Orlando Magic and the 5 NBA Teams Destined for Doom Next Season
For some teams, such as the Los Angeles Lakers, the 2012-2013 season is full of optimism. New additions and camaraderie make for high expectations and an overall bright outlook on the upcoming season.
For other teams, the outlook is the complete opposite. A handful of teams will lack hope heading into preseason practices. In fact, these teams are destined for doom even before the season tips off.
The Orlando Magic are clearly a team searching for a new identity, but the list goes on. Let's unveil five teams that are bound to struggle throughout the 2012-2013 season.
We will get the obvious one out of the way first.
After losing Dwight Howard, this team enters a rebuilding mode that will stretch beyond the 2012-2013 season. After not acquiring substantial pieces in return for Howard, it's foolish to think this team will make the playoffs anytime soon.
What's more, they also bid farewell to Ryan Anderson (traded to the New Orleans Hornets), who won last season's Most Improved Player award after averaging 16.1 points per game.
Therefore, their two most skilled players from last season are gone, and their core now consists of Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo (the best player acquired in the Howard deal), Hedo Turkoglu, Al Harrington and Glen "Big Baby" Davis.
These players are all best suited to play complementary roles to superior players. They are not fit to lead a team.
Don't expect the Magic to be in the playoff picture, as this figures to be one of the bleakest years in Orlando basketball history.
Last year, they made history by setting the league record for worst winning percentage.
Don't expect much better from the Bobcats this season. The additions of Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions and second overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist may net a few more wins, but this team is still years from showing legitimate promise.
Their best bet is to allow their young players, such as Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo, the opportunities to develop and gain experience.
The bottom line is that Michael Jordan's Bobcats are going to be abysmal once again, and at this point, they just have to search for positives.
This team is unfortunately destined for doom again this season, and it could continue to be for the next few years.
At the core of the problem for the Detroit Pistons is the fact that they're overpaying a handful of average players, namely Charlie Villanueva, Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey.
These players are simply not worth the money they're receiving, and they create a lack of flexibility for a Detroit team seeking to make worthwhile upgrades.
Therefore, the Pistons shouldn't look much different from last season. Big man Greg Monroe should continue to reveal his surging potential, but he desperately needs some formidable pieces around him.
Rookie Andre Drummond should see plenty of action this season, but he'll likely take a few years to develop.
And second-year point guard Brandon Knight showed flashes of quality play as a rookie, but remember that he's playing in a conference with Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, Brandon Jennings, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose (once healthy).
The Pistons simply don't have the firepower to hang with elite teams, and as a result, there isn't much reason for optimism entering the 2012-2013 season.
They went "all-in" in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes and came up short.
Further, they used the amnesty clause on Luis Scola, who was arguably their most consistent player the past two seasons.
They did, however, land Jeremy Lin and former Chicago Bulls center Omer Asik this offseason, but are these players really difference makers? Is Lin really an elite-level point guard? Can Asik develop an offensive skill set?
The truth is that even if Lin and Asik exceed expectations, there are still many questions for the Rockets to figure out.
For instance, they have a slew of young players on the roster, and there will be quite a battle for playing time. Who will rise to the top? Who will show the most consistency?
Circumstances like these may hold promise for the long-term future, but the short-term outlook isn't bright. The focus on this year for the Rockets will be what young players are going to become the core in the future. Amid this process, don't expect the playoffs to be in sight.
The Raptors will not look much different from last year, and that means that they're once again destined for struggles this season.
Players like Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon and Kyle Lowry are respectable, but they aren't going to carry a team to the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
Further, the additions of Landry Fields and John Lucas III may add some depth, but they aren't anything to write home about.
The unfortunate thing for Toronto is that it's simply not a location where players want to play. Because of this, it could be many years before this team departs from the "destined for doom" category.