The Orlando Magic season is over. It’s only UP from here.
The season that was easy to ignore, and will soon be forgotten, is now officially complete. The Orlando Magic finished the season in the same fashion as they did most of the year – with a disheartening loss. The Miami Heat, sans LeBron James and Chris Bosh, defeated the Orlando Magic by a score of 105-93.
Final record: 20-62. The second worst record in franchise history. Worst record in the NBA.
Record since December 19, 2012: 8-49. The point when the Magic were the darlings of the league with a 4-game winning streak and 12-13 record.
Record since trading J.J. Redick: 5-23.
Few wins, many losses. But it’s over. A full summer of overvaluing future role players is upon us. Magic fans will sell themselves on every summer league stat produced, each fringe prospect brought in to compete for a roster spot and of course we will all drool on the soon-to-be produced top draft pick. Everybody knows that if Player X develops that one key skill and minimizes that one key weakness, that Player X will be a STAR!
That’s the fun of rooting for a bad team. Embrace it! Lose all rationality! What’s the worst that could happen? At a minimum, you build yourself up and start believing in a hopeful future return to relevance. At a minimum, you’ve seen rock bottom.
No matter what the team’s record is next season, you can rest assured the quality of basketball will at least be improved. While it’s likely that someone out of the Nelson/Afflalo/Davis group is traded this offseason, there certainly will not be five rookies on next season’s roster. Harkless, Nicholson, O’Quinn and Lamb will likely be back and will have a season in the league to draw upon (DeQuan Jones will have to fight for his roster spot again).
Sophomores Nik Vucevic and Tobias Harris will gain strength this summer and their productivity should rise in their third year’s. Even if the Magic are competing for a top lottery pick against next season – which is a likely scenario – your entertainment value should at least be heightened. The worst is over.
The closer that July1st, 2014 comes, the closer fans will get to knowing what the true future of the Orlando Magic will be. The roster as you see it today will be dismantled again. The strongest pieces will remain (or be flipped for better pieces) and most of the young role players will have moved on. Two high draft picks will be inserted and the Magic will have $20M+ in cap space to spend on free agents.
It’s only up from here.