NBA season preview: Orlando Magic

NBA season preview: Orlando Magic


NBA season preview: Orlando Magic

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STAYING: Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Mario Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic and CJ Watson.

ADDED: Cliff Alexander (Portland), DJ Augustin (Denver), Bismack Biyombo (Toronto), Branden Dawson (LA Clippers), Jeff Green (LA Clippers), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City), Nick Johnson (Austin Spurs), Jodie Meeks (Detroit), Kevin Murphy (Hitachi SunRockets), Arinze Onuaku (Meralco Bolts), Damjan Rudez (Minnesota), CJ Wilcox (LA Clippers) and Stephen Zimmerman (Nevada-Las Vegas).

GONE: Dewayne Dedmon (San Antonio), Ersan Ilyasova (Oklahoma City), Brandon Jennings (New York), Devyn Marble (Aris Thessaloniki), Shabazz Napier (Portland), Andrew Nicholson (Washington), Victor Oladipo (Oklahoma City) and Jason Smith (Washington).

STRENGTHS: Big men … While none of them are all-around players, the combination of Nikola Vucevic, Bismack Biyombo and Serge Ibaka gives Orlando low-post scoring, outside shooting, intimidation and rebounding … Pretty athletic frontcourt if you add the promising Aaron Gordon and Jeff Green to the mix … Evan Fournier comes off a solid season … If he keeps making outside shots at the same rate, he’s a nice asset for Orlando.

WEAKNESSES: Point guard play … Elfrid Payton will be given a chance to shine, but so far he has not really looked like starting material in the NBA … Overall, the backcourt is pretty unimpressive … Probably none of their guards would start for a good team … Minimal star power … Jeff Green shows flashes of talent that get you excited, but he’s just not a very consistent or efficient player … His presence could take away from Gordon’s playing time and development … Not clear what the plan for the season is … They added high-priced veterans, but are in no position to make a run in the playoffs … So what happens with the young guys? … Massive roster changes are probably not conducive to great chemistry … Frank Vogel is Orlando’s fourth head coach in two years … It’s all just pretty confusing with this franchise.

PREDICTION: 5th in the Southeast Division,  13th in the Eastern Conference.



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