Sunday, October 27, 2013

2013-2014 Magic Win-Loss Predictions

It's that time again. This is where I go out on a limb and look extra idiotic than usual. Time to make my predictions for this 2013-2014 Orlando Magic season. Last year's 39-win forecast was overly ambitious. Having experienced a full season under the control of Rob Hennigan and Jacque Vaughn I now will pull back on my optimism for victories. You can get 350-to-1 odds on the Magic winning the championship. Save your money. I will say to bet the over on the 23.5 regular season wins sportsbook predictions. Let's see by how much though when I break down the schedule.

The 2012-2013 campaign looked quite promising with Orlando starting out 2-0 (REMEMBER THAT?!) in almost dominant fashion against the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns. This go around though we find Orlando on the road in a back-to-back at Indiana and Minnesota. Ouch. Also, the Magic's 2-6 preseason record is a bad omen as my analysis proves as last season's squad and the '89-'90 Magic an attest to. See, don't say the preseason doesn't matter. History says it does. But this roster is better than those 18-win and 20-win sides.

Here's what I envision will be the player depth chart come Opening Night Tuesday at Indiana:
C: Nikola Vucevic, Kyle O'Quinn, Solomon Jones
PF: Jason Maxiell, Andrew Nicholson
SF: Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris
SG: Arron Afflalo, E'Twaun Moore, Doron Lamb
PG: Jameer Nelson, Victor Oladipo, Ronnie Price

Remember, we're waiting on a Hedo buyout, and Glen Davis is still out hurt and recovering. Also, in Jacque Vaughn's world, 'position' means little. With Tobias and even Victor, it's not if you start, it's all about being on the court late in crunch time to close out contests.

I'll go out on a limb and say that ONE MAGIC PLAYER WILL MAKE THE ALL-STAR GAME THIS SEASON. Yes, and I'm thinking it'll be one of Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, or Vicor Oladipo. It's all about playing time in the case for Tobias and Victor. Nik just needs to improve at a marginal pace and I think he'll get a legitimate chance of getting chosen as a coaching staff pick. It'll also help those three young gentlemen when two of Jameer Nelson, Glen Davis, and/or Arron Afflalo get traded by February. It's all about who can and can't avoid the injury bug. Big Baby was having All-Star moments during last year's 12-13 surprise beginning to the season before Emeka Okafor ruined him.

So right, the schedule win-loss prediction breakdown. Due to the subtle tanking that will be occurring (as opposed to blatantly obvious tanking that the Sixers and Suns are exhibiting), I expect Orlando to finish with 31 victories. That also means 11th in the East (In front of Philadelphia, Boston, the Bobcats, and Toronto *Insert Milwaukee for Toronto if Raptors care about winning*) and just barely beating out Charlotte for 4th place in the Southeast as Miami will conquer the division, Washington will make the playoffs, and Atlanta will be a fringe playoff spot contender. Let's see where those 31 wins will come from:

