We’re getting closer! Within a week we’ll be seeing our favorite teams in full swing as the regular season begins. Here is the second last installment of our season previews featuring the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Hornets.
How Will They Do?
Unfortunately, things don’t look great for this franchise in the depths of a rebuilding phase. They’ve lost their star, had an overhaul of coaches and staff and dedicated themselves to starting over with a clean slate. The past year has been tumultuous for Orlando and the Dwightmare caused many a headache for them. Many said that when it did come time to trade him, they made a mistake getting only Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, some draft picks and change in exchange for Howard and the offloading of a contract or two. Management have stood firm in their decision to move forward slowly, and rebuild this team from its grass roots and they have warned fans “this may be a difficult time, stick with us”. Guys like Jameer Nelson and Hedu Turkgolu now have the wight of a franchise on their shoulders with little help. The incoming of Arron Afflalo should help the Magic on the scoring end, but how well can Afflalo maintain efficiency without help? Will JJ Redick and Glen Davis contribute to a point where the team can win games? No. The Magic aren’t interested in winning anything this season. They know they’ll be horrible, and with that will likely come some very good draft picks. What they do want to do is remain tough. Play as a team and build chemistry. Considering the Magic’s strengths lie with their younger core, don’t be surprised if they deal away some of their veterans in order to clear even more room and have an even better shot building a strong team over the next few seasons. It’s a tough time to be a Magic fan, but rest assured the pain won’t last forever.
Players In & Out
OUT: Dwight Howard (LAL), Ryan Anderson (NOH), Earl Clark (LAL), Chris Duhon (LAL), DeAndre Liggins (OKC), Daniel Orton (OKC), Jason Richardson (PHI), Von Wafer.
IN: Arron Afflalo (DEN), Gustavo Ayón (NOH), Moe Harkless (R), Al Harrington (DEN), Josh McRoberts (LAL), E’Twaun Moore (BOS), Andrew Nicholson (R), Kyle O’Quinn (R), Nikola Vucevic (PHI).
Prediction: @NickoToGo – 15th in the East
New Orleans Hornets
How Will They Do?
The Hornets will view the 2011-12 offseason as a success. They kept guard Eric Gordon while miraculously hitting the jackpot selecting forward Anthony David #1 in the NBA Draft. It’s step one in a rebuild of a once great team. This team will rattle some cages this season thanks to their size inside. Davis is ready to be the centrepiece of this rebuild, he will provide a solid foundation. Davis oozes potential but they will need to add a stronger point guard to feed him the ball if they are to go places. This roster is built for one season – this season. Expect to see another 5-6 changes to next year’s roster as the Hornets continue to chase team chemistry. Anderson comes from a mess in Orlando and will feel right at home amongst new Hornet ownership but we can’t help but think he was hidden behind Howard in Orlando – now the spotlight is on him, no one will be looking to blame Davis year one. Lopez is an interesting addition – he will bring size but he wasn’t a good player already and seems like having him on the team is wasting a roster spot. It’s clear the Hornets will struggle but the storyline to watch will be Davis’ development, Coach Williams’ tactics and any other free agents they can acquire next offseason.
Players In & Out
IN: Anthony Davis (draft), Austin Rivers (draft), Darius Miller (draft), Ryan Anderson (ORL), Robin Lopez (PHX), Hakim Warrick (PHX), Roger Mason (WSH)
OUT: Emeka Okafor (WSH), Chris Kaman (DAL), Trevor Ariza (WSH), Marco Belinelli (CHI), Gustavo Ayon (ORL)
@mono85 15th in the Western Conference