The Orlando Magic roster appears to be set for the 2013-14 campaign.
General manager Rob Hennigan only has a few moves left to make, but only regarding two veterans still under contract who will be waived or have buyouts negotiated.
Forwards Hedo Turkoglu and Al Harrington have played their last games in a Magic uniform. Both have partially guaranteed contracts, where Turkoglu is guaranteed half of his $7,148,600 salary and Harrington is due half of $7,609,800, according to Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com.
With the amount of young talent the franchise has and seemingly facing another rebuilding season as one of the worst teams in the league, it serves the Magic best to rid themselves of unnecessary contracts. This also gives Turkoglu and Harrington, established veterans in the league, the opportunity to find spots with contenders before training camp begins. Simply put, it serves both parties well.
The Magic will rely on Jameer Nelson, Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo for veteran leadership and getting some of the younger players to grow and mature as players. There will be nights when it is going to be frustrating for these veterans playing with a rebuilding franchise, as Davis has already won a championship and Nelson has been to the NBA Finals in 2009. Coach Jacque Vaughn, who Hennigan deemed a better fit for the rebuilding model to coach younger players, also has to improve in his second season.
Here is a glance of the Magic rotation for the 2013-14 season, with a breakdown of the starters, the role players, and the reserves.
PF- Glen Davis
Davis returns from a foot injury that caused him to miss quite a few games last season. The main thing the Magic were missing once he went down was an inside presence. That is what Davis’ main role will be, as an undersized power forward who can provide that tough, defensive minded presence. He can surprisingly score efficiently as well, has a knack for always being around the ball, and can finish inside with his wide body and girth without much lift to his game.
SF- Maurice Harkless
The young small forward hopes to have a strong sophomore season, at times flashing his potential as a rookie. He has to develop a more consistent outside shot and look to attack more off the dribble, but he should remain the starter. Harkless can also provide the team with a perimeter defender with his incredible length and leaping ability. At 6’8″, he’s got the prototypical height and length required of most small forwards in the league. His rookie season was more about adjusting to the style and physicality of the NBA, but now it’s about developing his own skills furthermore and showcasing himself as an elite defender.
Vucevic may have been the surprise of last season for the franchise. Acquired in the Dwight Howard trade, he emerged as one of the top rebounders in the league, finishing only second to Howard at 11.9 a game. Where Vucevic needs to improve though is defensively, as he needs to play with more power to his game and finish stronger inside. He has the ability to shoot the 18-footer, but the Magic are definitely hoping he can develop a back to the basket game.
SG- Arron Afflalo
Afflalo is one of the glue guys on the team, as he’ll be counted on to improve his scoring from last season. He failed to score efficiently in his first season as the go-to perimeter player, but Afflalo’s best contributions have always come on the defensive end. Ask LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Paul George and James Harden. Nevertheless, look for his scoring to jump up this season.
PG- Jameer Nelson
Nelson is the leader of the Magic, on and off the floor. He’s been with the Magic longer than any other player on the roster has, but this seems to be his last season with the franchise as they have a team option to pay him $8 million in 2014-15. Nelson will look to stay healthy this season as he played in only 56 games last year and 57 the previous year. In his first season as the leader in the post-Howard era, he averaged 7.4 assists a game.
SF/PF- Tobias Harris
With Davis returning, he’s the odd man out of the starting lineup from last year. As the likely sixth man, Harris will provide a spark off the bench. His flexibility to play either inside as a power forward or outside as a small forward give the Magic the ability to match any teams that want to play small ball. With a very well rounded offensive game, he could emerge as one of the top scoring threats in the league off the bench.
SG- Victor Oladipo
The second overall pick has an infectious smile and personality Magic fans will be drawn to and he should be an immediate fan favorite. Oladipo should be a solid contributor to the backcourt, primarily at shooting guard, but also at point guard. He has already shown brilliance as a defensive player and his supreme quickness and athleticism allow him to keep any player in the league in front of him. How much he can provide offensively and how he continues to develop as a point guard will be a few of the storylines this season.
PF- Andrew Nicholson
Nicholson has an improved post game that was on full display in the Orlando Summer League. Look for more minutes and improved numbers from the second-year player this season. He’ll provide the Magic with a viable young player who can come off the bench and replace Davis’ interior scoring.
C- Kyle O’Quinn
O’Quinn is another strong body on the interior. He may be a bit undersized at 6’10″, but he matches the physicality thrown his way. Expect him to play between 14 to 18 minutes a game as Vucevic’s backup. He is not much of a threat to score, but most of his points will come from the offensive boards and dump offs from the guards.
PG- E’Twaun Moore
Moore will be the primary back up for Nelson, and provides another scoring threat off the bench. He can be instant offense at times, as showcased during last season. If he shows he can be more than just an average backup, Oladipo may be forced to play more at shooting guard.
PF/C- Jason Maxiell
Recently signed to a two-year deal, Maxiell has already let it be known that he will do what’s asked of him. Don’t expect big numbers from him, as he is more of a banger and offensive rebounder inside. Maxiell also gives the Magic another option as a backup center.
SG- Doron Lamb
Lamb will be relied upon to give the team some much need 3-point shooting. He’ll also have to step up defensively though if he is going to earn minutes, considering the fact that Oladipo will be ahead of him on the depth chart. Lamb shot 37 percent from 3 last season.
PG- Ronnie Price
Price was also signed recently to be the reserve backup point guard who will play sparingly in blowouts. His signing was more about giving the team insurance of a veteran backup point guard. He had the reserve role in Portland last season and that will not seem to change much here in Orlando either.