Tuck: Orlando Magic Grades
In my preseason predictions I said I thought Orlando would finish with 5 games of a playoff spot in the East. I thought they could compete for that this season. They didn't even come close, at least not after the first week. I also said Victor Oladipo would win Rookie of the Year. He'll likely finish second to Michael Carter-Williams, but that wasn't exactly a reach to predict. If I was a Magic fan I would be disappointed in this season.
Aaron Afflalo- A. Like the letters in his name. He continued to improve, doing a little bit of everything this year. If he isn't part of the future in Orlando, he sure as better bring back someone that is.
Victor Oladipo- B. His ceiling feels a little lower today for me than it did before the year. I never thought he'd get to an All-Star-type level, but I figured he'd be a solid starter. I still think that attainable, but because he lacks a true position he could end up a combo guard playing 28-32 minutes off the bench.
Nik Vucevic- B. He is what he is. He's a strong rebounder and can give you double-doubles nightly. A defensive presence at power foward (Joel Embiid???) seems necessary for a winning combination however.
Kyle O'Quinn- B. As advertised he is a hard-worker. Ideal for a big getting 12-20 minutes off the bench. Showed enough growth in his game to keep around a while longer.
Tobias Harris- B-. He definitely has a NBA game, especially at the offensive end. Problem is he's an ideal small forward, but he can't shoot 3's. That's a hard sell in today's league.
Jameer Nelson- C+. Best thing I can say about the captain is he did his job. Never complained and played hard. Part of me hopes he retires with the team, see's it through to the other side as a back-up point guard for a winner. The other part of me hopes he can move on to another team to have a chance to compete before it's too late.
E'Twaun Moore- D+. He's better than Doron Lamb and Ronnie Price. That's not saying a whole lot.
Maurice Harkless- D-. The 2012 draft has been, um, disappointing. What is the opposite of turning the corner?
Andrew Nicholson- F. GM Rob Hennigan may have been "forced" into taking Harkless in the Dwight trade, but he wasn't forced to draft Nicholson. Blood is on his hands right now. On the bright side, not much after the 19th pick has been something to brag about yet.
Everybody else- NA. The rest of the team doesn't matter much. None of those guys are in consideration for the big picture puzzle.
This team has a long way to go. They don't have a superstar. They don't even have an all-star and I don't think they have a player that will become an all-star. With some of the young players failing to develop it hurts the Magic's chances of using them either as their own talent or a valuable piece to move to another team. They'll have to make those decisions likely before the 2015 season because those affordable contracts will have to become more pricey to keep many of those guys.
This year overall earns a D because of the lack of progress and development. The Magic have far too many questions still two years after Dwight Howard and lack answers. The lottery really needs to deliver for Orlando or they may enter another rebuilding process with another GM in the summer of 2016.