Most NBA observers don’t expect the Orlando Magic to repeat as the worst team in the league again next season. It’s not just because the Magic will have a higher draft pick, and perhaps No. 1, depending on how the lottery unfolds. The Magic have some talented players returning. They just have to stay away from injuries, a factor that might have cost them five to 10 victories last year.
Lost in the debacle of Orlando’s season was the stellar play of Arron Afflalo, who could be more of a key to the Magic’s resurgence in the standings than their first-round draft pick.
Afflalo hopes to pick up where he left off last year. If he stays healthy and the Magic can figure a way to play defense, they could be at least a 30-win team next season. It might take a while for them to get back to playoff contention regardless of what the ownership is saying.
Afflalo had his best NBA season with 16.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game as a guard-forward. Other than increasing his scoring average by a few points, it’s hard to ask him to do more.
What the Magic especially like about Afflalo has been his reliability in shooting the past two seasons with 47.1 and 43.9 percent from the floor and 79.8 and 85.7 percent at the free-throw line.
Afflalo helped the Magic get out to a promising start, but then injuries took their toll. He needs to stay healthy, be a good example to the younger players and put in a few more key shots for the Magic.