Last season the Orlando Magic had a season to remember, thanks mostly to team leader Dwight Howard and new Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. The two brought Orlando something the team hasn't seen since Shaq was in town—a 50-win season.
The Orlando Magic won over 50 games last season, for the first time in 12 years. They also won a playoff series for the first time since Shaq was here, but let's not forget that Dwight Howard and Van Gundy couldn't do it all by themselves. Rashard Lewis was a big addition that finally got the Magic out of the first round of the playoffs.
The question now becomes how will they succeed this season in the Eastern Conference after their numerous offseason acquisitions?
The players that they acquired in the offseason are shooting guard Mickeal Pietrus, point guard Anthony Johnson, point guard Mike Wilks, and first round draft pick Courtney Lee, a shooting guard from Western Kentucky.
Also, Orlando will be getting big man Tony Battie back from injury last season. Although that doesn't sound like much, the Orlando Magic lacked rebounding help surrounding Dwight Howard.
Mickeal Pietrus is Orlando's most notable free agent addition this offseason. He is a 6'6" swing-man, who can play both the shooting guard and small forward. He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in the 2003 NBA Draft. During his NBA career thus far he has averaged 8.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
Pietrus is most known, however, for his great defense, something the Magic desperately needed last season, especially when the Detroit Pistons eliminated them in the second round of the playoffs.
This year, I see them definitely winning the Southeast Division title for the second straight season. Yet again, their only competition are the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons. I feel with the acquisitions they made in this offseason, they may now be able to keep up with both teams.
The Eastern Conference has upgraded in the offseason. Philadelphia drafted Mareese Speights and signed Elton Brand, the Raptors signed Jermaine O'Neal, and the Cavaliers added Maurice Williams to help LeBron James. But I still see the Magic surpassing those teams.
Orlando had some success against Detroit and Boston last season. The team went 2-1 against Boston and 2-2 against Detroit. The Magic proved they can keep up with both squads, but can they beat either of them in a seven-game series?
Detroit is a team that has been around for a long time now and they are getting older. I think the young, energetic, but very good Orlando Magic will be able beat them in a seven-game series this year.
They showed they could contend with the Boston Celtics as well. Maybe you've seen the Hedo Turkoglu game winner over Paul Pierce?
A lot of people are calling the Magic overrated, but I see a young team that can hang with any team in this league. That includes the very tough Western Conference teams as well.
My Outlook on the Eastern Conference
Boston over Miami in six
Orlando over Toronto in five
Detroit over Washington in seven
Cleveland over Philadelphia in seven
Boston over Cleveland in seven
Orlando over Detroit in seven
Eastern Conference Finals
Boston over Orlando in seven