5 Biggest Mistakes the Orlando Magic Made This Season
Orlando fans don’t need to be reminded of the team’s poor record, but what exactly has gone wrong for the Magic this season? No one has all the answers, but there are five things that stood out as mistakes by the team.
A couple deal with playing-time issues, and two more are about front-office moves. Of course, Orlando has the potential to do big things in the offseason and be in the mix of things next season, but for now we will recap what went wrong.
5. Not Having a Big-Time Scorer
Arron Afflalo is in the midst of his best year, but Orlando still needs a true scorer. Don’t get me wrong; Afflalo can score the basketball, but it needs someone who can take over a game offensively.
Afflalo’s 18.9 points per game ranks 24th in the NBA in that category, and the guard has struggled lately. He is averaging 15.3 points per game in March, which is his lowest average in any month this season.
With or without him in the lineup, Orlando is still around the same number offensively. In the games Afflalo hasn’t played this season, the Magic average 97.3 points per game. For the year they are at 96.8 points per game, so there’s not a large difference.
Orlando, who ranks 23rd in the NBA in points per game, needs more offensive weapons. With a likely high pick, they should find someone that can score efficiently, with multiple options in this year’s class.
4. Choosing to Not Trade Jameer Nelson to a Contender
Trading Jameer Nelson to a better team would have been beneficial for both parties. Nelson would be playing for a chance to make a playoff run, and Orlando could stockpile draft picks.
Nelson has been with Orlando his entire career, but for the guy that played in the NBA Finals with Dwight Howard, it has to be tough watching the team rebuild.
The opportunity to trade him will still be available prior to the draft, and depending on the availability of Dante Exum, it is a realistic possibility. This isn’t a huge mistake because keeping him around does provide leadership in the locker room, and he isn’t having a bad year by any means. The veteran is averaging 12.3 points per game this season.
3. Inability to Trade Glen Davis
Getting rid of Glen Davis was a good idea for the Magic because it opened the door for Tobias Harris, but the way it went down was the mistake. I’m not really sure if no one wanted Davis or if Orlando turned down deals, but the big man and Orlando parted ways with a contract buyout agreement.
Davis was a productive player, and it’s always hard to see a player go without a return. Some would argue that the return was giving younger guys the opportunity to step up, but the mistake is not getting a return for a solid player.
2. Not Making Victor Oladipo a Full-Time Starter
Victor Oladipo has been really good in his rookie season, but he needs more starts. The rookie from Indiana has started 41 games this season, but that number should be higher. Oladipo isn’t a future bench player, so why make him come off the bench now? If it’s a rebuilding year, let the rookie get as much experience as he can in the starting lineup.
I understand it’s hard to rotate with a good player like Afflalo in the mix, but he could certainly start at small forward. Maurice Harkless, who has been in the starting lineup a good bit lately, is the guy I would prefer to see coming off the bench.
1. Tobias Harris' Playing Time
Harris has been one of the most impressive players on this team and is still very young. Like the Oladipo argument, I would like to see him playing more in a rebuilding year. He came on strong for the Magic last season, but an ankle injury kept him off the court early this season.
His minutes have fluctuated and Orlando has been inconsistent when it comes to putting him in the starting lineup. He’s averaging 15 points per game this season along with 7.2 rebounds per game, so this guy definitely deserves as much playing time as he can get.