The Orlando Magic will begin the post-Dwight Howard era with a roster full of gentlemen who are completely undistinguished in the NBA. Aside from Hedo Turkoglu (2008 Most Improved Player) and Jameer Nelson (2009 All-Star; but he did not play in the game due to an injury), the Magic roster is devoid of players who have been distinguished with individual NBA honors.
Although the Magic did not receive equal talent back in the Howard trade, they did get five future draft picks in the deal. Orlando hopes that it can turn those future picks into some meaningful talent over the next few years.
However, those future draft picks will not help with the dearth of talent on Orlando's roster this season. The group of Arron Afflalo, Christian Eyenga, Moe Harkless, Al Harrington, Josh McRoberts and Nikola Vucevic will be unable to replace the effectiveness of a player like Howard. Orlando's lack of talent will make the first year of the post-Dwight Howard rebuilding project a long and difficult one for the Magic and their fans.
Here are game-by-game predictions for the 2012-2013 Orlando Magic:
Game 1, Friday, November 2 versus Denver Nuggets- Magic open their season with a loss to Andre Iguodala and the Nuggets (Record 0-1).
Game 2, Sunday, November 4 versus Phoenix Suns- Magic get a close win over the Suns at the Amway Center (Record 1-1).
Game 3, Tuesday, November 6 at Chicago Bulls- Magic fall to the Derrick Rose-less Bulls in the first half of a back-to-back (Record 1-2).
Game 4, Wednesday, November 7 at Minnesota Timberwolves- Magic play for the third time in four nights and drop a road game to the Timberwolves (Record 1-3).
Game 5, Friday, November 9 versus Brooklyn Nets- Magic lose to Brook Lopez and the Nets (Record 1-4).
Game 6, Sunday, November 11 at Brooklyn Nets- Magic fall to the Nets in their first trip to the Barclays Center (Record 1-5).
Game 7, Tuesday, November 13 versus New York Knicks- Magic drop a home game to the Knicks and suffer their fifth consecutive loss (Record 1-6).
Game 8, Friday, November 16 at Detroit Pistons- Magic open a three-game road trip with a loss to the Pistons (Record 1-7).
Game 9, Sunday, November 18 at Toronto Raptors- Magic lose a Sunday matinee to the Raptors at the Air Canada Centre (Record 1-8).
Game 10, Monday, November 19 at Atlanta Hawks- Magic fall to the Hawks and remain winless on the road (Record 1-9).
Game 11, Wednesday, November 21 versus Detroit Pistons- Magic open a five-game homestand with a win over the Pistons (Record 2-9).
Game 12, Friday, November 23 versus Cleveland Cavaliers- Magic lose to the Cavaliers (Record 2-10).
Game 13, Sunday, November 25 versus Boston Celtics- Magic fall to the Celtics (Record 2-11).
Game 14, Wednesday, November 28 versus San Antonio Spurs- Magic drop a home game to the Spurs (Record 2-12).
Game 15, Friday, November 30 versus Brooklyn Nets- Magic close November with a victory over the Nets (Record 3-12).
Game 16, Sunday, December 2 at Los Angeles Lakers- Magic open a five-game Western road swing with a loss to the Lakers (Record 3-13).
Game 17, Monday, December 3 at Golden State Warriors- Magic drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Warriors (Record 3-14).
Game 18, Wednesday, December 5 at Utah Jazz- Magic fall to the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena (Record 3-15).
Game 19, Friday, December 7 at Sacramento Kings- Magic continue to struggle and lose to the Kings (Record 3-16).
Game 20, Sunday, December 9 at Phoenix Suns- Magic get their first road win of the season with a victory over the Suns at US Airways Center (Record 4-16).
Game 21, Wednesday, December 12 versus Atlanta Hawks- Magic get a home win over the Hawks (Record 5-16).
Game 22, Friday, December 14 versus Golden State Warriors- Magic fall to the Warriors for the second time in less than two weeks (Record 5-17).
Game 23, Saturday, December 15 at Charlotte Bobcats- Magic drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena (Record 5-18).
Game 24, Monday, December 17 versus Minnesota Timberwolves- Magic open a brief two-game homestand with a victory over the Timberwolves (Record 6-18).
