6. Orlando Magic
Last year: 35-47, No. 11 seed, missed the playoffs
Major Additions: Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Green, DJ Augustin, Head Coach Frank Vogel
Major Losses: Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Channing Frye, Dewayne Dedmon
Argument For: The Magic have struggled to contend since the departure of superstar center Dwight Howard, but this year’s roster may be their best since they saw their franchise player leave. The Magic are solid in the middle with the addition of versatile big Serge Ibaka and bruising rim protector, Bismack Biyombo. They join Nikola Vucevic, who has been the team’s best player, averaging 18.8 points and 9.9 boards a game over the last two seasons. The Magic are also extremely athletic on the wing, featuring dunk contest star Aaron Gordon, and international shooting guards Mario Hezonja and Evan Fournier. New head coach Frank Vogel has Conference Finals experience and a strong defense-first mindset.
Argument Against: The Magic traded away two of their best young players in combo guard Victor Oladipo and combo forward Tobias Harris. What they lost in young talent, however, they replaced with veteran experience with players like Ibaka, Jeff Green, and DJ Augustin. Still, it will take some time to adjust from losing two key contributors. The Magic are relying on big improvement from their young players (Gordon, Hezonja, Fournier, and point guard Elfrid Payton), and, like the Milwaukee Bucks, may still be a season or two away from reaching their potential.
Image Source: Logan Bowles/USA TODAY Sports