With the spot lights all over Miami and all the other offseason free agent movements, i dont think people are seeing how hard the magic players are working this summer, I see progress from Dwight Howard with the new moves he learn from Hakeem and the shooting touch he developed, I see VC got in a better shape and got faster over the summer, MP worked hard to be a better defender, Bass worked hard to correct his mistakes and become more of a team player, Lewis show some aggressiveness in the preseaon by taking hard to the hoop, Ryan Anderson worked hard on both end, and so far the new addition are looking great, specially QRich and Standly, but I think the most important advantage that the Magic have this season is their CHEMISTRY, which Miami doesnt have but we will see, and Boston just got older. Anyways, I think Magic is still the underdog this season, but they are going to prove everyone that doubt it them wrong. Go Magic!
i think the magic wil be just as consistent as the last two years. the real mystery will be how good the Heat are gonna be. will the be the best team ever or a collection of allstars who can't gel and won't accept their roles. i can't predict anything regarding the playoffs other than Mr. selfish and the Lakers will win again. they have a coherent union and have some of the best roleplayers in history!( Artest, Odom and Bynum).
I don't know why so many people are counting out the Magic. They finished with the 2nd best record in the league last year and just had a bad series against the Celtics...it happens. This is a better team than last year! Everyone on this team (with the exception, I would say, of VC and Lewis) are still improving their games. JJ Reddick is primed to take over the starting SG spot, they upgraded their backup PG position and picked up a great player in Richardson. Dwight has improved is offence over the summer, and don't be surprised to see Jameer back in the same all-star form he was two years ago. I think they are going to surprise a lot of people with how much they improved over last season. New o-rena and new reasons to step up and beat the competition...I'm putting my money on the magic returning to the finals this year.
Don't overlook the fact that an NBA basketball game isn't just a list of statistics: When the playoffs come around, the Magic aren't going to be thrown under the bus like the weaker teams in the East like Washington or New Jersey. Playoff basketball, which is the only kind that ends up mattering, is centered around low post play. And what Miami is still lacking, is low post play. Yeah, Chris Bosh is a "power forward" but is one of the softer power forwards in the game. I'm not even saying he can't post up big, he just doesn't. He's famous for taking the outside shot because he does take the outside shot, a lot. Whereas, when he matches up with Rashard Lewis, he's going to find a power forward that is almost as mobile as he is, just as good of a shooter, but goes inside much more than Bosh does to get easier shots. I'd consider that match up a wash. Vince Carter isn't the athlete he used to be, but who is...? Dwayne Wade may be more athletic that Carter now, but Carter has a much better shooting touch and can score more consistently in pure shooting situations. Consider that match up a wash too (assuming Wade isn't hurt and Carter isn't having an off shooting night). Jameer Nelson, hands down, has the clear advantage over who ever the Heat throw out as a point guard. Dwight Howard, again, has the advantage over who ever the Heat throw out there for the center position. This is where I think the rubber is going to meet the road: Lebron James is going to utterly dominate who ever the Magic have try to check him. On the other side of the ball, Howard roams the key from the weak side as well as anyone in the league. The question, in my mind, is the Magic small forward going to be able to keep enough of a hip on Lebron as he goes down the lane to give Howard enough time to rotate over and try to make a play. In short, I think that a series played between the Heat and the Magic is going to be decided by who can make those cross match up/ help situations come out in their favor on a consistent basis. Note: I do understand that Lebron, Dwayne, and Dwight all have the potential to play at a level where they are completely unguardable. My prediction can only happen if they play well, not god-like. If they play at that level, all bets are off, and it's going to just be a show!