With training camp starting in Cleveland on October 1, Right Down Euclid will be ranking teams from the bottom to the top of the Eastern and Western Conferences. Everyday I will rotate between conferences, starting with the East teams and counting up from No. 16 all the way to the best team in each respective conference.
I will give a quick synopsis of each team’s roster, some of their statistics from last year and why I think they will finish in the position that I predicted. Agree or disagree, stay tuned to RDE to see where your team lands in the 2012 Offseason Team Rankings.
No. 14 — Orlando Magic (5th in Southeast)
2011-12 season: 37-29 (.561), third place in Southeast Division (8-7)
Offensive Efficiency: 102.4 (14th)
Defensive Efficiency: 101.7 (13th)
G – Arron Afflalo
F – Gustavo Ayon
F-C – Glen Davis
G – Christian Eyenga
F – Moe Harkless
F-C – Justin Harper
F – Al Harrington
F – Josh McRoberts
G – Jameer Nelson
F – Andrew Nicholson
G – J.J. Redick
G – Ishmael Smith
G – Quentin Richardson
F – Hidayet Turkoglu
F-C – Mikola Vucevic
The offseason that the Orlando Magic had isn’t even worthy of receiving a letter grade. Handing out a grade of “F” at this point would be too nice of me. Although the Magic got rid of two of their biggest headaches from last season (All-Star center Dwight Howard and head coach Stan Van Gundy), they also set their team way back by basically leaving a gigantic hole in their roster. The Magic got squat in the Howard megatrade, but I applaud their efforts in pushing the Philadelphia 76ers to include forward Moe Harkless in the trade. The Magic added two young forwards in Andrew Nicholson and Harkless, who have a lot of unseen potential, but that was nowhere near enough compensation for getting close to nothing in regards to what they had to give up.
Look at how bad the Magic were at the end of last season when Howard was out with back problems: they lost 10 of their final 15 regular season games and only managed one victory in their opening series with the Indiana Pacers, which was an overall dismal performance on both ends. Glen Davis, who battled injury problems near the end of the season, is not remotely close to being capable of being an average replacement for Howard and Mikola Vucevic is the same way. The Magic, in my opinion, is losing the best defender in the Association and one of the most explosive big men to grace the NBA in the past decade. Rebuilding will be a long and difficult process, but having a new head coach in Jacque Vaughn, who has been taught by some of the best coaches in the NBA (see Roy Willaims, Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich), will make things just a tad less difficult.
Still, I think the Magic will need to use the draft picks that they are stockpiling to rebuild their frontcourt and pick up better options in their backcourt. They don’t have any player on the roster right now fit to be a starting three, and with Jason Richardson being shipped off to Philadelphia, J.J. Redick is slated as the starting two guard. I love Redick and I never thought he would achieve the NBA success that he has so far in his career, but he is a much better option off the bench. Jameer Nelson is reaching the point in his career where his offensive production will be declining this season, so the Magic have a lot of work to do either via trade or through future drafts. With all the off-the-court distractions these past few months, I think the Magic don’t stand a chance when they suit up come November. They have too many inexperienced/aging players on their roster to have success this season.