With the start of the regular season less than two months away, the Orlando Magic will look to build upon the second worst season in team history in which they finished just 20-62. While the roster did not undergo a complete facelift this offseason, there are several changes as is the case with every other team. To begin a five-part series, here is a look at how the Orlando Magic stack up at the point guard position:
The starter once again at point guard for the Orlando Magic will be their longest tenured player in Jameer Nelson. Nelson is Orlando's all-time leader in assists and served as leader and a mentor to last year's club. Nelson is also one of just seven Magic players ever to be named an All-Star as the franchise enters its 25th season.
Nelson finished last season averaging 14.7 points and a career-high 7.4 assists-per-game which was good for ninth in the NBA. Nelson however, did shoot a career-low 39.2 percent from the field.
As has been the case in years past for Nelson, injuries shortened what was on the verge of being a very productive season. Nelson missed 26 games last season and has never played in all 82 games throughout his nine-year career. At 31 years old, Nelson's reign as the point guard for Orlando looks to be near its end and the possibility that Nelson is sent to a contender at the trade deadline looks to be a strong one.
Who backs up Nelson is a real mystery. Last season, Nelson's replacement was E'Twaun Moore, who performed very well early on in the year before the team acquired veteran Beno Udrih. Moore however, is more of a hybrid guard and it remains to be seen how the Magic will use him this season.
Last season, Moore's second in the league, he averaged 7.8 points and nearly three assists in 76 games. Like Nelson, Moore shot less than 40 percent from the field and struggled down the stretch of the season.
The candidates to replace Moore as the backup to Nelson look to be Ronnie Price and Doron Lamb. Price was signed by Orlando this offseason after averaging just under three points and two assists per-game last season. Price has never averaged more than 14.4 minutes-per-game and is just a career 38 percent shooter from the field.
Lamb was acquired by the Magic in the Milwaukee trade that sent J.J. Redick and others to the Bucks for Tobias Harris. Lamb averaged just 3.5 points and half an assist in 24 games with Orlando last season and is more of a shooting guard than a true point. But after a solid summer league at the point guard position, Lamb looks to make the transition and may need to if he is to make the regular season roster.
The real wild card at the position will be rookie and second overall pick, Victor Oladipo. Oladipo spent his entire college career at the two-guard position and it's unclear as to how the Magic will use him at the next level.
Oladipo spent much of the Orlando summer league at point guard and excelled by dishing out more than five assists-per-game. Oladipo however, had a high turnover ratio and it's likely that the rookie from Indiana will see the majority of his action this upcoming season at the shooting guard position. Although when Nelson is off the floor, it's possible that Oladipo could spend some time at point guard.
The point guard position for the Magic looks to be very crowded behind the veteran Nelson. Nelson may be trade bait for a team looking for a veteran point guard near the trade deadline, but for the short term, Nelson has no clear replacement. Ronnie Price has never put up big numbers at the next level and Lamb, Oladipo and Moore are all hybrid guards. So while Nelson will once again be the starter at point guard, who backs him up likely won't be decided until late in the preseason.