2012-2013 Record: 20-62, 5th in Southeast
Stat Leaders: Arron Afflalo, 16.5 ppg. Nikola Vucevic, 11.9 rpg. Jameer Nelson, 7.4 apg, 1.3 spg. Tobias Harris, 1.4 bpg
Current Projected Rotation (Updated 5/14/2013)
C - Nikola Vucevic, Kyle O'Quinn
PF - Glen Davis, Andrew Nicholson, Al Harrington
SF - Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris, Hedo Turkoglu (PO)
SG - Arron Afflalo, Doron Lamb
PG - Jameer Nelson, E'Twaun Moore
Unrestricted Free Agents: G Beno Udrih. F Hakim Warrick. GF DeQuan Jones.
Off-Season Preview (5/14/2013)
The Good: There is a lot to like about a team that lost 62 games. The Magic took a MLB approach, trading off veterans and adding as much young talent as possible. Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris were second year pro's that really shined once they were in a spot where they could play minutes. Vucevic was a double double machine and Harris showed a very nice all around game. Both of those players will be a key part of this team in the future. As will rookies Andrew Nicholson and Maurice Harkless. Arron Afflalo picked up where he left off in Denver, as he was Orlando's only consistent scoring option.
The Bad: Like the Hornets and Cavaliers before them, Orlando fell off a cliff after losing their disgruntled superstar. Glen Davis, Al Harrington and Hedo Turkoglu were all high paid players that spent more time on the disabled list then on the court. Turkoglu is expected to pick up his team option and his contract will be an albatross on Orlando's cap for one more season.
Rookie Report: The Magic ended the season with five rookies on the roster. Harkless and Nicholson showed the most promise. I think Nicholson will eventually top out as a solid backup big man on a good team, but Harkless has the potential to be the long term starting small forward. He ended the season very strong, with several 20 point games sprinkled in. He is a great athlete and has the ability to be a very good defender and scorer.
Free Agents: Beno Udrih has been much maligned the past few seasons, but that was mostly due to his bloated contract. He has been one of the top backup point guards in the NBA, and when given starters minutes he has proven to be a great scorer. The Magic would like to bring him back to backup both guard positions.
Projected Salary Cap Space: $5,992,215. Orlando could shave off another 12 million of Hedo Turkoglu opts out of his contract, but that is unlikely. Al Harrington's contract is set up that a buyout could be agreed to. Orlando will probably wait one more year, when only two players will be under guaranteed contracts at 7 million each, Afflalo and Davis. Six youngsters will have team option's next summer, meaning the future of the Orlando franchise will most likely be determined then.
Free Agent Possibilities: The Magic have quite a few players under contract, and will wait one more year before deciding if they want to be a major player in free agency. A backup guard like Anthony Morrow or Daniel Gibson could be brought in to provide some shooting, but I think the Magic will stand pat with their draft picks and hold tight.
Draft Possibilities: The Magic's dreams were crushed when Marcus Smart decided to return to Oklahoma State for his sophomore season. Orlando was reportedly smitten with him and probably would have selected him no matter where they ended up in the lottery. The only real player to draft and groom behind Jameer Nelson is Trey Burke, but no one 6 foot or under has been drafted number one other then Allen Iverson, and he was just a freak athlete. I do think Burke would be the best selection for the Magic. If they go another direction, Nerlens Noel could be a solid choice and would give Orlando another solid piece to add to the front court. Ben McLemore could be a good pick, but I think he duplicates a lot of what Arron Afflalo does. It would be redundant to have both players. At this point the Magic are just stockpiling young players, and could just go best player available.
2013-2014 Outlook: Orlando was the latest team to hit rock bottom after dealing their disgruntled superstar, but there is hope. The Magic have quite a few intriguing youngsters to build around, and are taking the slow, long term approach while bad contracts run their course. Orlando should have top five picks in 2013 and 2014, which will go a long way towards replenishing their talent. It is important that the Magic strike gold in these drafts, because they have some good young players on the roster, but no one you would qualify as having superstar potential. Jacque Vaughn will have a long leash as he and the coaching staff look to mold these youngsters into a solid team.
2013 NBA Mock Draft: Minnesota Timberwolves Selections
2013 NBA Mock Draft: v 5.0 (5/10/13)
Round 1, Pick 1: PF/C Nerlens Noel, Fr, Kentucky
I will start out by saying this. Trey Burke should be the Magic's pick, no matter where they end up drafting. It would actually be a blessing in disguise if Orlando does not land the number one selection. NBA draft logic says you can't draft a 6 foot point guard without elite speed and athleticism with the first overall pick. Not with seven footers available! The only real alternative would be Nerlens Noel. His ceiling is probably Marcus Camby but he does offer game changing defense and would be a part of an intriguing big man rotation with Nikola Vucevic and Andrew Nicholson. I really am not a fan of Noel, but this is a very weak draft, every player has quite a few question marks. Someone has to go number one. I hope the Magic would go after Burke, but NBA Draft history says this will be Noel.
Round 2, Pick 51: PG/SG Seth Curry, Sr, Duke
I think if Seth was not related to Steph he would be drafted a bit higher then this. He is nowhere near the class of his All Star sibling, but he is a great shooter and can come off the bench for the Magic and knock down some shots.