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NBA / Oct 22, 2009 / 5:45 pm

Orlando Magic ’09-10 NBA season preview

Dwight Howard (photo. Mannion)

Dwight Howard (photo. Mannion)

Last year we debuted the “Highs and Lows” system — previewing the NBA season by predicting the respective ceiling and basement for each team. Same theme, different season…

Added: Vince Carter, Brandon Bass, Matt Barnes, Ryan Anderson, Jason Williams

Lost: Hedo Turkoglu, Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, Tony Battie, Tyronn Lue

Ceiling: NBA Championship
It wasn’t that the Magic couldn’t defend the Lakers or couldn’t put points on the board during the ’09 Finals; their biggest obstacle was more an issue of experience and getting over that “first-time jitters/happy to be here” thing. That won’t be an issue this time around — plus Orlando knows they can get past Cleveland and Boston on their way to the biggest stage … Pound-for-pound, Vince Carter is better than Hedo Turkoglu, and brings an even more impressive resume of clutch shots of takeover-ability to the table. Vince is undeniably a superior scorer on the wing, a better defender, and arguably just as good of a creator and passer … Dwight Howard will challenge for MVP, and Defensive Player of the Year is his trophy to lose. He’ll get his 13-14 rebounds and 2-3 blocks per night, but if he’s added to his offensive arsenal in the post and improved his free throws like he said he’d do over the summer, he can be the most overall dominant player in the League … Behind Dwight, the big-man corps has more depth and talent with Brandon Bass and Marcin Gortat feeling all paid and appreciated, and the crew of shooters in Stan Van Gundy‘s three-heavy system is still strong with Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, Vince, Matt Barnes and Ryan Anderson … So far in the preseason Orlando has played exactly like a team with this much talent, depth and versatility should: Each night six or seven guys are scoring in double figures and the defense is strong with guys like Mickael Pietrus allowed to keep their legs fresh. The list of teams that could beat the Magic in a seven-game series is growing smaller and smaller.

Basement: Second-round exit
Orlando is being handed a Top-3 seed in the East on a platter, and if they deliver, it’s hard to see them losing to any of the teams who would fall into the 6th to 8th-place range. There are a few reasons why the Magic could fall into 4th place, however, where knocking off a 5th seed won’t be so easy … Rarely do you see an NBA Finals team with as much turnover. Orlando lost their primary playmaker on the perimeter and the guy they’d usually enlist to take crunch-time shots (Hedo), the PG who guided them to the Finals (Rafer), and a promising youngster with defensive and offensive skills (Lee), among others. While the newcomers are an upgrade talent-wise, will the chemistry built during last year’s run be upset? … Lewis’ 10-game suspension to start the season could be one of those things that throws him off all year while he’s trying to play catch-up, and he’s already lost any kind of “surprise” factor; defenses will be keying on Lewis now and know what he can do. The whole team is in that kind of position, really. The “target on our backs” syndrome can be tough if the Magic don’t know how to handle it … Carter hasn’t been shooting the ball well in the preseason (27.3% 3PA), and if his outside shot continues to be off or inconsistent, that puts a big dent in what Orlando is trying to do.

*** *** ***

10/22 — Phoenix Suns
10/21 — Charlotte Bobcats
10/21 — San Antonio Spurs
10/21 — Miami Heat
10/19 — Oklahoma City Thunder
10/19 — Milwaukee Bucks
10/15 — Portland Trail Blazers
10/14 — Chicago Bulls
10/13 — Golden State Warriors
10/12 — Toronto Raptors
10/9 — Houston Rockets
10/8 — Detroit Pistons
10/7 — Memphis Grizzlies
10/6 — New York Knicks
10/5 — New Orleans Hornets
10/2 — Atlanta Hawks
9/30 — Sacramento Kings
9/29 — New Jersey Nets
9/28 — Denver Nuggets

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  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    The Magic GM has put together a strong team for this season. Even though they lost Lee I think Ryan Anderson might be a steal of that trade. It will be interesting to see how well this team meshes. They have an explosive offense and a good defense especially in the interior.It will be exciting watching them battle Boston and Cleveland for the Easter crown.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    *Eastern crown that is.

  • Ashlov

    I really like the addition of Vince Carter as a go-to scorer. But if the Celtics stay healthy, they’re winning it all.

  • Big Sia

    VC > ANY SG NOT NAMED KOBE OR WADE FUCK WHAT U HEARD

  • LakeShow84

    VC > Roy??

    Nah

    and I think OJ can give him a run for his money too..

  • LakeShow84

    You know in all honesty Big Sia its going to be interesting once the playoffs come to see if Vince can be as big a contributer that Lee was..

    Lee wasnt afraid of takin the shot in the playoffs and Vince isnt either but Lee will actually make the shot lol

    Also Lee guarded the other team alpha male.. And we all know Vince aint no defender..

    It will be interesting indeed.. In essence Vince is being asked to replace Hedo AND Lee..

  • D-Nice

    This team is stacked! Jameer is healthy,plus they added
    VC,Anderson,Bass,JWill,Barnes & resigned Gortat. They’re serious about winning a championship & they have as good
    a chance as LA,SA,BOSTON,or CLEV to win it all. Its going
    to be a fun season!

  • Derrty

    Ryan Anderson will be the X-factor this season. Mark it down. This kid will be more important to the Magic than Courtney Lee will be for the Nets or would have been for Orlando. Watch. This guy can play. If you haven’t seen what he brings, Lewis is out for the first 10 games and Anderson will get a lot of burn. Pay attention. Bass will add toughness to the frontline. The man is like a bull in a china shop in the paint. Him and Dwight will bruise people. Rashard will light it up. Nelson will be back to relegating Mo Williams to 8th on the All-Star depth list. People seem to base everything on KG coming back, Shaq stopping Dwight and blah, blah, blah…

  • BENNYHILL

    Agreed, Magic are the favourites in the East for me

    Then Boston, but not by much

    And Cleveland cannot win a chip as long as their starting PF is named Anderson Varejao… The most overpaid player going around

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gabriel-Brogden/507128757 BROGDEN

    LAKESHOW – “In essence Vince is being asked to replace Hedo AND Lee..”

    That’s an EXCELLENT deduction!

    And while Vince may not have the trifecta stroke that Hedo has, or the defensive prowess of that impressive rook…he’s got credentials.

    Bass shores up the frontline but can you really rely on Barnes, Anderson, and Williams??
    I dunno about all that.

    I’ll leave Williams alone ’cause they do need another pg.

    But the only thing you get from the other two is a 7-time Bench Star and a future Indiana Pacer.

  • karizmatic

    I don’t think VC is as good of a creator and passer as turkoglu. I think when the real games start this team is going to have a few problems actually lining it up and getting it together. A lot hinges on whether or not Howard improved his game.

  • TheD

    Everyone seems to forget Pietrus. That guy can light it up at times. He’s aggressive and a top 6th man off the bench.
    I predict Nelson will have a big year. And it’s the first time anyone has written about the fact the Magic consistently have 6 to 7 guys in double figures, albeit in the preseason. But don’t let talk fool ya, no coach worth his salt wants to come out of the preseason with a mediocre record (read Cavs).