Realistic Stat Projections for Each Member of the Orlando Magic in 2012-13
With the beginning of the new season edging ever closer, many Orlando Magic fans are beginning to wonder how their new-look team will perform on the court. More specifically, fans are curious as to which players will score, which will lead the charge on the glass and which will dish out the dimes.
Although Dwight Howard's departure to Los Angeles has put an end to the Magic's contending days for now, it will be intriguing to see how Orlando performs in their first rebuilding season for some time.
Familiar faces will see their roles change significantly, while a host of new additions will be desperate to put their stamp on this drastically revamped team. However, make no mistake: Winning is not the highest priority this season.
Minutes will undoubtedly chop and change while coach Jacque Vaughn identifies the pieces that the Magic can build around for the future.
In particular, new players such as Andrew Nicholson, Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Kyle O'Quinn, E'Twaun Moore and Gustavo Ayon will see their playing time vary considerably throughout the season. The veterans, while likely to see the majority of minutes to begin the season, could also find themselves on the bench more regularly if promise is shown from the aforementioned.
With that in mind, here's a look at some projected points, rebound and assist numbers for each player on the Magic's roster for this upcoming season.
*Note: This list only contains the 13 players who are projected to see significant playing time.
Points Per Game: 13.7
Rebounds Per Game: 2.9
Assists Per Game: 5.1
Nelson will likely see his scoring rise slightly this season given that the team will rely on his scoring considerably more with Howard no longer in the middle.
The scoring point guard no longer has an elite pick-and-roll center to find in the paint, placing a greater emphasis on his shooting and driving abilities. Thus, Nelson will likely pull up off the dribble a little more, while also doing his best to get to the rim.
Consequently, expect his assist numbers to drop from those of recent seasons, resulting from both his increased focus on scoring as well as Howard's departure.
Points Per Game: 10.1
Rebounds Per Game: 3.5
Assists Per Game: 4.3
Although this season is an enormously important year for Turkoglu, expect his numbers to continue their recent slide.
With his skills in obvious decline, Turkoglu will find it even harder to perform his point-forward role with Howard no longer on the team. Howard was the major component of the Turk's effectiveness in that role, given his pick-and-roll ability, as well as his screening prowess that freed up Turkoglu on the dribble.
Turkoglu's hefty contract also means he's incredibly unlikely to be a part of the Magic's future plans, meaning Vaughn may reduce his minutes in order to develop his crop of young forwards.
Points Per Game: 18.5
Rebounds Per Game: 9.2
Assists Per Game: 0.7
Davis was a revelation in last season's playoffs as he manfully fought at center with the much larger Roy Hibbert.
The former Celtics power forward became the focal point for the team's offense, showing his versatility in being able to score from mid-range and at the rim. Expect him to carry that form into this season as he assumes a greater leadership role.
Davis should also be one of Vaughn's favorites, as his competitiveness and hustle will make him a great role model for the likes of Ayon, Nicholson and Vucevic in particular.
Whether he's deployed at center or power forward, expect "Big Baby" to score and rebound at a decent clip to lead the team in both categories.
Points Per Game: 4.2
Rebounds Per Game: 1.9
Assists Per Game: 3.2
Moore will start the season as Nelson's backup at point guard, providing a different type of athlete at the position.
At 6'4", Moore is considerably bigger than Nelson and Ish Smith, presenting a contrasting challenge to opposition point guards.
His ability to score, highlighted by his 16 points in the Magic's first preseason game, will also be a bonus in the second unit alongside J.J. Redick and Al Harrington.
His decision-making and ability to run the floor, however, will end up becoming to deciding factor in his on-going status as first-choice backup to Nelson
Points Per Game: 3.2
Rebounds Per Game: 1.4
Assists Per Game: 3.6
A promising prospect without question, Smith's performance this season will be hurt by his interrupted preseason, in which he'll miss training camp as he continues his recovery from injury.
Upon return, Smith will battle with Moore for minutes backing up Nelson, with his minutes being dependent on whether Vaughn opts for a pass-first or scoring point guard with his second unit. Smith's offensive game is still a work in progress, while his lack of size may hurt his chances against the significantly bigger Moore.
However, Vaughn will be keen to explore Smith's abilities as the season draws on, and his chances of becoming the first-choice backup will depend on his performance in those opportunities.
Points Per Game: 13.6
Rebounds Per Game: 2.7
Assists Per Game: 2.5
Like Davis, Redick should be another Magic player to thrive with added responsibility this season.
The renowned sharpshooter has improved his decision-making, defense, ball-handling and passing in recent seasons to become one of Orlando's most trusted players.
As the team's sixth man, Redick will be the focal point of the offense coming off the bench and should increase his scoring once again this season.
