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NBA 2015-16 Team Previews: Orlando Magic – Identity Crisis

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Orlando Magic

Our NBA 2015-16 Team Previews continues in the Southeast Division, next up The Orlando Magic:

Record:  25-57, 13th in the Eastern Conference,  5th in Southeast Division, Failed to make playoffs

Rank: Offense: 99.6 (27)  Defense: 105.2 (25) Differential/Net: minus -5.6 (26)Pace: 95.9 (18th)

2014-15

Key Stats:

  • Third overall in Points In The Paint per game with 45.1
  • Fourth overall in Points Allowed Per Screen
  • Second in Effective Help Rate

Off Season Moves

Key Areas Needing Addressing:

  • Young roster that will take time to develop
  • Finding an identity on the offensive end
  • Lack of perimeter shooting

Draft:   Mario Hezonja selected 5th in first round

Player Additions/Players Re-Signed:

Players Exiting:

2015-16

Core Players:

Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon

Key Reserves:

Mario Hezonja, C.J Watson, Evan Fournier

Outlook

Rising Star:

Apr 10, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton (4) drives to the basket against the Toronto Raptors during the second half at Amway Center. Toronto Raptors defeated the Orlando Magic 101-99. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What’s their not to like about Elfrid Payton? The guy has awesome hair that bounces elegantly with every step he takes and and his feel for the game resembles a young Rajon Rondo. Payton is effective in so many ways as a point guard. Outside of his hideous jump shot, Payton has a knack for being around every loose ball and is not afraid to mix it up amongst the land of the giants for second chance opportunities. His ability to make something out of nothing when offensive sets break down is unique for a player his age. Elfrid plays with a never ending motor voluntarily hounding the opposing teams ball handler for the full 94 feet. Playing along side Victor Oladipo, the Magic arguably boast the best defensive back court in the NBA.

On The Bubble:

Tobias Harris is considered by many data geeks to be the most underrated player in the game. At 6’8 Harris is one of the league’s most versatile scorers who can absolutely torch a team from outside or bully a defender to the rim. Tobias’s offensive tools is similar to Carmelo Anthony’s, a big physical wing with a sweet stroke and the ability to finish with contact in the lane.

The only knock on Harris seems to be his lack of effort and toughness on defense. This Orlando team will look to improve defensively as a unit and for them to do that, Tobias has to take more pride in limiting his man’s offensive production. Let’s hope Harris doesn’t take the year off in terms of effort after getting paid this past summer.

X-Factor:

Although it’s preseason, Aaron Gordon has showed improvement in terms of mechanics in his jump shot and ability to create off the dribble through his Summer league and preseason appearances. Gordon is a athletic freak who has Pogo sticks for legs. Seriously.

Dealing with injures his first two seasons, Gordon is poised to break out this year as he is projected to be in the starting line up for Orlando. Gordon serves as a better defender than other starting option Channing Frye.

Best Case: 

Orlando thrives under defensive minded head coach Scott Skiles and cracks the top 5 in defensive efficiency with it’s young and athletic roster. Vucevic contines to be a double double machine while the rest of this young core continue to gel and develop through out the course of the season.

Playoff appearance as the 8th seed.

Worst Case:

The lack of shooting from the perimeter limits this offense and the Magic continue to be poor as a defensive unit.

Missed playoffs by 3 games.

Prediction:

I love what Orlando is doing, this team is young and athletic under a tough coach who emphasizes defense more than anything. After a year together I believe this unit will come together sooner than people think. And two words. MARIO HEZONJA.

Playoff appearance as the 8th seed.

Games versus the Houston Rockets

  • November 4th at Toyota Center
  • December 23rd at Amway Center

Fansided Affiliate Site:  Orlando Magic Daily

Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions to help you get through the early season. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.

Next: Cavaliers Preview

Next: SCS Complete Round Table Sessions

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