The Fan Voice: "Win Total”
By Live or Die Magic | November 26th, 2012
It is hard to know what to expect from this season’s Magic squad. What can we surmise from those two early home victories and a couple of wins over a sad sack Detroit Pistons squad? We are either the team that took a veteran Boston Celtics team to overtime or the team that only managed 68 points against a Nets team still figuring itself out. One thing that is evident is that this team is getting to know itself on the fly, with nearly every contributor in an unfamiliar position. The veterans are finding themselves with heavier workloads than at any point in their careers, while the young players are testing their NBA legs for the first time.
Still, we know the victories will come as the team begins to come together. With so many people in the Magic organization (front office, coaching staff, players) in new positions, it is reasonable to think that who the Magic will be at the midpoint of the season differs from who the Magic are now. So far, we have faced teams on a similar level as us and we have also faced teams that are clearly below us. Outside of the Knicks, we have yet to face a truly elite team. So, we do not yet know if the Magic are capable of stealing an upset or three from championship contending teams this season. It was my curiosity about how the Magic would perform against elite squads that made me decide to breakdown the remaining schedule in terms of the quality of opponent.
The categories and how the teams were placed into them are completely my own doing, based simply on my opinion at this early point in the season. The three categories are “elite teams,” “teams comparable to the Magic,” and “teams worse than the Magic.” Teams in the elite category include but are not limited to the OK City Thunder, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, etc. Teams comparable to the Magic include those teams that should be better than us (Golden State, Philadelphia, Utah, etc.), but also those teams that we should be better than (Charlotte, Phoenix, Portland, etc.). It is this category from which the majority of our remaining opponents come. Teams worse than the Magic include the Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Detroit Pistons.
It is an admittedly simple theory, but I figure if the Magic can beat some of the teams they shouldn't beat, half of the teams they could beat, and most of the teams they should beat, they can reach 30 wins or more.
Let’s take a look at the numbers. We have a total of 25 remaining games against the elite teams in the league. If we can go roughly .250 against those teams, we can get 6 wins. Yes, this might mean upsets of teams like the Clippers, the Knicks, or the Spurs, but it also could include less far-fetched wins over the Nets, the Bulls, or the Hawks.
We have 28 remaining games against teams comparable to us. If we can go .500 against those teams, that’s another 14 wins. It is these matchups that will be the most competitive for our squad. These will be the most hard-fought victories. It is against these teams that we will see what kind of team this year’s Magic squad is. It will mean tough wins (or losses) against teams like the Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, and Houston Rockets, but also less surprising wins over teams like Portland, Charlotte, and Indiana.
Finally, we have 16 games remaining against teams that currently own the six worst records in the league (Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, Washington, Sacramento, and New Orleans). If we can go .750 in those games, that is another 12 wins right there. The Magic should be able to win all of these games, but like we saw already against Toronto, there will be slip-ups, even against awful teams. And let’s be honest, we can’t expect the Magic to be giant killers several times this season and not expect them to give back those wins against lesser opponents themselves!
So, if you take the 5 wins the Magic already own and add up my projected wins in the three categories (6, 14, and 12, respectively) that brings us to 37 wins. Now, even I must admit that 37 wins seems entirely unrealistic based on what we have seen so far from this team. So, in the interest of keeping things more palatable for you guys, let’s knock 7 wins off the top right now. That means a few less upsets, a few more losses to teams we should beat, and a few more close calls to teams right there with us. Considering we have yet to see how Al Harrington can help our front court rotation, how many positive contributions we can expect from a healthy Hedo Turkoglu, and how much progress our young players make this season, I don’t think 30 wins is a stretch.
I know many Magic fans would be content to watch the young players develop, watch Big Baby Davis launch 25 shots a night, and watch the ping pong balls bounce. All of these things may still come to pass. Personally, I like the notion of rebuilding while also giving the fans plenty to cheer about. All that development and growth the Magic will experience as the year progresses will most certainly translate into victories. The question is, how many? So to be fair to those of you who may disagree with me, let’s revisit my theory at the All-Star break and see where the Magic stand.
This message was not subject of approval by the NBA or the Orlando Magic. The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of the Orlando Magic or the NBA, but solely the writer.
"My life will go on, this much I know. Cars and games will come and go. But never once will I forgetta, the way we danced, dear Dick Bavetta." - from "I Left My Heart In Dick Bavetta"