Preview: Orlando Magic

Preview: Orlando Magic

Season

Preview: Orlando Magic

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STAYING: Dewayne Dedmon, Evan Fournier, Channing Frye, Aaron Gordon, Tobias Harris, Devyn Marble, Andrew Nicholson, Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton and Nikola Vucevic.

ADDED: Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), Mario Hezonja (FC Barcelona), Shabazz Napier (Miami), Jason Smith (New York) and CJ Watson (Indiana).

GONE: Ben Gordon (Free Agent), Willie Green (Free Agent), Maurice Harkless (Portland), Kyle O’Quinn (New York) and Luke Ridnour (Free Agent).

STRENGTHS: Interesting young nucleus … He’s not there yet, but Victor Oladipo has the makings of an NBA star … Point guard Elfrid Payton and forward Aaron Gordon showed promise their rookie year … Tobias Harris is a quality starter at the small forward position that still has untapped potential … Same for Nikola Vucevic at center … The Montenegrin has quietly developed into one of the top bigs in the Eastern Conference with strong rebounding numbers and nice touch around the rim … They have several bigs with the ability to stretch the floor with their shooting … Pretty good athleticism on the perimeter … Croatian Mario Hezonja will be a rookie to watch out for with his combination of long-range shooting and explosiveness … Scott Skiles should be an upgrade over previous head coaches.

WEAKNESSES: It’s not a win-now team … In Year 4 of the Rob Hennigan era, Orlando is still in the business of developing young talent … Inexperience will cost them plenty of wins … Orlando has some players with the potential to become stars, but not a single one right now and that’s a big deal … No Magic player has ever averaged 20-plus points in a season … Their top perimeter players will not scare many teams with outside shooting, although Harris has made some progress in that regard … Orlando was dead last in free-throw attempts last season … They are a little soft inside … Not much intimidation around the rim … Overall defensive effort must improve … They were in the Bottom 6 in defensive rating in 2014-15.

PREDICTION: 5th in the Southeast Division / 14th in the Eastern Conference.

SALARIES:

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