The Sports Bank‘s series of NBA off-season team needs pages begins with the worst team in the league this past season; the Orlando Magic. The franchise suffered a major setback after dealing disgruntled superstar Dwight Howard last off-season. They enter the off-season stuck with a roster of average talent and rather than trying to scrape by, it is time for the Orlando Magic to blow up their roster and get straight to rebuilding mode.
Orlando Magic (20-62 last year)
2012-13 Season Summary:
As expected, year one of the post-Dwight Howard rebuilding effort was filled with struggles as the Orlando Magic finished with the worst record in the NBA.
Most of the veteran talent on the Magic roster was sidelined for extended periods of time. Al Harrington only played in ten games due to a knee injury while Glenn Davis was sidelined a good chunk of the year with a broken foot. Hedo Turkoglu’s return to Orlando only got worse as he was out with a broken hand then suspended for using an illegal substance. Jameer Nelson and Aaron Afflalo each missed significant stretches as well.
There were some positives with some of the younger talent. Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless each came to Orlando in the Howard trade and showed signs of promise. Vucevic finished second in the NBA in rebounding while Harkless improved as he was given more playing time throughout the season. Tobias Harris who was acquired in the J.J. Redick trade also made a splash averaging more than 17 points and 8 rebounds during 27 games with the Magic. That trio will be important pieces to the Magic’s future moving forward.
2012-13 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Nikola Vucevic/Kyle O’Quinn
PF: Glenn Davis/Andrew Nicholson/Al Harrington
SF: Tobias Harris/Moe Harkless/Hedo Turkoglu
SG: Aaron Afflalo/E’Twaun Moore/Doron Lamb
PG: Jameer Nelson
NBA Free Agents:
PG-Beno Udrih (UFA)
SF-DeQuan Jones (UFA)
2012-13 Team Salary: Approximately $53.8 million
1. Face of the franchise: Every team needs one and the Orlando Magic simply lack any superstar talent that can be the driving force of the franchise moving forward. Even with a top pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, it is unlikely Orlando will find that guy since the crop of prospects is filled with question marks. This is more than likely a need that will go unfulfilled.
2. Create cap space: Turkoglu has an early termination option on his deal for next season but no way he turns down the $12 million he is owed for 2013-14. No team will want to take on his baggage for next season unless Orlando is getting a crappy contract in return. Nelson, Harrington, Afflalo, and Davis are all on the books through the ‘14-’15 season and accounting for nearly $30 million combined next year. I think the Magic need to dump at least two of those contracts if possible to try and clear up some cap space or possibly add another young asset for the future. In other words, fully blow up the roster rather than trying to scrape by with less than mediocre talent for the next couple seasons.
3. Point guard depth: With Beno Udrih a free agent, Orlando has no real backup for Nelson. E’Twaun Moore can run the point in a pinch but the Magic will need to find a temporary fill-in via free agency unless they end drafting Trey Burke to potentially be the floor general of the future.
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David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.