In June, I wrote a preliminary season preview for the Orlando Magic.
Since then, the Magic have gone through a number of important changes. With those developments in mind, here's an updated outlook:
PG: Jameer Nelson
Jameer fortified his position as one of this team's leaders by bringing his teammates together for a week-long bonding session in Philadelphia—all at his expense. Hopefully he used the summer to improve his passing skills, as the Magic will need him BIG TIME this season.
SG: J.J. Redick
J.J. proved in the Summer League that he's drastically improved his defense, and his experience in Team USA workouts against players like Gilbert Arenas, Kobe Bryant, Michael Redd, and Mike Miller should pay dividends in '07-'08.
SF: Rashard Lewis
Lewis brings much-needed outside shooting and leadership skills to Orlando. Though his attitude has been questioned in the past, Rashard was nothing but positive when asked about the Magic's Philly bonding session by the local Daily News.
"When (Nelson) called me and told me they were going to be doing it again this year, there was no hesitation on my part," Lewis said. "I figured it was a chance to get to know all these guys on a personal level before we go to training camp."
PF: Tony Battie
Battie returns as Orlando's starting PF, but I have a feeling he'll relinquish that role to someone else sometime during the season—maybe Marcin Gortat or Adonal Foyle.
C: Dwight Howard
With Lewis on the roster, Howard finally has another superstar at his side. After a productive stint with Team USA in the FIBA Americas Championships, expect another stellar season from Dwight.
PG: Carlos Arroyo
Carlos should be better after a FIBA run with Puerto Rico. I'm sure he's excited to get the season going.
SG: Hedo Turkoglu
Turkoglu had a pretty good season as a starter, but I think his energy and shooting would be better used off the bench. He and Ariza make a solid run-and-pull-up tandem.
SF: Trevor Ariza
Hopefully Ariza will stay healthy enough to have a breakout season. His speed and aggressiveness to the basket make him a fantastic option off the bench.
PF/C: Marcin Gortat
Nobody outside of Orlando diehards has heard much about Gortat, but his play in Germany and the Summer League over the last three seasons leads me to believe he'll be a solid post player for the Magic.
PF/C: Adonal Foyle
Adonal comes to the Magic with 10 NBA seasons under his belt. He's averaged 1.7 blocks during his career, which is more than both Dwight Howard and Darko Milicic.
The Rest: James Augustine, Keyon Dooling, Pat Garrity, Bo Outlaw, Keith Bogans
All told, the '07-'08 season should be an interesting one in Orlando.
Just thinking about the starting five gets me excited. Howard, Lewis, and Redick all have to be double-teamed for their offense to be limited. Jameer can produce, and Battie still has an inside game.
The free agency period hasn't ended yet, and the Magic are rumored to be shopping Garrity and Dooling. Hopefully we can trade one of them for a productive player.
Last season, the Magic should have done more to develop their young players, but coach Brian Hill couldn't pull it off. The good news is that Stan Van Gundy is a proven winner. Hopefully, he can do better than Hill, Matty Guokas, Richie Adubato, Chuck Daly, Doc Rivers, Johnny Davis, and Chris Jent ever did.
I was going to include Billy Donovan in that list...but when SVG runs a team practice, he'll have already outdone his predecessor!