The Magic had a dream season last year, but fell short in the NBA Finals. They made a lot of changes to their roster, but are they a better team? A lot of teams in the East went out and tried to improve their teams and the Magic tried to keep up. Can Vince Carter stay healthy this year? Will the Magic miss Hedo Turkoglu? Who is the whitest guy on the team, Jason Williams or J.J. Redick? Here is our 2009-10 NBA Preview for the Orlando Magic.
Additions/Subtractions – For a team coming off of an NBA Finals appearance, this team has done a lot to change their roster. One of the biggest trades this off-season was when they traded Courtney Lee and Rafer Alston to New Jersey for Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson. The Magic had to do something to fill void that Hedo Turkoglu left. He is more athletic than the “Turkish Jordan,” but he’s getting up their age and you can’t bet that he’ll be healthy for the entire season. They also went out and signed Brandon Bass and Matt Barnes. Bass is expected to split time with Ryan Anderson and Matt Barnes is a nice option off the bench. Also, they signed “White Chocolate” Jason Williams, who is coming out of retirement to back-up Jameer Nelson. The Magic could have lost Marcin Gortat, but matched the offer than Houston gave him. He’s a nice insurance policy in case Dwight Howard gets injured.
2009-10 Expectations – The Magic had a great season last year and they are building this team to win the NBA championship. They had to keep up with San Antonio, Los Angeles, Boston, and Cleveland with their off-season roster moves. If they don’t win a ring this year, the team would consider this season as a loss. They hope to have Jameer Nelson for the entire season. He looked like a franchise player before he tore his labrum last year. Dwight Howard will have to have another MVP-caliber season for the Magic to match their success from last year. He demanded double-teams, but with Bass/Anderson splitting time at PF, you would think that they would be in the market for a better option before the trading deadline. Rashard Lewis could move to PF and put Vince Carter at SF and Michael Pietrus would be at SG, but Lewis would lose his length-advantage playing PF. The Magic have to have a better record than the Celtics and Cavaliers going into the playoffs, because home-field advantage is huge for those teams and they have to take that away to have a shot in beating them.
2009-10 Prediction – It’s going to be very difficult for the Magic to duplicate the success of last season. All of the better teams in the East have improved and the Celtics didn’t match up well with them last year, but that changed with them signing Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels. Vince Carter will not playing in more than 65 games and this could very well be his last season. He has a lot of miles on those knees and he isn’t the high-flying star that played in Toronto, but he’s still pretty good. Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard will be All-Stars, but this team stays around the same win total as last season. They will end the season as a #3, right behind Boston and Cleveland.
2009-10 Win Total – 58-24