COMMENTARY | The 2013-14 NBA season is just more than a quarter of the way over for the Orlando Magic, as the team is 6-15 after dropping six straight games.
With 61 games still to play, however, the Magic are on pace to improve slightly from a NBA-worst record of 20-62 a season ago.
Orlando got off to a promising start by winning its first three home games to improve to 3-2 on the season, but since have gone just 3-12. The Magic have had their fair share of injuries with starters Glen Davis, Tobias Harris, Jameer Nelson and center Nikola Vucevic all missing time. Orlando has also been dreadful away from the Amway Center, going a NBA-worst 1-10 on the road.
At 6-15, the Orlando Magic have the fourth-worst record in the NBA, but there is still time to improve as the season progresses. Looking back on the first quarter of the season, here are the individuals who have stood out and who have struggled for the Magic early on:
First Quarter Team Awards
MVP - Arron Afflalo, G
Guard Arron Afflalo, one of Orlando's few veterans, has been without a doubt the heart and soul of the Orlando Magic early on in the 2013-14 season. Afflalo leads the Magic averaging just under 22 points per game and has scored in double-figures in 20 straight games. In a 126-125 double-overtime loss to Philadelphia on December 3, Afflalo scored a career-high 43 points. Afflalo has shot 48 percent from the field this season and is also averaging 4.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game, while ranking ninth in the NBA in three-pointers made and 11th in scoring.
Rookie of the Year - Victor Oladipo, G
Orlando's only rookie, Victor Oladipo is proving to be a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate. Oladipo has been every bit as good as advertised defensively and has shown a better than anticipated outside shot. Oladipo leads the Magic averaging 1.7 steals per game and is already arguably the team's best on-the-ball defender. Oladipo scores just under 14 points per contest, grabs 4.6 rebounds and dishes out 3.5 assists per game. On December 3 in Philadelphia, Oladipo recorded his first career triple-double, finishing with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a loss to the 76ers.
Most Pleasant Surprise - Glen Davis, F
After coming back from a foot injury that some suggested could put his career in jeopardy, Glen Davis has fit in nicely with a young group of players. In just 10 games, Davis is averaging 13.6 points per game and nearly six rebounds while shooting a respectable 46 percent from the field. Davis scored a career-high 33 points in the aforementioned loss to Philadelphia in early-December, and has provided a nice veteran presence since his return.
Biggest Disappointment - Maurice Harkless, F
After a strong finish to his rookie season, 20-year-old Maurice Harkless was supposed to take on a bigger role for the Magic, particularly with Tobias Harris out of the lineup. Harkless, however, has not shown the progress that Orlando had hoped. The second-year forward from St. John's has seen his numbers dip in terms of points, rebounds and field-goal percentage. Harkless is averaging less than six points per game in the month of December and has been held scoreless in two of his last four outings.
Best Offseason Acquisition - Jason Maxiell, F
While the Magic were relatively quiet in free agency, Jason Maxiell played well early on in Glen Davis' absence. Maxiell has seen a recent dip in minutes, but is averaging just under five points and three rebounds per game on the season. Maxiell has also shot 49 percent from the field and has continued to be a solid defender on the block.
Best Win - November 6 in Orlando: L.A. Clippers 90, Magic 98
Against one of the better teams in the Western Conference, the Orlando Magic rallied late to top their former head coach Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers early on in the season. Nikola Vucevic grabbed 21 rebounds and tied a career-high with 30 points, including 10 of Orlando's final 12 for the night. Trailing 89-88 in the final quarter, the Magic finished the game on a 10-1 run.
Worst Loss - December 6 in New York: Magic 83, N.Y. Knicks 121
Against a New York Knicks team that was just 4-13 entering the contest, the Magic gave up a season-high 121 points in regulation while allowing New York to shoot 53 percent from the field and make 17 three-pointers. Orlando trailed by just five at the half, but was outscored in the second half by a 62-29 margin.
The Orlando Magic will resume play against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night in a matchup of the league's worst two teams from a season ago. As many expected, the Magic are among the worst teams in the NBA this season, but have dealt with key injuries.
Orlando appears to have a number of pieces in place for the future, although two of its biggest, Vucevic and forward Tobias Harris, are currently out with injuries. The Magic have been dismal on the road this season but are an even 5-5 at home.
Victor Oladipo has been one of the NBA's best rookies and looks to have a very bright future for the Magic, whether it be at point guard or shooting guard. If Vucevic had enough games to qualify, he would once again be amongst the NBA's top five rebounders as well. Jacque Vaughn is in his second year as head coach of the Magic, but to this point, injuries have kept his team's improvement to a minimum.
Mike Ferguson is a Central Florida native and an Orlando Magic contributor for Yahoo Sports.
- Sports & Recreation
- Orlando Magic
- Arron Afflalo
- Victor Oladipo
- Glen Davis
- Nikola Vucevic
- Tobias Harris