27) Orlando Magic - 20-62 in 2012-2013. 15th in the East. 5th in the Southeast.
The Post-Dwight Howard Saga has been a depressing one in Orlando, yet when you look at the Howard deal, you gotta believe Orlando got the best of it. While all the players are still very young, the team has built up quite the core to work with in the upcoming years. This team really is only one star-quality player away from making some real noise in the East. Yet without that star, this team will have struggles this year.
Acquired: Jason Maxiell, Ronnie Price
Drafted: Victor Oladipo (#2)
Lost: Beno Udrich, Al Harrington
Starters: Jameer Nelson (PG), Arron Afflalo (SG), Tobias Harris (SF), Jason Maxiell (PF), Nikola Vucevic (C)
Bench: Victor Oladipo (SG/PG?), Glen Davis (PF), Mo Harkless (SF), Andrew Nicholson (PF), Kyle O'Quinn (C)
Up: Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic - Two of the pieces of the Magic acquired through trades last year have worked themselves out quite well. Vucevic was a force inside and put up very solid numbers, while Harris took command of the offense and was the pleasant surprise of the team. The two could be part of the long term plans for the Magic in building a contender.
Down: Glen Davis - Ever since his glory days in Boston, times have been very tough for Glen Davis. He has yet to blossom into anything promising in Orlando and injuries have even plagued his foot. Davis is now returning from the foot injury, and will have a lot to prove to the Magic fan base with the money his is making
X-Factor: Victor Oladipo - One could argue he is the best rookie of the class, and has been intriguing to say the least. Orlando has put him in at Point Guard during the preseason and it looks like he could play the position during the year. He will be campaigning for Rookie of the Year, and it wouldn't be shocking to see this kid get huge minutes for Orlando to see what kind of player they got in Oladipo.
Question to Ponder...What's the next step?
The Magic have done a sneaky good job at building quite a core. Yet this team is still missing pieces. This team could go many different directions, either going for broke and trying for the draft, or even trying to recruit a big free agent to try and get this team into a contender quicker. It's up to the management on how they handle the situation, but it should be one to consider going into the season.
Bold Prediction for the Magic: Victor Oladipo will win Rookie of the Year
Okay maybe this isn't the boldest prediction, but he's definitely the front-runner for the award. He will get a ton of time playing not just Shooting Guard but Point as well. This team will not be competing for much other than the lottery to start the year, so expect Oladipo to put up huge numbers that back up his case for Rookie of the Year.
Projected Record: 25-57 13th in the East, 4th in the Southeast.