2012 Orlando Magic season preview

Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

The Orlando Magic open the season Friday night and will look completely different than they did last season.

The Orlando Magic won at least 50 games in each season since Stan Van Gundy was named head coach back in 2007 (with the exception of last year's lockout shortened season). Without Van Gundy, one of the league's very best coaches, and Dwight Howard, far and away the league's best big man out of the fold, the Magic are in some trouble.

For the first time since 2007, the Magic will be without both Van Gundy and Howard. Van Gundy was fired and replaced by Jacque Vaughn (General Manager Otis Smith was replaced by Rob Hennigan). Howard was dealt to Los Angeles in a deal that rid the Magic of the contracts of Jason Richardson and Chris Duhon and brought back Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikocla Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga (who has since been released).

Orlando also dealt the league's Most Improved Player, Ryan Anderson, to the New Orleans Hornets in a sign-and-trade. They received center Gustavo Ayon in return. Ayon is an underrated player who should surprise some when he gets more minutes. ESPN's John Hollinger projects him to have the highest PER of any Magic player.

This may be hard for Magic fans to take, but this season is about getting into the best position possible to succeed in the future. That means attempting to trade the likes of Harrington and possibly fan-favorite J.J. Redick while getting in a better position to get one of the top picks of the 2013 draft, which features guard Shabbaz Muhammad (UCLA) and big man Nerlins Noel (Kentucky).

Orlando's goals won't be anything like they've been over the past five seasons, when it aspired to win an NBA Championship. Instead, this season will be about developing young talent such as Harkless and Orlando's two draft picks, Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O'Quinn.

The Magic have no go-to scorer (Afflalo and Davis are the closest things and, well, neither player resembles a go-to scorer). The Magic are going to have trouble consistently finding scoring. Their defense could be even worse. They don't have a stopper in the middle and no reliable wing defender. Afflalo, who is generally considered a good defender, did not guard well last season.

Projected Record: 20-62

2011/12 Record: 37-29, second in Southeast Division, lost to the Indiana Pacers 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs

Gains:


Arron Afflalo (acquired from Denver) - 15.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.4 apg, .471/.398/.798
Gustavo Ayon (acquired from New Orleans) - 5.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.9 bpg, .536/.000/.619
Al Harrington (acquired from Denver) - 14.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 0.2 bpg, .446/.333/.676
Moe Harkless (acquired from Philadelphia) - Rookie
DeQuan Jones (signed as an undrafted free agent) - Rookie
Josh McRoberts (acquired from Los Angeles Lakers) - 2.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 0.4 bpg, .475/.429/.639
E'Twaun Moore (signed as a free agent) - 2.9 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 0.9 apg, .381/.378/1.000
Kyle O'Quinn (drafted 49th overall) - Rookie
Andrew Nicholson (drafted 19th overall) - Rookie
Nikola Vucevic (acquired from Philadelphia) - 5.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.7 bpg, .450/.375/.529

Losses:


Ryan Anderson (traded to New Orleans) - 16.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 0.4 bpg, .439/.393/.877
Earl Clark (traded to Los Angeles Lakers) - 2.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.7 bpg, .367/.000/.724
Chris Duhon (traded to Los Angeles Lakers) - 3.8 ppg, 2.4 apg, 1.6 rpg, .419//420/.810
Dwight Howard (traded to Los Angeles Lakers) - 20.6 ppg, 14.5 rpg, 2.1 bpg, .573/.000/.491
DeAndre Liggins (signed with Oklahoma City) - 1.9 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 0.3 apg, .480/.000/.474
Daniel Orton (signed with Oklahoma City) - 2.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.6 bpg, .567/.000/.440
Jason Richardson (traded to Philadelphia) - 11.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, .408/.368/.594

Projected Starters:


Nikola Vucevic
Glen Davis
Hedo Turkoglu
Arron Afflalo
Jameer Nelson

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