Ok - so let's talk predictions. I'll start it off with our Southeast Division rivals, the Orlando Magic -
Signed guard Anthony Johnson. 11-Year Veteran will replace Arroyo as the backup PG. Shoots a much better 3-point percentage than Arroyo.
Signed guard Mickael Pietrus. Versatile and athletic. Pietrus is an upgrade at SG.
Signed their first round draft pick (#22) Courtney Lee. He's a smart, strong and versatile shooting guard; and many people thought the Wizards should have picked him. It will be at least 2-years before he'll be any help to the Magic.
Carlos Arroyo signed with a team in Israel.
PG - Jameer Nelson - Became more efficient at the offensive end last year. He was able to push the ball on the break. Look for him to have another fine year.
SG - Mickael Pietrus - An upgrade over last year.
C - Dwight Howard - How much will the wear and tear of the Olympics affect the dream teamers? He needs to improve his foul shooting, otherwise teams will be looking to hack-a-Dwight at the end of games.
F - Rashard Lewis - brought just what Orlando wanted from him, scoring. Look for even more from him this year. He needs to improve his 3-point percentage.
F - Hedo Turkoglu - Many thought Turkoglu deserved an All-Star appearance last year.....and he may get it this year.
J.J. Redick, Courtney Lee
It's been a quiet off-season for the Orlando Magic. They made a couple of small moves in the free agent market. They signed their GM Otis Smith to a multi-year contract extension. Smith, as you know, was instrumental in acquiring All-Star forward Rashard Lewis, signing All-NBA center Dwight Howard to a contract extension, and acquiring Head Coach Stan Van Gundy.
Did they get better? Maybe a little. The addition of Pietrus should help a little. Certainly, some good things can be said about continuity. If Courtney Lee makes a quantum jump and tears up the league, that would help (Keep dreaming - people were saying the same thing about JJ Reddick last year)... They didn't do much to improve their bench.
Did they need to get better? YES - if they wanted to contend for the Championship. In my opinion, they're still one key piece away from being an elite team.
The bottom line though, is that Orlando is the same team as last year.... and they will have similar results to last year.
Prediction: 52 - 30 1st in the Southeast Division