Off Season Overview:
Orlando was one of the most aggressive teams in the market over the summer. The Magic spent above and beyond what was necessary in order to secure the services of Rashard Lewis
Having a perimeter scorer the caliber of Lewis will help open up the court for holdovers Dwight Howard
and Jameer Nelson
. The two received contracts that will keep them in Orlando for the next five years. Both Howard and Nelson put in some real work over the summer to get ready for what they hope to be an excellent season.
All three players seem to value the investment the Magic organization has made in them, which speaks loudly to the quality of their character. How things play out on the court remains to be seen, but the team now has three main scoring options to work with in addition to some solid role players.
Last years draft pick JJ Redick worked hard to rehab from his injuries and looked strong coming into camp before getting nicked up again. Redick may not have the body type to ever be healthy full-time, but as a complementary scorer he could pay dividends working off the attention that the main three players will receive. Depth Chart:
[c]courtesy of Synergy Sports Tech: Figure represents NBA offensive percentile rank[/c]Strengths:
The Magic have nice scoring balance in their rotation. Turkoglu, Bogans, Ariza, Arroyo, and Redick are all capable scorers and each has the ability to shoot from the perimeter which will allow Dwight Howard
to operate in space more frequently. The perimeter shooting of the Magic also creates driving lanes and the team has some players who can put the ball on the floor.
Orlandos best three players play at complementary positions that should help them to function well as a group. Lewis is playing out of position at the power forward position, but plays like a wing and allows Howard to have domain over the paint. Jameer Nelson
is coming into his own as a point guard in Stan Van Gundys system and played spectacular basketball throughout the preseason. Weaknesses:
Orlandos defense and interior depth is suspect and the loss of Tony Battie
will be felt. Lewis has length, but isnt known as an extremely physical player so it remains to be seen how hell function against quality four-men defensively. Pat Garrity
duplicates Lewis in terms of his outside-oriented offensive game, but to be relied upon as the primary backup power forward may be a lot to ask.
Defensively, much of the pressure rests on Howards shoulders. He is the only starter with plus defensive ability and there isnt much else in the main rotation left in support. Trevor Ariza
and Adonal Foyle
will give a good account of themselves. Keith Bogans
and Jameer Nelson
can be gritty at times defensively, but the team as a whole will be more reliant on trapping schemes and playing the passing lanes to turn opponents over.
Overall, itll take some work for this team to become better individual defenders and they could really use another big man with size and tenacity to man the frontcourt opposite Howard. Letting the popular Carlos Arroyo
go and pursuing a defensive guard with more court sense than Keyon Dooling
would be a big help as well. Outlook:
The Magic are definitely better than last season, Lewis ensured that when he brought his high-powered offensive game to Orlando.
The Magic have a core in place that are of a similar age, so they should be able to grow together as a group. Solid perimeter shooting and an incredible physical specimen to work the interior on both ends of the court should make the Magic a long-term contender. As long as GM Otis Smith
continues to find the proper pieces to augment the current base, the future in Orlando should be bright.
For this season, the team has probably moved itself up into contention for the 6th-8th seed in the playoffs. Their lack of experience as a unit and the on-going development of some of their key players probably puts them behind some of the other teams in the east such as Washington, Cleveland, and Miami.
The Magic are facing a tougher Eastern Conference then last year, but should compete for the playoffs. Indiana, Milwaukee, and Miami should be fighting with Orlando all season for playoff positioning and each looks like first-round fodder for the top teams in the East.