Orlando Magic: Better Days are Ahead
The Orlando Magic ended the season with the third-worst record in the NBA this season at 23-59; only the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks finished lower in the standings. This season their team slogan was #WeWill, but for most of the season it seemed like they did not have the will to do a whole lot of anything. They suffered big losses, tough losses and from the typical observer, you would just say that the 2013-14 regular season was just not one to remember; this could quickly change in the city of Orlando.
Since the saga that was Dwight Howard came to a quite comical end, the Magic have struggled to maintain any sort of consistency in their play. This was expected as they entered full-on rebuilding mode. Last year they had the second overall pick in the NBA draft selecting Victor Oladipo, who was a bright sight to see in a mostly dark season. In just over a month, they will be able to add more young pieces to their puzzle as they have the fourth and 12th overall picks in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.
Mock drafts are never more than just that, as often times no matter what experts say or think, teams still tend to lean in a different direction. That being said, the top three picks already seem to have been figured out in Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker; however, because of the immense depth in this draft class, having two top-12 picks is an incredible asset for the Magic.
A point guard is a necessity for them and all signs are pointing to Dante Exum from Australia. Although he is still for the most part unknown to many, he has many scouts salivating at his possible potential.
Another likely addition to this team is a big man and many are pointing to Adreian Payne from Michigan State. His experience in playing under Tom Izzo for four years in college gives him a distinct advantage that many players nowadays do not possess. He is athletically skilled and also has the ability to knockdown the outside jumper.
Young talent can only take you so far and if the Magic want to make any noise in the next year or so, they will likely need to look at other options as well. Besides seeing the current players like Oladipo and Tobias Harris continue to evolve, they have the ability to look to free agency this offseason for more potential help. Now, obviously, the Magic are not going to have the ability or cap space to bring in Carmelo Anthony; however, there are still a couple potential candidates out there who could fit in nicely for them.
Currently a member of the Miami Heat, Chalmers has quietly developed into a solid contributor in the NBA. This season he averaged nearly 10 points and five assists. He isn’t by any means a star, but he would help fill the immediate void at point guard for them while helping nurture the play of potential newcomer Exum.
Although a serious neck injury caused him to miss the entire regular season, Okafor is still nearly a career double-double player averaging 12.3 points and 9.9 rebounds over his nine-year NBA stint. There is definitely some risk in going after him, but with his price tag likely lower right now, he could turn out to be a steal for them down the road.
Rome wasn’t build in a day and the return of the Orlando Magic isn’t going to happen overnight; this process takes time and it will continue to take time as they look to make the right moves in the coming months. If they can key the right targets and see continued growth from some of their current players, it may not be long until we are talking about them deep into the playoffs.