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Blazersedge NBA Season Preview 2008-09: The Magic


Record:  52-30, 1st Southeast Division, 3rd in Eastern Conference


Statistical Comparisons



5th in field goal % 

5th  in ppg differential (+5.5 ppg)

4th in three-point % 

3rd in free throw attempts per game

27th in free throw percentage

27th in steals

27th in blocks



6th in the league in scoring (104.5 ppg)

11th in opponent scoring (99.0 ppg)

24th in opponent field goal %

22nd in assists

15th in turnovers

25th in opponent turnovers

Very Poor offensive rebounding team

Very Good defensive rebounding team




Significant Additions:  Mickael Pietrus, Anthony Johnson, Courtney Lee (R)

Significant Subtractions:  Maurice Evans, Carlos Arroyo, Keyon Dooling, Pat Garrity




Coach:  Stan “The Man” Van Gundy


Key Players

PG:  Jameer Nelson, Anthony Johnson

SG:  Mickael Pietrus, J.J. Redick, Courtney Lee

SF:  Rashard Lewis, Keith Bogans

PF:  Hedo Turkoglu, Tony Battie

C:  Dwight Howard, Adonal Foyle




Plenty of NBA teams can lay claim to being good for one reason or another.  If you want to sift through the decent teams and pick out the true contenders you usually look at four areas:  point differential, defensive field goal percentage, defensive rebounding and road wins.  Any rule begets exceptions, of course, but in general these are the hallmarks of solid, dependable, winning basketball.  The Magic are good to go in three of the four categories.  Their point differential, while not in the astronomical territory of NBA champions present and past, is respectable for a team still growing into itself.  Their defensive rebounding is great.  Their road wins tied them for second with the L*kers, with Boston taking the lead.  Defense is the one area that still needs work.  The Magic committed the grave sin of not stopping opponents’ shots and not creating any turnovers.  To be successful you’ve got to do one or the other.  To be a champion you need to be pretty decent at both.  The Magic were hampered by a lack of defensive athleticism outside of their center position.  This is one of the reasons the acquisition of Mickael Pietrus made sense.  He’s been burning for playing time and when healthy can disrupt the game.  He’ll get that chance in Orlando.


You’d like to see some more bankable commodities coming off of the Magic bench, but they’ve got some time to sort that out.  Their starting lineup should be good to go with Nelson, Lewis, and Howard.  They’d also be well-served by learning how to shoot a free throw.  It’s sad to see them waste those free attempts (3rd in the league in foul shots attempted at 28 per game) with shoddy marksmanship (27th in free throw percentage at 72.1%).  It’s a little margin, but little things often mean the difference between good and great.


You love Orlando’s ability to hit from anywhere because of Turkoglu, Lewis, and Nelson.  You love Dwight Howard’s freakish domination potential.  You pretty much want to crown this team as the Next Big Thing in the East after the current regime heads to the retirement home.  With a couple more good bench acquisitions and maybe a tweak to that starting lineup (I don’t care what his stats were last year, I’m still wondering if Turkoglu is a long-term fit with this team) you could really get behind the idea of the Magic coming out of the East.  The goal this year ought to be the Conference Finals.  If Detroit is headed as far south as people thought they were following last season, the Magic should make it.


For the real scoop on the Magic head over to Third Quarter Collapse.


--Dave (