Game 25, Wednesday, December 19 versus Washington Wizards- Magic defeat the Wizards in Orlando for the sixth straight time (Record 7-18).
Game 26, Friday, December 21 at Toronto Raptors- Magic drop a road game to the Raptors (Record 7-19).
Game 27, Sunday, December 23 versus Utah Jazz- Magic lose to the Jazz for the fifth consecutive time (Record 7-20).
Game 28, Wednesday, December 26 versus New Orleans Hornets- Magic drop a close home game to the young Hornets (Record 7-21).
Game 29, Friday, December 28 at Washington Wizards- Magic visit the Nation's Capital and fall to John Wall and the Wizards (Record 7-22).
Game 30, Saturday, December 29 versus Toronto Raptors- Magic open a four-game homestand with a victory over the Raptors (Record 8-22).
Game 31, Monday, December 31 versus Miami Heat- Magic close 2012 with a loss to the Heat (Record 8-23).
Game 32, Wednesday, January 2 versus Chicago Bulls- Magic lose to the Bulls at the Amway Center for the fifth straight time (Record 8-24).
Game 33, Saturday, January 5 versus New York Knicks- Magic close a solid 2-2 homestand with a victory over Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks (Record 9-24).
Game 34, Monday, January 7 at Portland Trail Blazers- Magic get a road win over LaMarcus Aldridge and the Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden (Record 10-24).
Game 35, Wednesday, January 9 at Denver Nuggets- Magic lose to the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center (Record 10-25).
Game 36, Saturday, January 12 at Los Angeles Clippers- Magic drop a road game to Chris Paul and the Clippers at the Staples Center (Record 10-26).
Game 37, Monday, January 14 at Washington Wizards- Magic close a 1-3 road trip with a loss to the Wizards at the Verizon Center (Record 10-27).
Game 38, Wednesday, January 16 versus Indiana Pacers- Magic get an impressive home win over the Pacers (Record 11-27).
Game 39, Friday, January 18 versus Charlotte Bobcats- Magic drop a close game to the Bobcats (Record 11-28).
Game 40, Sunday, January 20 versus Dallas Mavericks- Magic lose a home game to the Mavericks for the seventh straight time (Record 11-29).
Game 41, Tuesday, January 22 at Detroit Pistons- Magic fall to the Pistons at the Palace (Record 11-30).
Game 42, Thursday, January 24 versus Toronto Raptors- Magic open a brief two-game homestand with a victory over the Raptors (Record 12-30).
Game 43, Sunday, January 27 versus Detroit Pistons- Magic defeat the Pistons to avenge a loss they suffered earlier in the week (Record 13-30).
Game 44, Monday, January 28 at Brooklyn Nets- Magic drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Nets (Record 13-31).
Game 45, Wednesday, January 30 at New York Knicks- Magic lose to the Knicks and suffer their sixth straight road loss (Record 13-32).
Game 46, Friday, February 1 at Boston Celtics- Magic open February with a loss to the Celtics (Record 13-33).
Game 47, Saturday, February 2 at Milwaukee Bucks- Magic continue to struggle and fall to the Bucks at the Bradley Center (Record 13-34).
Game 48, Monday, February 4 at Philadelphia 76ers- Magic close a winless five-game road trip with a loss to the 76ers (Record 13-35).
Game 49, Wednesday, February 6 versus Los Angeles Clippers- Magic get a solid home win over the Clippers (Record 14-35).
Game 50, Friday, February 8 at Cleveland Cavaliers- Magic drop a road game to Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers (Record 14-36).
Game 51, Sunday, February 10 versus Portland Trail Blazers- Magic fall to the Trail Blazers at the Amway Center (Record 14-37).
Game 52, Wednesday, February 13 versus Atlanta Hawks- Magic drop a home game to the Hawks (Record 14-38).
Game 53, Tuesday, February 19 versus Charlotte Bobcats- Magic open the second half of the season with a victory over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Bobcats (Record 15-38).
Game 54, Wednesday, February 20 at Dallas Mavericks- Magic drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Mavericks (Record 15-39).
Game 55, Friday, February 22 at Memphis Grizzlies- Magic fall to the Grizzlies at the FedExForum for the fifth consecutive time (Record 15-40).
