NBA Preseason Power Rankings: No. 23 Orlando Magic

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Jan 14, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo (5) and guard Elfrid Payton (4) high five after Oladipo dunked against the Houston Rockets during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Houston Rockets 120-113. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We have the Orlando Magic in at #23 because they convinced Tobias Harris to re-sign with the team. Harris leaving would have hurt a talented young core, but with Harris, the Magic are quietly becoming relevant again in the NBA.

The Magic brought in experienced head coach Scott Skiles to lead their talented young core. The Magic lacked toughness and defensive discipline, and that is what Skiles brings to the table. The Magic don’t have much concern on offense. Four young players averaged 12+ points per game last season per ESPN.com. The Magic will compete once they play defense.

What should fans look forward to this season?

Fans should look forward to overall improvement. The Magic have been building through the draft after Dwight Howard, and the Magic have been successful with Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, and Mario Hezonja. They also signed Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris to extensions these last two seasons, so the Magic have put together some talent. The Magic just aren’t ready to contend in the East. Scott Skiles is only in his first year, and their young core will have to adapt to a new system. They will look smoother than last season, but they need to find out how to play better as a team before they take off in the East.

What is their projected starting lineup?

PG- Elfrid Payton

SG- Victor Oladipo

SF- Tobias Harris

PF- Aaron Gordon

C- Nikola Vucevic

Who can emerge as a star?

Nikola Vucevic will emerge as a star. Vucevic is the most underrated player in the NBA because not much media attention goes to the Orlando Magic. Last season, Vucevic averaged 19.3 points and 10.9 rebounds per game per ESPN.com, both ranked top 5 among NBA centers. He also led the Magic in both of those categories. His offensive game is smooth and efficient, but his defense needs a litttle help. Elfrid Payton’s progression and Scott Skiles demands will only make Vucevic better. 

What will be their final record?

34-48

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