A little more than one month away from the start of the 2012-2013 NBA season and anticipation for action continues to build. Looking towards the year we are completing a team by team review to preview the performance of teams and top players leading into the start of the year. The Orlando Magic is the first team to receive attention.
The Orlando Magic were a mainstay in the Eastern Conference playoff scene until an abysmal 2012-2013 season saw the team end with a 20-62 record; the worst in the league. This was the organization's first time not making the playoffs since the 2006 post season. The Magic have made moves towards rebuilding and expect to have a tough season coming up but they have made some moves that can help develop their future.
Former player turned coach, Jacque Vaughn, will lead a team that is devoid of a big name superstar. Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu are the only two members still with the club from their days of playoff runs. Arron Afflalo is a solid shooting guard on that roster who has the ability to grow into a strong weapon for the team. Glen Davis and Jason Maxiell are the veterans looking to play for forward position but 23 year old Andrew Nicholson played very well last season and could see more minutes on the floor. Swiss center Nikola Vucevic averaged a double-double last season and should see more work as a focus of the Magic's offense this season.
The additions of Victor Oladipo and Romero Osby through this summer's draft adds some more young talent to the Florida team.
Coming into the 2013-2014 season the expectations should lean towards rebuilding for the Orlando Magic. A big year of free agency approaches at the end of next year, so the Magic could position themselves to make some moves that will make them a stronger unit in the coming years. Turkoglu is in the last year of his current deal so do not be surprised if he is moved at some point to create some space within the salary cap.
Making the post season may be a stretch for the Orlando Magic this upcoming year, but they should expect to have a better season than their 20 win output this past year. They have a core of young players to develop around but still need leadership in key areas on the roster. Orlando is headed in the right direction but they will miss the post season for the second time in a row for the first time in seven years.
Projected Starting Roster with 2012-2013 Stats
Jameer Nelson – 14.7 PPG, 7.4 APG
Arron Afflalo – 16.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG
Hedo Turkoglu – 2.9 PPG, 2.4 RPG – played in only 11 games for Magic
Glen Davis – 15.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG
Nikola Vucevic – 13.1 PPG, 11.9 RPG
14th in Eastern Conference