In addition, Redick should see less ball-handling duties in the second unit this year, given how often he was required to perform that role while Stan Van Gundy lost all confidence in Chris Duhon.
This should lead to a greater scoring mindset from Redick this season
Points Per Game: 3.8
Rebounds Per Game: 1.6
Assists Per Game: 0.6
Richardson is unlikely to feature in Vaughn's future plans for Orlando as the veteran swingman continues to see his play decline.
With Turkoglu starting at small forward and rookie Maurice Harkless likely to see minutes at the position to accelerate his development, Richardson will be struggling to find meaningful court time.
Considering his below-par play since joining the Magic in 2010, it shouldn't come as a surprise to the veteran that his time in Orlando is seriously limited.
As a result, there will only be minimal numbers posted by the 32-year-old.
Points Per Game: 6.3
Rebounds Per Game: 7.4
Assists Per Game: 1.2
Although predicting that Davis may start as an undersized center, it's reasonable to suggest that Vucevic could start the season there instead, pushing Davis to power forward.
Given that Vucevic doesn't tend to use his 7'0" frame in the paint, preferring to work from mid-range, he could complement the low post-oriented Davis nicely.
A promising piece of Orlando's roster, Vaughn will undoubtedly hope Vucevic is able to make some strides on both ends of the floor this season. His work on the glass in particular will need to improve to give the undersized Davis a break, while forming a relationship with Nelson will also be a high priority.
Points Per Game: 4.9
Rebounds Per Game: 4.6
Assists Per Game: 1.2
A chance to start if Davis is deployed at center, Nicholson is one of the most ready-made NBA players to come out of this year's draft.
The high-scoring forward will back up Davis if Vucevic starts, providing some post scoring with his solid back-to-the-basket game. However, given his modest athleticism, Nicholson will be up against it to produce at a high level in a league filled with athletic big men.
While on-court performance is important this year, the biggest strides Nicholson can make this season will occur in the gym with his physical conditioning.
With his skills in mind, if he's able to become stronger and increase his jumping ability, then he may have a long career ahead in the NBA.
Points Per Game: 11.4
Rebounds Per Game: 4.1
Assists Per Game: 1.1
While Harrington scored at a higher rate last season than predicted here, it must be remembered that he was on a Denver team that led the league in scoring and was second in pace last season.
It's unlikely Orlando will play anywhere near that pace with Nelson as the starting point guard, meaning Harrington's scoring opportunities will reduce somewhat.
With that being said, however, the former Nuggets forward will lead the charge with Redick off the bench, providing a similar threat to that of Ryan Anderson, albeit less efficiently.
If he's able to knock down the open threes and help out on the glass, then he could prove a valuable addition this season.
Points Per Game: 4.1
Rebounds Per Game: 2.8
Assists Per Game: 1.3
A first-round pick from this year's draft, Harkless is the sort of talent the Magic are keen to acquire.
However, at just 19 years of age, the former St. John's star is very much a work in progress, possessing the talent but not the polish to make a genuine impact straight away.
Vaughn will ensure Harkless sees minutes behind Turkoglu, accelerating his development, but considerable work is needed on his offensive game to make sure Orlando has a dynamic small forward in the coming seasons.
Yet provided that Richardson's minutes are kept to a minimum, Harkless should see the court time he needs this season to reach his future potential.
Points Per Game: 6.1
Rebounds Per Game: 7.1
Assists Per Game: 0.7
Unlikely to start at this stage, Ayon will back up Vucevic or Davis at the center position, providing the Magic with some raw depth in the frontcourt.
A late-comer to the NBA, Ayon possesses the ability to cut to the rim, highlighted by his work with Nelson in the preseason opener, as well as athletic defense.
These skills should see him become a valuable bench option for Vaughn, given he's a nice fit with Harrington's spacing in the second unit.
While he offers little in post play, his ability to get to the rim from cuts and the pick-and-roll should see him become an effective piece for Orlando this season.
Points Per Game: 12.2
Rebounds Per Game: 3.1
Assists Per Game: 2.4
Like Harrington, Afflalo's scoring may take a minor hit in Orlando after being a part of the Nuggets' high-octane offense for a number of seasons.
However, Afflalo's role in Orlando will be far more pivotal, providing a blend of perimeter shooting and lockdown defense in addition to on-court leadership.
A renowned competitor, the dedicated Afflalo is the perfect role model for the Magic's host of young faces.
As the team's first high-quality defensive guard in some time, the Magic's backcourt should now also be significantly better at defending the league's elite shooting guards.
Of all Orlando's offseason acquisitions, Afflalo is clearly the most accomplished.