The Orlando Magic made their fair share of unexpected offseason moves, including the signings of Ben Gordon and Channing Frye. How do they plan to use the veterans, and what does their addition mean for the young prospects? Will Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon find themselves in the starting lineup next season?
It all boils down to one question: Will Orlando focus on developing its many talented youngsters or rely on the veterans to establish a winning mentality once more?
Prior to the 2014 NBA draft, most people had a good idea what would happen. The Magic would pick Dante Exum and the best big man available at No. 12, and the Australian would soon become the starting point guard.
Then came draft night.
General manager Rob Hennigan surprised many by passing on Exum and going with Gordon instead. Then he went on to trade for the No. 10 pick, Payton. At least this move was predictable, as the Magic desperately needed a promising point guard.
Later in the offseason, Hennigan decided to confuse fans and sports writers alike by signing the veterans Gordon and Frye, offering more money than most people would have expected. That probably includes the two players themselves.
But a small-market team needs to shell out the money to get free agents. And the Magic were so far below the salary cap that they would have had to pay a surcharge.
How will the newly acquired veterans fit into Orlando's roster?
That depends on whether the team plans to focus on developing its youngsters or fighting for a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference. Frye's acquisition in particular points to the latter.
What will happen at the all-important point guard position?
Orlando fans know too well that head coach Jacque Vaughn seems to think Victor Oladipo is a good option at the point, despite last season's experience telling a different story. Will Payton's presence finally allow Oladipo to play his more natural position, shooting guard?
The upcoming slides will present the likely starting lineup on opening night.