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A Look At The Road Ahead For The Orlando Magic

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With the stark realization that All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson will probably sit out the remainder of the season due to a torn right labrum, a probability made more likely with the Orlando Magic's recent acquisition of Tyronn Lue from the Milwaukee Bucks to shore up its depth problem at point guard, it'll be interesting to see how the team adjusts to life without Nelson. 

So far, Orlando is 1-1 with Jameer sidelined, with a win over the Los Angeles Clippers & a loss to the Indiana Pacers. It's evident that Orlando will not be able to maintain such a torrid pace record-wise with an All-Star relegated to sitting on the bench in street clothes, but the question now is how will the Magic fare in the win/loss column moving forward?

 

I decided to take a look at Orlando's remaining schedule for the month of February and see how the team matches up against each respective opponent. Here's how the Magic stack up for the rest of the month. 

 

Click after the jump to see the results. 

 

Orlando Magic:

Pace: 92.6 (10th), Offensive Rating: 110.8 (5th), Defensive Rating: 101.9 (3rd)

 

 

Remaining schedule for the month of February:

 

Feb. 8th (home)

New Jersey Nets:

Pace: 89.9 (24th), Offensive Rating: 107.9 (13th), Defensive Rating: 110.3 (26th)

 

Feb. 11th (home)

Denver Nuggets:

Pace: 94.5 (4th), Offensive Rating: 110.3 (7th), Defensive Rating: 105.9 (10th)

 

Feb. 17th & 20th (home & away)

Charlotte Bobcats:

Pace: 87.8 (27th), Offensive Rating: 103.1 (27th), Defensive Rating: 105.8 (8th)

 

Feb. 18th (away)

New Orleans Hornets:

Pace: 87.5 (28th), Offensive Rating: 109.6 (9th), Defensive Rating: 106.6 (12th)

 

Feb. 22nd (home)

Miami Heat:

Pace: 90.4 (18th), Offensive Rating: 106.5 (19th), Defensive Rating: 105.8 (8th)

 

Feb. 24th (away)

Chicago Bulls:

Pace: 93.9 (9th), Offensive Rating: 105.9 (22nd), Defensive Rating: 108.0 (17th)

 

Feb. 25th (away)

New York Knicks:

Pace: 97.2 (2nd), Offensive Rating: 107.0 (16th), Defensive Rating: 109.4 (22nd)

 

Feb. 27th (home)

Detroit Pistons:

Pace: 87.3 (29th), Offensive Ratings: 105.8 (24th), Defensive Ratings: 106.0 (11th)

 

Feb. 28th (away)

Philadelphia 76ers:

Pace: 90.9 (16th), Offensive Rating: 105.9 (22nd), Defensive Rating: 105.2 (6th)

 

Before I divulge into my thoughts, it's important to note that Orlando's Offensive Rating will take a hit. It's nearly impossible to replicate Nelson's production, so it's safe to state that the Magic's offense won't be nearly as potent as before. How big will the drop-off be? I'd consider Orlando's offensive output, statistically, to be more average, middle-of-the-road now, especially when you consider going from Nelson (Offensive Rating of 121) to Johnson (Offensive Rating of 107) or Lue (Offensive Rating of 110) at the point-guard spot. The point can be made that other players on the team could pick up the slack a bit but given that the league average for Offensive Rating is 107.6, hard to argue Orlando won't hover around that number from now on. However, the team's defense should be fine and remain one of the tops in the league, which is important because it means the Magic will be in any game due to its excellent defensive play. 

 

Taking a look at the schedule, you'll see that the Magic have a favorable road ahead for the rest of February. Only the games against Denver, New Orleans, and Detroit appear to be possible losses for Orlando, though naturally any game could be a potential defeat. It's important to note Chris Paul may be out when the Magic face the Hornets, so Orlando could steal a game in New Orleans. Although the Magic - on paper - are the better team than the Pistons, the team's historical troubles against Detroit can't be ignored. The 76ers match-up also may be a loss for Orlando, given how well Philly has been playing lately without Elton Brand, who's now out for the season. 

 

Granted, injuries & trades can change the complexion of the upcoming schedule for the Magic, but if every team remains status quo, Orlando should end the month 7-3 given the opponents on the schedule. Considering the team's circumstances, that wouldn't be a bad finish.