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30 preseason predictions: Orlando Magic

Can Victor Oladipo carry the Magic out of the NBA basement this season?

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Jacque Vaughn was never the most talented basketball player on an NBA team. Despite his French sounding name, he didn't have quite the proficiency in basketball as Tony Parker - or perhaps even Nando De Colo. However, in 2001, Vaughn did in fact set an NBA record -- for most consecutive missed field goals to start a season with 22 in a row (fun fact!).

Jacque is now the head coach of the Orlando Magic, and the savvy former player may just be the right guy to continue the rebuilding process for a franchise that may still be shell-shocked from the departure of some guy who can't make free throws.

The Orlando Magic

Prediction: The Magic will continue to rebuild their roster this year, while finishing with a top-five draft pick.

Orlando has a young team. Like, really young, dude. The Magic will probably kick off the season with Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Moe Harkless, Tobias Harris, and Nicola Vucevic as their starting five. The combined NBA experience for those five? 20 years. To put that number in perspective, Tim Duncan has played in the NBA for 16 years.

This offseason, the Magic added Jason Maxiell and Ronnie Price. Neither guy will be a game-changer next season. In fact, both will likely be used as insurance policies in case Nelson or Glen Davis gets hurt. The Magic had plenty of money this offseason that they could have used to attract free agents, but that isn't part of their rebuilding plan.

Royce Young over at CBS Sports recently wrote a piece on the Magic heading into next season. The fundamental idea of the Magic's rebuilding plan was well stated:

"With a youthful core, you've got to play things slow a bit, while relying on your internal development process.

The Magic could spend, but that's not the plan right now. They're trying to move on to through the post-Dwight era, and to do that, they can't rush the process."

Orlando wasn't forced to spend too much money this offseason in free agency because of their draft. Any offseason where you draft a guy like Victor Oladipo should be considered a success. The guy is still pretty raw right now, but given time, his elite athleticism and talent should make him a force in the league and a franchise building block for the Magic.

The Magic were also able to pick up Romero Osby with the 51st pick in the draft. Osby could be the steal of the draft. While he may not be NBA-ready right now. if he develops his offensive game a little more and works on his rebounding, he could be a solid role player coming off the bench for Orlando.

Jacque Vaughn has one of the youngest teams in the NBA, and they're still a work in progress. While there are a number of promising young players on this squad, they likely won't be good until they can get that one final key piece, which will probably come in some shape or form in the stacked 2014 NBA draft.

The Magic didn't likely do enough to improve much upon their NBA-worst record of last year, meaning this season will probably be another difficult experience for fans of a franchise that was once so consistently ingrained in the playoff picture. What Vaughn and his team can promise, though, is a step in the right direction.

Other Magic Predictions:

  • Jason Maxiell and Glen Davis will play forward and center, respectively, together at some point next season to form what must be the most undersized frontcourt in the history of history.
  • The Magic won't finish with the worst record in the NBA.
    See: the Philadelphia 76ers
  • Nicola Vucevic will contend for the Most Improved Player again this season.

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