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NBA season preview: Magic "right on schedule" in rebuild, but rough days remain

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One analytic projection says that Orlando's 25th NBA season will also be its worst.

Jacque Vaughn
Jacque Vaughn
USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic are coming off a rough season, one in which they lost 49 of their final 57 games en route to finishing with the league's worst record at 20-62. And while there are some reasons for optimism in Orlando, ESPN Insider analyst Bradford Doolittle projects more pain ahead.

According to Doolittle's NBAPET projection system--an unbiased, objective formula--the Magic will finish their 25th-anniversary season with the league's worst record at 16-66. He's careful to note that these projections can change daily based on offseason player movement, so perhaps NBAPET will be more kind to the Magic once all the league's teams are finished adding and subtracting over the summer. For now, though, the picture is bleak.

On the plus side, Doolittle says, the Magic are "right on schedule" in their rebuild and boast a trio of talented youngsters in Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, and Nik Vučević. Further, another poor season should put them in great lottery position to select Andrew Wiggins "or somebody else with a lot of potential" in the 2014 NBA Draft.

To continue Orlando's rebuild, Doolittle suggests that general manager Rob Hennigan continue to clean house by trading Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson, because they "don't really need to be a part of this." Waiving Al Harrington and Hedo Türkoğlu, whose contracts are only partially guaranteed, could also help the Magic move forward

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