In the 2006-'07 season, the Orlando Magic finished two games under .500 with a record of 40-42. They finished third in their division and were able to sneak into the playoffs as the eighth seed.
With key additions in the 2007 offseason which included new head coach Stan Van Gundy and Rashard Lewis, the Magic experienced a 12 game turnaround. With a record of 52-30, Orlando won their division while finishing with the third best record in the Eastern Conference.
Pre-Draft 2008-2009 Season Starters
Starting Lineup Options
The Magic could have the most explosive offense outside of Boston...or they could have the best defense in the NBA. It all depends on who makes the starting roster.
Jameer Nelson will, no doubt, be the starting point guard, but from there the Magic can change suit pretty easily. With the shooting guard position not set in stone, the Magic can choose to start either J.J. Redick or Keith Bogans...or they can take a different approach.
In my opinion, the Magic should start Hedo Turkoglu at shooting guard. His versatility, drive, and height could make for a great season at this position. If Turkoglu starts at shooting guard, this would allow Rashard Lewis to return to the small forward position, where he flourished in Seattle.
With Tony Battie coming back, he should start at power forward with the Magic's All-Star Dwight Howard starting at center.
The Magic have, quiet possibly, the best, most underrated bench in the NBA.
J.J. Redick is a prolific shooter and, with his improved defense, should get some decent time this season. Keith Bogans is a defensive stopper and possesses a decent outside shot. Carlos Arroyo, when he doesn't get carried away, is a very efficient point guard and should be backing up Jameer throughout the season.
James Augustine played well in his 5.8 minutes per game, averaging 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds per game throughout the season and will, hopefully, get some time next season. Brian Cook is a poor man's Rasheed Wallace off the bench. Despite the fact that his defensive presence is not overwhelming, it is decent and his shooting ability is amazing.
Mo Evans could be a backup to the shooting guard and small forward positions. Marcin Gortat was awesome in his limited backup role late in the season and should get some time this season. He has played overseas for a few seasons and, hopefully, will be a big surprise this season.
The only player on the Magic bench that I do not like is Keyon Dooling. His offensive awareness is horrible, though his defense is decent. I will not discuss Adonal Foyle because he has officially opted out of his contract.
Four words, Rebounding and Point Guard. Dwight Howard, despite the fact that he led the league in rebounding, can not possibly grab every single rebound that comes down during a game.
If the Magic's Tony Battie had been healthy last season, the Magic would have been higher than fourth in the league in rebounding.
Point guard is another story. Jameer Nelson is a decent/very good backup PG, as is Carlos Arroyo...however, neither is a very good NBA point guard. The Magic have got to upgrade at that position to make a real push in the NBA playoffs next season.
Now, here's the question: Who will the Magic take with the No. 22 pick in the draft?
Will they trade up? Will they trade down? Will they trade at all? What will happen in the offseason? Will they acquire another shooter? Will they acquire a point guard? Is J.J. Redick going to be traded?
What will happen?
I look forward to your predictions!