Orlando Magic 2016-2017 Season Preview

By on October 26, 2016
 Orlando Magic point guard Elfrid Payton (4) (photo Jeff Griffith / USA TODAY Sports)

Orlando Magic point guard Elfrid Payton (4) (photo Jeff Griffith / USA TODAY Sports)

With the start of the NBA season Magic fans are wondering if this will be their magic moment. During the offseason the Magic franchise made crucial changes to compete in a much-improved eastern division, home of the reigning NBA champion’s the Cleveland Cavaliers.

New Year, New Magic

After a disappointing season, the Orlando Magic welcomed in new head coach Frank Vogel who led the Indiana Pacers to the playoffs, but lost in the first round to the Toronto Raptors. Vogel’s playoff experience will benefit a young Magic team.

Along with a new coach the Magic stunned fans in a big trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder which trade sent Magic’s leading scorer Victor Oladipo to OKC for Serge Ibaka. With Oladipo gone this puts a lot of pressure on Evan Fournier who just signed a 5-year $85 million dollar deal.

In addition to Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Jeff Green will also be joining the Magic’s roster. All three players will provide a boost in the defense, something that the team lacked in last season.

Starting Five

Elfrid Payton: 10.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 6.4 apg

Evan Fournier: 15.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.7 apg

Aaron  Gordon: 9.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.6 apg

Serge Ibaka: 12.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.9 bpg

Nikola Vucevic: 18.2 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.1 bpg

The addition of Serge Ibaka and Jeff Green will provide a defensive presence to the former starting five. Serge Ibaka’s offensive rebounding will also increase the opportunity for second chance points. Aaron Gordon, Bismack Biyombo, and Mario Hezonja coming off the bench adds depth to the Magic which was a problem last year.

Key Points for the 2016-2017 Season

  1. Defense

Last season the Magic lost a majority of their games due to a lack of defense. Vogel is a defensive coach who can develop a young, athletic Magic team.

  1. Chemistry

Loosing both the team leader (Oladipo) and head coach leaves a lot of room for development. The team must regroup and get on the same page if they want to see success.

  1. Competition for Minutes

With the new additions to the team all positions are seeing a competition in minutes. This competition will bring out the best in all players especially Aaron Gordon and Mario Hezonja who are already seeing their minutes cut. The addition of Ibaka and Biyombo also provides an opportunity for smaller lineup that will send big man Nikola Vucevic to the bench.

Conclusion:

My prediction for the 2016-2017 season is 44 wins and 38 loses and 7th place in the Eastern Division. The Magic haven’t seen the playoffs since 2011-2012 season where they were eliminated in the first round by the Pacers. With a playoff experienced coach and several veteran players added to the roster I believe the Magic are a playoff contender in the East.

The Orlando Magic will be put to the test in their season opening game against the Miami Heat October 26 at 7 pm. The Miami heat are also in rebuild mode after losing superstar Dwanye Wade and veteran’s Luol Deng and Joe Johnson.

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