Don’t look now, but this new Dwight Howard-less Magic team has a winning record and would be a playoff team if the season ended today. Granted, it has only been a week since the season started and Orlando has only played three games. But that is what is so great about a new season. A new season means that every team starts over, every team starts out on even ground. And that means that every team has hope. Past records and past performances don’t matter at the beginning of a new season. The team with the worst record from last season could potentially have the best record this season. Does that usually happen? No, of course it doesn’t, but there is hope that it could. And there are examples of teams having horrible seasons one year and then making the playoffs the next. The Spurs went from having the third worst record in the NBA in 96-97 to making the Western Conference semifinals in 97-98. The Thunder finished with a 23-59 record in 08-09 but more than doubled that win total the next season and made the playoffs for the first in Oklahoma City. It does happen, and that is why every team starts off the season with hope.
Right now the Magic are playing like they really believe they can be a playoff team, and that should give Magic fans hope. In all reality, though, the Magic will most likely not make the playoffs and the rate at which they are winning now will not be sustained. But I highly doubt that many basketball experts expected this young team to even win two of their first three games. The Magic do not have a single star on their team, but the way they have played so strongly as a team has propelled them to a fantastic early start.
What is even more impressive about the Magic’s strong start is the fact that two of the team’s starters suffered crucial injuries in the first game of the season. Starting small forward Hedo Turkoglu broke his left hand and is expected to be out about four weeks. Starting point guard, and the team’s lone player to ever be an All-Star, Jameer Nelson strained his right hamstring and is day-to-day. E’Twaun Moore has stepped in at point for Nelson and has played better than anybody expected. Through the first three games, Moore is averaging 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game while shooting 56% from the field. DeQuan Jones, the rookie from Miami (FL), has gotten the nod to replace Turkoglu as the starter at small forward, but is only averaging 14 minutes a game. J.J. Redick is getting most of the minutes that Turkoglu left behind. Coach Jacque Vaughn is giving Redick starter minutes as the first man off the bench and J.J. is taking full advantage of the opportunity. Redick has played like he has something to prove. Not only is he shooting the ball extremely well, which we all know he can do. He is also doing a great job of penetrating the lane and finding the open man for the jumper or layup. Redick is averaging 6.3 assists per game thus far, and is actually leading the team in that category. Arron Afflalo, whom I said would need to carry this team, got off to a rough start in his first game with the Magic scoring only 7 points on 3-13 shooting. But he rebounded the next couple games putting up 22 and 28 points respectively. Last night against the Bulls, the Magic put the ball in his hands late in the game and he delivered with two tough back to back jumpers. Nik Vucevic is playing well, as expected, and is averaging 13 points and 9 boards to go along with 1.3 blocks. Glen “Big Baby” Davis is leading the team in scoring with 22.3 per game but he is also leading the team in shots with 23 a game. He also leads the entire league in that category. Big Baby needs to be much more selective in choosing when to attack and when to pass the ball back out. It’s not a good sign when your leading scorer isn’t even averaging a point per shot. Davis is a good player and should look to be a leader on this young Magic team, but his shot selection must be better. Overall, though, it has been a very good start to this new season for the Orlando Magic. Coach Vaughn has them believing they can win and has them playing together as a team. They might not be a playoff team this year, but they could end up being a lot better than expected.
Let’s take a look at the results thus far and the upcoming schedule for the week-
|Fri 11/2 (H) Denver||
|Glen Davis- 29 pts, 10 reb, 2 bs|
|Sun 11/4 (H) Phoenix||
|Nik Vucevic- 18 pts, 13 reb, 3 ast|
|Tue 11/6 (A) Chicago||
|Arron Afflalo- 28 pts, 5 reb, 5 ast|
|Wed 11/7 (A) Minnesota (2-1)||
|Fri 11/9 (H) Brooklyn (1-1)||
|Sun 11/11 (A) Brooklyn (1-1)||
About the Author
Written by Madison Warfel
I graduated from Lancaster Bible College in the spring of 2012 with a bachelor's degree in Sports Management and Ministry. I am working to enter the field of sports journalism and plan to pursue a masters degree in sports journalism in the near future. Everything I have accomplished and will accomplish is only because of the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Without Him I am nothing; all glory goes to our heavenly Father.