The Orlando Magic are going to win a bunch of games this season.
My guesstimate is that the bar starts at 50 and shoots up from there. Expect lots of good times in the fabulously-plush Amway Center.
But the celebratory spirit may come crashing down in the playoff crunch, when the creampuffs disappear and the Magic are forced-fed peas and broccoli.
The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics are not yummy-yummy for the Magic. Perhaps it’s a bit premature to make that call so early in the season. It was just a few days ago that NBA Commissioner David Stern was in town commemorating the start of the season in a new arena and the Magic were carving up the Washington Wizards.
But some things never change.
The Magic don’t have any players who can break down a defense by going one-on-one, unless Vince Carter steps into a Hot Tub Time Machine and it’s 1997 all over again.
Without one, they won’t have a prayer of beating the Celtics or the Heat in a playoff series. [...]
It is not too early in the season to break out the gloom-and-doom scenario. Listen to Stan Van Gundy‘s analysis, breaking down his team’s strengths and weaknesses, after Friday’s loss.
“Against a good defensive team we have trouble a little bit,” he said. “We don’t have — and this isn’t to put down anybody in our locker room — but we don’t have the great one-on-one players. We don’t have Wade and James and Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant.”
What they do have are bad matchups against the Heat and the Celtics. And matchups are what this league is all about.
And so here we are.
Two games into the regular season, and all the goodwill that’s been built up with the Orlando Magic has been wiped away.
That being said, it’s fair to question whether or not the Magic have the roster to usurp the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. When head coach Stan Van Gundy readily admits that Orlando doesn’t have a great individual scorer, that speaks volumes. It really does. It makes people wonder whether or not general manager Otis Smith will pull the trigger on someone like Carmelo Anthony, a player that’s readily available on the open market and is the type of shot creator the Magic desperately need right now. Still, it’s too early to speculate on that possibility because there’s too many variables involved.
Now is not the time for hasty action.
Orlando had a bad game against a rival. At the very least, the Magic deserve the opportunity to right the wrongs and fix the problem internally. That being said, if this continues to be a problem with the Heat and Celtics in the next few months, let alone the Los Angeles Lakers, then the organization for Orlando is going to have to take a hard, long look at themselves. Ownership has invested millions of dollars in allowing the Magic to compete for a championship but if the roster isn’t calibrated to beat the teams ahead of them, changes need to be made.
Or else the money spent is a waste.
Before the February 24 trade deadline, Orlando faces off against Miami and Boston a total of five times. If the Magic can prove that they can beat the Heat and Celtics in a manner that’s sustainable for a seven-game series in the playoffs, great.
If not, Magic fans will be clamoring for a trade.
The clock is ticking.