The Orlando Magic managed to win 23 games while the majority of their roster missed time due to injury. Rookie Victor Oladipo had a decent season averaging 13.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 4.1 apg. The Magic were led by veteran guard Arron Afflalo who put up All-Star worthy numbers.
The Magic had a few veterans on the roster but they were still the fourth youngest team in the league last year and they looked that way. Tobias Harris was expected to have a breakout season but he was limited to only 61 games and he started just 36. His numbers dipped slightly because he wasn’t healthy. Maurice Harkless was another young guy who regressed slightly in his 2nd season. Nikola Vucevic had another solid season for the Magic. 14 ppg and 11 rpg in only 57 games. He’s not the defensive stopper on the inside but he gets the job done on the offensive end.
The Magic landed the 4th and 12th pick in the draft. I expected them to get a big man to put next to Vucevic but they went with Aaron Gordon from Arizona. He’s a great athlete who will excel on the defensive side of the ball before he becomes a polished offensive player. They traded picks with the Sixers and got Elfrid Payton.
These were two very good picks. Payton replaces Jameer Nelson and him and Oladipo should be a great defensive backcourt. They won’t stretch the floor on offense but their athleticism should lead to easy baskets in transition. Gordon is very raw on the offensive end and his focus should be on defense. He needs to work on a mid-range shot and his free throws.
Veteran leadership will be very important for this team. They lost Nelson, Afflalo, and Davis. In the off-season they added Ben Gordon, Luke Ridnour, Channing Frye and Willie Green. They are not big name players but they all have experience. Frye is the only player who has not played a decade in the league. They will be need because no one else on the roster has at least 5 years’ experience.
There is a log jam at the forward position with Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless, and Andrew Nicholson. I think Harris is the best of the bunch and they need to move the other two guys for some draft picks or more veteran help. Oladipo, Payton, Vucevic, Gordon and Harris is a nice core going forward.
The two guards can learn from veteran Luke Ridnour on how to run a team and pick your spots. Ben Gordon was terrible last year so if he provides anything it will be appreciated. Channing Frye can stretch the floor and provide mismatch opportunities if he plays next to Vucevic.
This team should be more exciting this season but they will continue to struggle because they still very young. I expect them to trade one of those forwards to bring in more veterans. They only won 23 games a season ago and I expect them to be worst this time around. They will be around the 17-20 win mark.