Orlando Magic: Injuries Aside, The Magic Are The Beasts In The East

Brandon Ribak@reebokforthreeSenior Writer IDecember 22, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 16:  Vince Carter #15 of the Orlando Magic makes a face during the game against the Toronto Raptors at Amway Arena on December 16, 2009 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Bold statement? Yes. But that's the best way to attract readers these days.

Getting straight to the point the Magic have started the season with a number of injuries, quite frankly the most totaled injuries that any team in the league has suffered thus far.

After competing in the NBA Finals last season the Magic totally revamped their roster, letting go of arguably the most important piece (aside from D-Howard) of the team in Hedo Turkoglu.

In addition, Orlando went on to deal away two other players that were everyday starters in the Magic's entire postseason run in Courtney Lee and Rafer Alston. Veteran Tony Battie was included in the trade as well.

When taking a look at the 13 man roster from the '08-'09 season to today, there are 5 new additions to the squad (a 38 percent change in the roster).

Of those newly acquired players, three of the five play 22 plus minutes per game, while the remaining two (Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass) receive more playing time than established Marcin Gortat and point-guard Anthony Johnson.

Although the Rashard Lewis' incident was a suspension, the team still had to play without their All-Star forward (who averaged 19 PPG and 6.4 RPG in 24 playoff games last postseason) for the first 10 games of the season.

With Lewis out of the lineup young guns Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson received the opportunity to step up and display their talents.

During the first 10 games of the season Bass played 22.5 MPG, averaging 9.8 PPG and 3.5 RPG.

Anderson only competed in 6 out of the first 10 games (14 PPG and 5 RPG in 25 MPG) before falling to an ankle injury, which sat him out for the next four games.

In addition to the Lewis suspension and the Anderson injury, newly acquired superstar Vince Carter fell to an ankle injury as well, being forced to miss three games. Carter returned to the court on Nov. 10 against Charlotte.

Just when the Magic finally had their entire roster fully healthy for the first time since Rashard Lewis's return, the injury bug struck again, placing starting point-guard Jameer Nelson on the injury list for 4-6 weeks (in fact Nelson fell to injury during the game of Lewis's return).

Nelson missed 16 straight games before returning to the court on Dec. 21.

For an NBA Finals contending team to alter their roster, suffer as many injuries as much as Orlando has, and still be able to remain as one of the most elite teams in the league is undoubtedly an extremely difficult task to overcome. 

At 21-7, the Magic currently rank third in the league (behind LA and Boston) record-wise, while still averaging 102 PPG (eighth best in NBA).

Aside from the Boston Celtics '07-'08 acquiring of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, when was the last time a team was able to successfully revamp their roster and build chemistry while still being able to rank as an elite team within just 30 total games played thus far?

More so, when was the last time a team was able to do that without their star forward for the first 10 games of the season, and without their star point-guard for 16 games out of a total of 28 games played?

Imagine the Celtics without Rajon Rondo for 16 games or the Lakers without Kobe Bryant for 10 games. Would they still have just as good of a record as they do now?

With a fully healthy roster the Orlando Magic finally have the opportunity to build even stronger chemistry within their core while still being able to improve on their overall record.

It should be only a matter of time before the Magic rank on top of the their conference as the Beasts of the East.

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