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The aftermath of the Dwightmare means that whatever happens on the court for the Magic this season is pretty much inconsequential. Wins and losses have been tossed aside in favor of gunning for draft picks and developing talent. While this is an understandable process that is directly derived from the league’s collective bargaining agreement, it also means that the next six months will be full of mostly meaningless basketball, which is quite a depressing realization.
That being said, even though new general manager Rob Hennigan and his “Presti Plan” dictate that the Magic will be built mostly on their next few drafts going forward, there are still things to glean from the upcoming season. Here are five questions heading into the 2012-13 season that bear watching for the Magic’s future.
What happens at shooting guard?
One can very easily make the claim that Orlando’s two best players fit into the same roster slot. Both Arron Afflalo and J.J. Redick had high-profile college careers, entered the league as afterthoughts, and put in extensive work to improve their games. The result is two efficient shooters, solid if unspectacular defenders (Afflalo more than Redick until last season, when he showed diminished interest on that end), and improved playmakers who are entering their respective primes.
The problem, of course, is that it’s unclear how they fit together. It seems unlikely they can share both wing spots defensively, especially if Afflalo, the bigger of the two, continues to exert more and more of his energy on the offensive end. The better bet is Redick sliding into the back-up point guard role, as he’s improved his ballhandling a great deal over the course of his career, but that’s still quite a dramatic leap of faith in his skills.
Furthermore, it’s unclear if the two are in Orlando for the long haul. Redick will be a free agent this summer, when he will presumably get more money and more competitive basketball from a non-rebuilding team. And while Afflalo is locked up for four more years, he might prove more valuable as a trade asset for a team that isn’t looking to do a lot of winning in the near future.