The Orlando Magic have been one of the NBA’s worst teams over the past 10 seasons. In seven of those years, they have failed to win 30 games, and even though one of those was a COVID-truncated 72-game season, 21-51 still would’ve required them to win nine out of ten in an 82-game season. And that was never realistic.
This year, Orlando faces 2,000 to 1 odds of winning the title. Face it, 2023 may become the worst season this team has ever had.
But this isn’t about the future. We have to consider what’s already happened. And since Orlando catches a break for their 18-64 expansion year, that means we’re talking 2013, when they went 20-62.
The On-Court Record
Orlando made the Finals in 2009. Dwight Howard ran Stan Van Gundy out of town before leaving to poison the Lakers after the 2012 season. And the race to the bottom, still ongoing today, was on.
Things started out well enough. The Magic were 12-13 after 25 games.
Then the bottom fell out.
Orlando lost 10 in a row and 23 of 25 to drop to 14-36. Between March 10 and the end of the season, they went 2-16.
When it was all done, Orlando’s minus-7.5 Net Rating placed 29th in the league. Only the brutal Bobcats, 21-61 after posting a 7-59 record the year before, were worse. Charlotte landed at minus-10.0.
Orlando “earned” the second pick in the 2013 draft. Unlike some teams who whiff on their picks, Orlando picked Victor Oladipo.
Unfortunately for the Magic, Oladipo didn’t get good until his fifth year in the league, and by then he was on the Indiana Pacers. Everywhere you look with this team, you see someone else’s happiness. You might mention Howard finally winning a title in 2020. Could be Oladipo. Or it could be Shaquille O’Neal. Because Shaq got over the hump after he left too.
The Featured Players
Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic” width=”2560″ height=”2521″ />
Dwight Howard left after the 2012 season. Jameer Nelson battled injuries and played in just 56 games. Glen Davis managed just 34 appearances. Nikola Vucevic led the team in games played with 77.
Put another way, injuries ravaged this squad.
Vucevic, at age 22, showed flashes of future greatness. He led the team with 5.7 Win Shares and .106 WS/48.
OK, Kyle O’Quinn technically led the team in WS/48 with .107. But he only played 638 minutes across 57 games.
Ish Smith was a complete garbage fire. In just 378 minutes, he managed minus-0.6 Win Shares.
And just for fun, Hedo Turkoglu joined this outfit, four years removed from his key role on that 2009 Finals team. He played in 11 games. He was out of the league two years later.
If ever a team demonstrated instantly how the mighty have fallen, the 2013 Magic was that team.
Poor Jacque Vaughn. He was never any good as a player, posting a career 4.5 points per game, .058 WS/48, and 1.5 VORP in 776 games played.
His coaching record left little to write home about as well.
Vaughn posted a career record of 65-151. All save ten of those games came as Orlando’s coach between 2013 and 2015 after Van Gundy got run out of town.
Vaughn put up a 7-3 record in Brooklyn in 2020, but that was as interim coach when Kenny Atkinson got his walking papers right before COVID hit.
Where there are teams bottoming out in this feature, there are coaches posting their candidacy for worst coach ever, and we’ve got another live one here.
Sorry, Jacque. But I call ’em like I see ’em around here. And your coaching career stunk.
Well, how’s “total crap” for an aftermath? Orlando won 23 games in 2014. They won 25 games in 2015. And it hasn’t gotten better since. They posted one winning season in the next nine years after rock bottom, a 42-40 campaign in 2019.
And they stink now. Between poor coaching and poor drafting, things do not look good.
The Magic are simply a pit of despair. No hope finds refuge here, and no respite comes to save their fans. They stink. They have stunk for a decade. And most predict that they will stink for years to come.
Jamahl Mosley is 22-60 as the coach of the Magic through one year, and he could challenge Vaughn before he’s done.
But hey, you’ll always have 2009, Magic fans. Let those memories sustain you as you watch yet another year of awful basketball.
NEXT: Philadelphia 76ers. Speaking of pits of despair, here’s Philly! The funniest part of this whole series might just be Sam Hinkie not even meriting better than a passing mention. Let’s take it back to the old school ’cause I’m an old fool who’s so cool. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!
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