Culture of Hoops

2013-14 NBA Season Preview: Orlando Magic

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Most Important Player: Nikola Vucevic
One could argue that Vucevic was the team’s best player last season and is the man in the middle for the foreseeable future. In the five games that the 7’0” Serbian missed, the team went a woeful 1-4. The rebounding machine finished second in the league in rebounds per game, grabbing nearly 12 boards a night.

X-Factor: Glen Davis
The team was relatively successful with Davis in the lineup last season, going 12-22 in 34 games before his season was ended by a broken foot. Davis was the emotional and vocal leader for a young Magic squad, so if he’s able to get out there and help contribute, the Magic should see a rise in wins.

Rotations: With a stable full of big men, five guards and three small forwards, the Magic’s rotation could be ever changing this season. Coach Jacque Vaughn can trot out a multitude of line-ups. Look for Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris and Vucevic to start for the Magic once the ball is tossed for the opening tip-off at Indiana. After the starting five, questions arise for the young Magic team. How do they manage their back-up big man rotation with Davis, Andrew Nicholson, Jason Maxiell, Kyle O’Quinn and possibly second round pick Romero Osby? What do they do with first round pick Victor Oladipo? Does Hedo Turkoglu not only make the roster, but play any minutes? Who backs up Harkless at small forward? Depth? Check. Starting lineup? Check. Reserves? A huge question mark.

What Needs To Go Right: The young players need to show improvement. This is really the only expectation that Magic fans need to have this season. The future is bright in Orlando and with a crop of young talent to develop, Magic fans have a lot to be excited about, even though it will produce little in the win column. Oladipo, Harris, Harkless and Vucevic need to show that they’re ready to be either franchise players or role players on the team going forward.

It’s Really Bad If: Too much losing causes head coach Jacque Vaughn to lose the team. Vaughn showed that he can get the most out of his players, young and old, even if they were losing a lot of games. However, with what looks to be a second season of bottoming out in as many years, when will the players say that enough is enough? If this happens and the younger players stop responding, it would be safe to call this a disaster and Vaughn’s job security would be questioned.
Bold Prediction: The Magic produce an NBA All-Star. Who the player named to the team remains to be seen, but it’s safe to say that one of Tobias Harris or Nikola Vucevic is the most likely candidate.


Arron Afflalo, SG
Strengths: Defense, energy, winning mentality.
Weaknesses: Does more than necessary on offense. Needs to play within himself and the offense scheme.
Season Prediction: Starting shooting guard, will bring good production if he’s on the team all season.

Glen Davis, PF/C
Strengths: Leadership, team defense.
Weaknesses: Black hole on offense, turnovers.
Season Prediction: Davis will be the heart and soul of the team once again. He could, and should, be viewed as a trade chip right now, and it would be shocking if he finishes the season in a Magic uniform.

Maurice Harkless, SF
Strengths: Defense, athleticism, ability to drive to the basket.
Weaknesses: Shooting, aggressiveness.
Season Prediction: Harkless showed great improvement last season and will show more of the same this season.

Tobias Harris, SF/PF
Strengths: Scoring ability, versatility.
Weaknesses: Turnovers, three-point shooting.
Season Prediction: Will lead the team in scoring. He’ll continue to make Milwaukee Bucks fans cringe when his name is said, and could contend for an NBA All-Star vote or two.

DeQuan Jones, SG/SF
Strengths: Strong, driving and finishing ability.
Weaknesses: Defense, three-point shooting.
Season Prediction: All depends on if he makes a team. If he does, most likely an end of the bench option.

Doron Lamb, SG
Strengths: Three-point shooting, man defense.
Weaknesses: Playmaking, free throw shooting.
Season Prediction: Where’s he going to find consistent minutes? He could play a lot, or not at all. He’ll be out there for shooting purposes most of the time, and could be a nice bench scorer when his time comes.

Jason Maxiell, PF/C
Strengths: Athleticism, rebounding.
Weaknesses: Height (only 6’7”), all-around offensive game, defense.
Season Prediction: Insurance at the 4. Should compete for minutes with Glen Davis, Kyle O’Quinn and Andrew Nicholson

E’Twaun Moore, PG
Strengths: Scoring ability, versatility.
Weaknesses: Ball handling, consistency.
Season Prediction: He’ll most likely be the team’s backup point guard, a role that he played last season. He won’t play a whole lot of minutes, but when he’s out there he’ll be looking to shoot whenever he can.

Jameer Nelson, PG
Strengths: Scoring ability, pick-and-roll ball handler.
Weaknesses: Health, size, consistency shooting the ball.
Season Prediction: Nelson will be the team’s starting point guard this season, and could contend for leading scorer. He’ll most likely lead the team in assists and could lead them in three-pointers made per game as well.

Andrew Nicholson, PF
Strengths: Post footwork, scoring inside, mid-range jumper, basketball IQ.
Weaknesses: Defense, rebounding, needs to bulk up.
Season Prediction: Will be a serviceable forward off the bench for the Magic, should improve defensively.

Victor Oladipo, PG/SG
Strengths: Defense, work ethic, athleticism, ability to drive to the basket and draw fouls.
Weaknesses: Needs a consistent jump shot, three-point shooting, turnovers.
Season Prediction: A chance to win NBA Rookie of the Year. Will spend time at both the point guard and shooting guard positions to improve his overall game.

Kyle O’Quinn, PF/C
Strengths: Toughness, rebounding, defense, hustle, great beard.
Weaknesses: All-around offensive game, gambles too much and can get in foul trouble.
Season Prediction: Should improve offensively, showing the ability to hit mid-range jumpers last year.

Romero Osby, SF/PF
Strengths: Rebounding, finishing ability.
Weaknesses: Lacks a post game, not very consistent.
Season Prediction: Will he be signed? If he is, he’ll be a mere last man on the bench option. He’ll need to grow as a player also.

Ronnie Price, PG
Strengths: Brings a veteran presence to a young team.
Weaknesses: Lacks a complete offensive game.
Season Prediction: Back-up point guard, but in a crowded backcourt, he’s insurance at best.

Hedo Turkoglu, SF
Strengths: Ball handling, leadership.
Weaknesses: Defense, turnovers.
Season Prediction: He could be going back to Turkey to play, so it could be irrelevant. He’ll be insurance on the wing for both Harkless and Harris.

Nikola Vucevic, PF/C
Strengths: Rebounding, offense, post moves, good in the pick-and rolland pick-and-pop, size, basketball IQ.
Weaknesses: Defense, quickness.
Season Prediction: Vucevic will improve and break into that upper echelon of NBA centers. Will improve defensively and continue to rebound at a good clip.

NOTE: Orlando Magic preview by both Zac Cleary and Zach Oliver

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