren’t expecting much from him, as they would like to see Oladipo play some point guard this year. Glen Davis is still living off the big contact that he got from the Magic a few years ago, and I wouldn’t expect him to be much of a difference maker this year. Davis is still a competent shotter from midrange, but that’s about all he brings.
This is another team that’s going to look to have the best position in the upcoming, star studded 2014 NBA Draft, and a real star like Randle, Parker or of course Wiggins could completely change the fortunes of this franchise. They have three excellent pieces to start with in Oladipo, Vucevic and Harris, and with some cap space could potentially be players next year in free agency. Until then, don’t expect too much. They don’t have much at all for a bench, and have major holes in their starting lineup. Coach Jaques Vaughn will do his damnedest to get the most out of this team, but I can’t imagine much good coming out of this season other than good experience for the three players mentioned above.
Final Prediction: 25-57, 14th Eastern Conference