Game 56, Saturday, February 23 versus Cleveland Cavaliers- Magic play for the fourth time in five nights and drop a home game to the Cavaliers (Record 15-41).
Game 57, Tuesday, February 26 at Philadelphia 76ers- Magic get a road win over the 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center (Record 16-41).
Game 58, Wednesday, February 27 versus Sacramento Kings- Magic beat the Kings to successfully complete a back-to-back (Record 17-41).
Game 59, Friday, March 1 versus Houston Rockets- Magic begin March with a home loss to Jeremy Lin and the Rockets (Record 17-42).
Game 60, Sunday, March 3 versus Memphis Grizzlies- Magic lose the battle of the boards and drop a home game to the Grizzlies (Record 17-43).
Game 61, Monday, March 4 at New Orleans Hornets- Magic fall to Anthony Davis and the Hornets in the second half of a back-to-back (Record 17-44).
Game 62, Wednesday, March 6 at Miami Heat- Magic drop a road game to the Heat (Record 17-45).
Game 63, Friday, March 8 versus Indiana Pacers- Magic fall to the Pacers at the Amway Center (Record 17-46).
Game 64, Sunday, March 10 versus Philadelphia 76ers- Magic lose to Andrew Bynum and the 76ers (Record 17-47).
Game 65, Tuesday, March 12 versus Los Angeles Lakers- Magic complete an 0-3 homestand with a loss to Dwight Howard and the visiting Lakers (Record 17-48).
Game 66, Friday, March 15 at Oklahoma City Thunder- Magic open a four-game road trip with a loss to the Thunder (Record 17-49).
Game 67, Sunday, March 17 at Milwaukee Bucks- Magic lose a Sunday matinee to the Bucks (Record 17-50).
Game 68, Tuesday, March 19 at Indiana Pacers- Magic get a solid road win over the Pacers (Record 18-50).
Game 69, Wednesday, March 20 at New York Knicks- Magic fall to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden (Record 18-51).
Game 70, Friday, March 22 versus Oklahoma City Thunder- Magic open a brief two-game homestand with a loss to Kevin Durant and the Thunder (Record 18-52).
Game 71, Monday, March 25 versus Miami Heat- Magic drop a home game to LeBron James and the Heat (Record 18-53).
Game 72, Wednesday, March 27 at Charlotte Bobcats- Magic defeat the Bobcats (Record 19-53).
Game 73, Friday, March 29 versus Washington Wizards- Magic beat the Wizards in the first half of a back-to-back (Record 20-53).
Game 74, Saturday, March 30 at Atlanta Hawks- Magic play for the third time in four nights and drop a road game to the Hawks at Philips Arena (Record 20-54).
Game 75, Monday, April 1 at Houston Rockets- Magic open April with a road win over the Rockets (Record 21-54).
Game 76, Wednesday, April 3 at San Antonio Spurs- Magic lose the second leg of the Texas Two Step to the Spurs (Record 21-55).
Game 77, Friday, April 5 at Chicago Bulls- Magic get a win over the Bulls at the United Center (Record 22-55).
Game 78, Sunday, April 7 at Cleveland Cavaliers- Magic end a 2-3 road trip with a loss to the Cavaliers (Record 22-56).
Game 79, Wednesday, April 10 versus Milwaukee Bucks- Magic begin a three-game homestand with a loss to the Bucks (Record 22-57).
Game 80, Saturday, April 13 versus Boston Celtics- Magic lose to the Celtics for the eighth consecutive time (Record 22-58).
Game 81, Monday, April 15 versus Chicago Bulls- Magic drop their final home game of the season to the Bulls (Record 22-59).
Game 82, Wednesday, April 17 at Miami Heat- Magic close the season with a loss to the Heat (Record 22-60).
Prediction: The Orlando Magic and their fans will suffer through some serious growing pains as the post-Dwight Howard rebuilding project begins.
Mark is a lifelong fan of the NBA who has loved the game of basketball ever since his first trip to an NBA arena. Mark has watched more basketball games than anyone can count and has hundreds of articles about the NBA published on the internet. Mark also shares his random NBA musings and game-by-game predictions on RandomNBAFan.com.
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