The Orlando Magic beat the Bobcats out by one game to finish with the worst record in the league last season (20-62). Magic GM Rob Hennigan capitalized on that by picking Victor Oladipo, who some consider to be the best player in the 2013 NBA Draft. Orlando has a lot of young talent on this team and I think it will show flashes of greatness this season. Let’s take a look at how they stack up against the rest of the league:
Guards (B): Victor Oladipo, Arron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson, E’Twaun Moore, Doron Lamb
I’m not convinced Jacque Vaughn is going to get away with bringing Victor Oladipo off the bench. I know he’s just a rookie, but he already has a clear edge over an average Jameer Nelson. Nelson has been starting for Orlando for quite some time. However, I think it’s time to move on and roll with Oladipo as the starting point guard, although he’s more of a shooting guard. That point brings Arron Afflalo into the mix, another player who I feel cannot be benched. Regardless of the situation, Orlando evidently has some solid options at the guard spots.
Forwards (B-): Moe Harkless, Tobias Harris, Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis, Andrew Nicholson
Moe Harkless and Tobias Harris are both young, fearless competitors. I really like this future duo at the forward spots. They quietly acquired both these players via trade. On their old teams, they were somewhat under the radar, but Orlando has given them the opportunity to expose their talent and they’ve done a good job, thus far, in their young careers. Glen Davis was doing a nice job last year until he broke his foot, which now, apparently, could leave the rest of his career in jeopardy.
Centers (B-): Nikola Vucevic, Jason Maxiell, Kyle O’Quinn
Nikola Vucevic took the league by surprise last year as he was one of few players to average a double-double. Per 40 minutes, Vucevic averaged 15.7 points and 14.3 rebounds. He has the potential to, someday, be an All-Star center as he continues to develop his mediocre post game. The addition of Maxiell should give Orlando the identity of an energetic team. That’s exactly what he does; provides energy off the bench.
Defense (B): The only thing holding back Orlando from being a great defensive team is it’s lack of experience. Oladipo and Afflalo are both gritty defenders and opposing guards won’t have an easy time scoring against them. Tobias Harris is a great athlete who specializes in shot blocking and Harkless is a similar, hard-working defender. Vucevic has room to grow as a post defender.
Shooting (C): Most teams have one player who can flat out shoot; Orlando doesn’t. Hedo Turkoglu may have fit that term a few years ago but certainly not anymore. Nelson has a pretty good jumpshot but his size gives him trouble getting off shots at times. Afflalo has developed a nice outside stroke but still isn’t necessarily labeled as a shooter. Harris does hit outside jumpers but isn’t yet consistent with his shot and the same goes for Harkless.
Experience (C): This is a case of Nelson, Afflalo, Turkoglu, Davis, and Maxiell being the veteran leaders. However, the team is going to revolve around it’s youth and potential for the future.
Standing – 12th East: If I were Jacque Vaughn, I would be happy about progressing from last place in the league to 12th place in the conference in just one season. I definitely can’t see Orlando being any better than this as it has other objectives beside just winning games.
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