The Orlando Magic: Ready to Roll in 2010

By Gregory Carey

One of my favorite thing about religiously following any team in sports is the fact that I live their events just as they do through the span of each year. Their successes become my own, and their failures mine too.

When things are good, you're on the top of the world with them. When things are worse, you're legitimately disappointed in them like you would be with a pet or child who just let you down. Regardless, you're always there for them.

As a fan of the Orlando Magic, last season was one of the best ones in recent memory. Having been discounted by the NBA world as a team with a good record that wouldn't make it past Cleveland or Boston, many felt that the Magic simply couldn't compete at the level of these teams.

Despite their injury issues, many still favored the Celtics to surpass the Magic in their series. Between the home court advantage, the veteran experience in Boston, and the inexperience in Orlando, the Magic were written off early in the series. Against Cleveland, no one gave the team a chance, despite the fact that the Magic had won the season series against the Cavs. Orlando quieted the doubters with a run to the NBA finals, their second since the mid 90s.

Aside from the momentum that any NBA finals run brings, Orlando has bolstered its roster tremendously during the off-season. Vince Carter is one of the top players in the league, and the threesome of Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, and Vince Carter will undoubtedly be one of the strongest in the NBA. Building around them, the team has made some nice moves, with the addition of Matt Barnes, Ryan Anderson, and Brandon Bass, all of whom are capable of building around these All-Stars and strengthening the team all around. Rashard Lewis will sit out the first three weeks of the season due to a substance abuse violation, but the team remains strong as ever nonetheless.

In 2008-2009, the absence of Lewis would have been a major problem for the team; but with the addition of Carter and the other three players mentioned, the Orlando Magic have little to worry about.

As Lewis will miss about 12% of the season right out of the gates, the team will increasingly depend on its newly acquired role players in Lewis's absence. Its supporting cast, which includes Barnes, Redick, Pietrus, Bass, Anderson, Gortat, and others, will see some extra playing time in Lewis's absence and should gain quick experience that will be invaluable through the course of the rest of the season.

The team's depth without Lewis speaks volumes about this team's potential. The Orlando Magic will perhaps be the NBA's deepest team in 09-10. - 31494

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