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NBA offseason 2014: Orlando Magic get positive assessment

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A CBS Sports scribe came away impressed with Orlando's summer moves.

Elfrid Payton
Elfrid Payton
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Between the signing of Ben Gordon; the selecting of Aaron Gordon over players like Dante Exum and Julius Randle; and trading up to acquire the NBA Draft rights to Elfrid Payton, the Orlando Magic made several surprising moves over the summer. SB Nation NBA editor Tom Ziller wasn't alone when he wondered if Orlando, which won just 23 games in the 2013/14 season, got worse instead of better.

Why would a rebuilding team pay Ben Gordon, an undersize wing on the decline, $4.5 million per season? What did the Magic see in the raw Aaron Gordon that made them prefer him to other players who appear to have higher ceilings? What's the upside in giving up two valuable assets--the rights to Dario Saric and a future first-rounder--to move up two spots for Payton, a speedy point guard with severe limitations offensively?

Matt Moore of CBS Sports has mulled those questions and others and still believes in what Orlando's doing as it continues its rebuilding project. He doesn't like signing Ben Gordon, for example, but says "I get it," given the low risk the addition offers. He likes how Channing Frye, now the Magic's highest-paid player, might spread the floor for the likes of Victor Oladipo and Payton; before departing Orlando Pinstriped Post, Tyler Lashbrook broke down that idea with an in-depth film study. Aaron Gordon will help those two guards push the pace in transition, Moore says.

And in sum, he gives the Magic a "B" for its offseason overhaul: "[T]here's a plan here, albeit a strange and unconventional one, and I'll give points for that if nothing else," says Moore, who highlights the unconventional approach Orlando used over the summer.

Typically, he says, teams add young, offensively minded players and hope to develop their defense later. Orlando's flipped that approach on its head, drafting for defense and adding offense via free agency.

What do you make of Moore's assessment of the Magic?

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