The NBA season kicks off Tuesday night with an Eastern Conference showdown between the Indiana Pacers and the Orlando Magic. Both teams were on opposite ends of the spectrum last year and this year is not looking to be any different.
The Pacers look to continue where they left off by being one of the elite teams in the NBA by returning all five starters and boosting their bench talent. On the flip side, the Magic looks to rebuild again this year with some good, young talent that could make some noise, but not this year.
Both teams face off with the Pacers being the favorites to defeat the lowly Magic and to start the season off strong. The Magic could put up a fight with the NBA debut of rookie Victor Oladipo, who is just a couple miles down the road from where he played college ball. Oladipo is just one of many rising stars for the Magic. Tobias Harris and Maurice Harkless look to start off where they finished last season. Both players were averaging double digits last year and mix them in with veterans like Jameer Nelson and you got a good team.
The Pacers return all five starters from the previous year and have more experience than many of the Magic players. The main matchup to watch for would be rookie Victor Oladipo and guard Lance Stephenson. If you go back to when Oladipo played in Indiana, he was a young, scrappy individual that always played at full speed. Stephenson plays the same way now with Indiana. Look for both of these players to push each other to the limits and look for Stephenson to make sure Oladipo does not have a good homecoming.
It would definitely take a lot for the Magic to beat the Pacers. Even though the Pacers struggled throughout the preseason, they finally caught their stride heading into the regular season. Magic are just too inexperienced and are not ready to compete with a more experienced squad like the Pacers.
Justin Logan is an Indiana Pacers writer with Rant Sports. Like him on Facebook