The Orlando Magic don't have a single pick in this year's NBA Draft.
At least they can't mess it up, right? But what does this mean for the team going forward? Here I break down some areas of interest as we essentially skip the draft this Thursday and wait for Turkoglu to receive offers.
2008—2009 Record: 59-23; Won Eastern Conference Finals
Offensive: 111.0 (Ninth)
Defensive: 103.6 (First)
- G: Rafer Alston
- C-F: Tony Battie
- C: Dwight Howard
- G: Courtney Lee
- F: Rashard Lewis
- G: Jameer Nelson
- G-F: Mickael Pietrus
- G: J.J. Redick
- C: Adonal Foyle (Unrestricted)
- F-C: Marcin Gortat (Restricted)
- G: Tyronn Lue (Unrestricted)
- G-F: Jeremy Richardson (Restricted)
- G: Anthony Johnson (Player Option)
- F: Hedo Turkoglu (Early Termination)
It all looks good on paper. Only 23 losses, ninth ranked offense in the league (a rank in which I believe should improve a lot next season, with the right moves), and thanks to Kevin Garnett's absence in Boston during the last two months, a No. 1 defense in the entire NBA.
As for the players under contract, in my opinion, C-F Tony Battie should be let go. With only 4.8 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game, I should hope no one in Orlando wants to pay him $6.3 million next year.
Should they trade him or straight-up cut him? I don't make those decisions, but I hope the Magic front office makes one of them. Marcin Gortat put up similar numbers, and he made $5 million less. Sometimes, I can't help but wonder who is making personnel decisions in Orlando.
The rest of the players currently under contract are likely to stay on the roster for next season. The core of the team is strong, and if the price is right for Hedo Turkoglu, that core will be complete for 2009—2010.
As far as free agents go, I vote to let go all of them except Gortat. They should free up some cap space and pay Gortat more. He deserves it.
We already spoke about Hedo Turkoglu, who is a player option (and a keeper). My feeling is that Anthony Johnson will stay. As a seasoned veteran, Johnson harbors experience that the Magic will covet next year for another Finals run.
What Needs Work
We all know the Magic lack instinct, the likes of which killed them in the playoffs. It's hard to acquire late-game toughness and strong leadership, especially if the Magic only have cap space for a small salary for that experienced player. The best thing the Magic can do on this front, at this time, is keep their highly skilled core and develop them with fervor.
A Possible End Result
The Magic could entice Hedo Turkoglu to stay if they cut the fat. Jameer Nelson will be back, and will hone his skills again in the offseason.
Orlando could use Rafer Alston's expiring contract to acquire a much-needed big man to help Dwight Howard on the boards and allow Rashard Lewis to play more minutes at the small forward position (so he can also earn his inflated salary).
Tony Battie probably will stay, although I'm against it.
Hope you enjoyed my analysis and I look forward to your comments!