Orlando @ Indiana              10/29/2013    Loss
Orlando @ Minnesota         10/30/2013    Loss
Orlando vs. New Orleans    11/01/2013    Win
Orlando vs. Brooklyn          11/03/2013    Loss
Orlando vs. LA Clippers     11/06/2013    Loss
Orlando vs. Boston             11/08/2013    Win
Orlando @ Atlanta              11/09/2013    Loss
Orlando @ Boston              11/11/2013    Win
Orlando vs. Milwaukee        11/13/2013    Win
Orlando vs. Dallas                11/16/2013    Loss
Orlando vs. Miami                11/20/2013    Win
Orlando @ Miami                 11/23/2013    Loss
Orlando vs. Phoenix              11/24/2013    Win
Orlando @ Atlanta                11/26/2013    Loss
Orlando vs. Philadelphia         11/27/2013   Win
Orlando vs. San Antonio         11/29/2013   Loss
Orlando @ Washington           12/2/2013     Loss
Orlando @ Philadelphia           12/3/2013    Win
Orlando @ New York            12/6/2013     Loss
Orlando @ Houston                12/8/2013     Loss
Orlando @ Memphis               12/9/2013     Loss
Orlando @ Charlotte               12/11/2013   Win
Orlando vs. Cleveland              12/13/2013   Win
Orlando @ Oklahoma City       12/15/2013   Loss
Orlando @ Chicago                 12/16/2013   Loss
Orlando vs. Utah                      12/18/2013   Win
Orlando vs. Sacramento            12/21/2013   Loss
Orlando vs. New York              12/23/2013   Win
Orlando vs. Detroit                    12/27/2013   Loss
Orlando vs. Atlanta                    12/29/2013   Win
Orlando vs. Golden State           12/31/2013   Loss
Orlando @ Cleveland                1/2/2014       Loss
Orlando vs. Miami                     1/4/2014       Win
Orlando @ LA Clippers             1/6/2014       Loss
Orlando @ Portland                   1/8/2014       Loss
Orlando @ Sacramento              1/10/2014     Win
Orlando @ Denver                     1/11/2014     Loss
Orlando @ Dallas                       1/13/2014     Loss
Orlando vs. Chicago                   1/15/2014     Loss
Orlando vs. Charlotte                  1/17/2014     Win
Orlando vs. Boston                     1/19/2014     Win
Orlando @ Brooklyn                  1/21/2014     Loss
Orlando vs. Atlanta                     1/22/2014     Win
Orlando vs. LA Lakers               1/24/2014     Win
Orlando @ New Orleans            1/26/2014     Loss
Orlando @ Detroit                      1/28/2014     Loss
Orlando @ Toronto                    1/29/2014     Loss
Orlando vs. Milwaukee               1/31/2014     Win
Orlando @ Boston                      2/2/2014       Win
Orlando @ Indiana                      2/3/2014       Loss
Orlando vs. Detroit                      2/5/2014       Win
Orlando vs. Oklahoma City          2/7/2014       Loss
Orlando vs. Indiana                      2/9/2014       Loss
Orlando vs. Memphis                   2/12/2014     Loss
Orlando @ Milwaukee                 2/18/2014     Loss
Orlando @ Cleveland                   2/19/2014     Loss
Orlando vs. New York                 2/21/2014     Win
Orlando @ Toronto                      2/23/2014     Loss
Orlando @ Washington                2/25/2014     Loss
Orlando @ Philadelphia                2/26/2014     Win
Orlando @ Miami                         3/1/2014       Loss
Orlando vs. Philadelphia                3/2/2014       Win
Orlando vs. Houston                      3/5/2014      Win
Orlando @ San Antonio                3/8/2014       Loss
Orlando @ Milwaukee                  3/10/2014     Loss
Orlando vs. Denver                       3/12/2014     Win
Orlando vs. Washington                3/14/2014      Loss
Orlando @ Golden State               3/18/2014      Loss
Orlando @ Phoenix                       3/19/2014     Win
Orlando @ Utah                            3/22/2014     Loss
Orlando @ LA Lakers                   3/23/2014     Loss
Orlando vs. Portland                      3/25/2014     Loss
Orlando vs. Charlotte                     3/28/2014     Win
Orlando vs. Toronto                       3/30/2014     Win
Orlando vs. Cleveland                    4/2/2014       Loss
Orlando @ Charlotte                      4/4/2014       Loss
Orlando vs. Minnesota                    4/5/2014       Loss
Orlando vs. Brooklyn                     4/9/2014       Loss
Orlando vs. Washington                  4/11/2014     Loss
Orlando @ Brooklyn                      4/13/2014     Loss
Orlando @ Chicago                        4/14/2014     Loss
Orlando vs. Indiana                         4/16/2014     Win

I really tried to be pessimistic with this team, and maybe we'll see a lengthy losing streak, but there are a lot of teams - could be as high as 9 - tanking and Orlando will get a few signature wins against the likes of Miami just because playoff teams will look past them and will bite the bullet. It just happens during an 82-game season. Also, this schedule isn't that scary. If Orlando even plays up to 75% of its potential and can avoid the injury 'bug', then they could sniff at snagging an eight seed just based on all the volatility from the middle and bottom East teams. For those Magic fans foaming at the mouth for the Wiggins and Randles out there, taper back your hopes and start examining guys like Exum and Smart as far as the 2014 Draft goes. Immediately following that draft, the journey back to the playoffs begins and we can stop talking about 'tanking'.

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