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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

SDH's 2012/2013 NBA Worst to First Previews and Predictions: 23. Orlando Magic

Overall Win/Loss Record :  37-29 third place Southeast division

Last Season’s Rank

15
Projected 2012/2013 Finish

23
Last season’s Team Statistics and League Rank
  • Points Scored: 94.2 (21st)
  • Points Allowed: 93.4 (7th)
  • Team FG%: .441 (22nd)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .449 (15th)
  • Rebounds per game: 42.5 (13th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 41.3 (13th)


Returning Individual Statistical Leaders
  • Scoring: Jameer Nelson (11.1)
  • Rebounds per game:  Glen Davis (5.4)
  • Minutes per game: Hedo Turkoglu (31.2)
  • Assists per game: Jameer Nelson (5.7)
  • Steals per game:  Hedo Turkoglu (0.9)
  • Blocked Shots per game: Glen Davis (0.3)


Projected Starters Based on Last Season’s Performance, Veteran Seniority and Projected Impact


Key Reserves Based on Last Season’s Performances, Veteran Seniority and Potential Impact.
  1. Al Harrington (PF)
  2. JJ Reddick (SG)
  3. Quentin Richardson (SF)
  4. Nikola Vucevic (C)
  5. Josh McRoberts (F/C)

2012/2013 Projection:  28-54 fourth in Southeast Division, but will be blessed with the number one pick in the 2013 NBA Draft come season’s end.

Analysis:

For those who believe that the Orlando Magic got the short end of the stick when they traded Dwight Howard, you really need a reality check.  The Magic made off pretty well receiving two solid veterans in Aaron Afflalo and Al Harrington from the Denver Nuggets who averaged a combined 30 point and 10 rebounds per game last season.  They also received some solid young prospects in Nikola Vucevic, Christian Eyenga, and Moe Harkless along with not one, nor two, but three first round picks from three different teams.  To top it all off, Orlando received a whopping 18$ million trade exemption and had the chance to eject the erroneous contract of Jason Richardson whom the Magic signed last season for five years at around 30$ million.  And that is not all as once the season ends, the Magic will have the greatest prize of them all—the number one pick in the next year’s NBA draft.

Pray-tell, how do you ask the Magic will win the NBA lottery even though the season has yet to begin?  Looking at the last two drafts, the teams whom won the number one pick were also the same team that suffered the losses of their star players the season prior.  In the case of the New Orleans Hornets, it was the loss of Chris Paul and in the case of the Cleveland Cavaliers when they were publicly humiliated when Lebron James televised his “decision” to leave them for the Miami Heat.  Using the past couple of drafts as a reference point for the future, one can only assume that the exact same thing will happen in this upcoming draft.  So no matter how good or bad the Magic perform this upcoming season, as long as they do not make the playoffs, they will be rewarded with the first pick of the NBA draft.

So not to worry Magic fans, Uncle Dave will be looking out for you.  He knows how unfair the current financial system currently is in the NBA with the disparity between the bigger, richer franchises and the smaller market ones.  He also realizes that you will be forced to endure a long rebuilding period filled with losing seasons while watch Dwight and the Lakers ride sky high together to the NBA Finals.  So why not aid you in your climb back to respectability with a consolation prize: something that will soften the harsh blow of losing one of the greatest players in a generation to a team that already is stacked with future Hall of Famers?  Although many consider fixing the lottery as “unjust” or “wrong”, it does not matter because Commissioner David Stern is omnipotent and infallible--he will take good care of you. 

Although expectations are pretty low for the Magic in the wake of Howard’s departure, the Magic still have numerous players that can fill in the void of his absence.  Glenn Davis stepped up big last season when Howard had to shut it right before the playoffs leading the team in scoring and rebounds at the end of the season.  Add the arrival of Al Harrington, the Magic have compensated greatly for Howard’s scoring in the paint along with his rebounding.  With the added big bodies of Josh McRoberts, Gustavo Ayon and Nikola Vucevic, Orlando will still have a solid presence in the paint to rack up fouls and mix it up physically down low.  They may not have a star, but they have enough bodies to soften the blow and players whom can step up if need be.

So even though Orlando will certainly struggle throughout the season, they will not be pushovers in the least.  Most of their losses will probably range in the single digits as the Magic even without their star, will remain somewhat competitive nonetheless; forget about the playoffs, however.  The Magic will not be seeing the post season for quite some time although the future ahead is quite bright as the transition into the post Dwight Howard era will be much shorter than many will anticipate.  With four first round picks coming to them, one of them which will “miraculously” by the number one pick in next season’s draft along with the cap space they will have in the next couple of years, the Magic are in a place to return to the playoff chase stronger than ever.  This upcoming season will certainly not be pretty in the least, but it will just be a hiccup in an otherwise bright future.