NBA Predictions: Orlando Magic Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 9/23/2013
The Orlando Magic started the season 12-14 last year, but they managed to win only eight games the rest of the season. Orlando finished 20-62 last year, and they got the second overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. The Magic selected Indiana guard Victor Oladipo with that selection. With that choice, Oladipo instantly became the franchise player for the Magic.
Orlando’s previous franchise player was Dwight Howard. Howard had plenty of good years with the Magic. However, when he took the team through a circus a couple years ago, it really weakened this franchise. Fans turned away from the team after the constant drama and sideshows off the court. The Magic are trying to build a new identity now. There aren’t many stars here, and the team has one of the smallest payrolls in the league. Can Orlando take a step forward this year?
Offseason Player Moves
The striking thing about the Orlando Magic offseason is that the team really didn’t make any significant moves. The team signed Jason Maxiell and Ronnie Price, but those can hardly be billed as big moves. Orlando will also invite Manny Harris and Kris Joseph to camp to see if those two can help the team in any way.
Clearly, the huge pickup of the offseason was Oladipo. Many thought Oladipo would be drafted first overall, so Orlando had to be happy getting him with the second pick. Romero Osby was the team’s second-round pick, and he has played very well in the Summer League this offseason. Don’t be shocked if Osby contributes in some way to this team sooner than most expect.
Oladipo’s New Position
The big news out of Orlando this past week was that the team’s first draft pick won’t be playing shooting guard; instead the team wants Oladipo to be their point guard of the future. Oladipo played shooting guard at Indiana, but the Orlando front office believes he needs to move to point guard to best help the team. There are strong feelings on both sides of this move, but I can’t understand the move myself.
Oladipo is clearly a playmaker, but simply being a playmaker doesn’t make you an effective NBA point guard. The league is loaded with very good point guards right now. Guys like Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, and many others are all elite players. Westbrook is the only one out of this bunch that hadn’t always been a point guard in his career, but his learning of the position was helped in a big way by the fact that he has Kevin Durant playing next to him.
The problem for Oladipo is that he will be forced to do something he has never done before, and he isn’t going to have any stars helping him out. It’s hard to not feel like the Magic are feeding their top pick to the wolves here. One of Oladipo’s biggest strengths as a player is moving without the ball and finding openings in the defense. As a point guard, he’ll be forced to create with the ball in his hands almost all the time. Learning how to be an NBA point guard on the fly is no easy task, and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if this move backfires on the Magic.
No Real Plan?
Orlando has money to spend, but they aren’t spending it just yet. I understand that the team wants to go through the process of rebuilding and getting a whole new look now that Howard is out of town, but I’m not sure I understand where they are trying to go right now. They currently only have one star on their roster, and they are moving him to a position he isn’t used to playing.
Orlando doesn’t have the impressive young nucleus of players that many other teams have that are rebuilding. Instead, it seems the Magic are content to be at the bottom of the pack and keep signing middle-of-the-road NBA veterans to fill out their roster.
NBA Prediction: Orlando Magic Futures Odds
The Orlando Magic are listed at 500/1 to win the 2014 NBA Title, according to odds from Bovada. BetOnline lists the Magic at +30,000 to win the Eastern Conference. At both books, the Magic are listed at the very bottom of the pack along with the Charlotte Bobcats.
Orlando won only 20 games last season, and I don’t see them getting better this year. Oladipo will bring some excitement to the team, but I can’t see it bringing this team any more wins. In the NBA, a team has to have an identity to win. Orlando is a team without an identity. I think the Magic will finish with the worst record in the Eastern Conference in the 2013-2014 season.
Read more articles by Aaron Smith