This is a series to look at how the Wizards stack up against their opponents in the East, where they finished 44-38 last season for a No. 5 playoff seed and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Today:
2013-14 finish: 23-59, 5th in Southeast Division; missed postseason for second straight season.
Season series vs. Wizards: Wizards won 4-0 in the regular season.
Key losses: SG Arron Afflalo, PG Jameer Nelson.
Key addition: PF Channing Frye, SG Ben Gordon, PG Luke Ridnour, PF Aaron Gordon, PG Elfrid Payton, SG Roy Devyn Marble.
Outlook: Lottery-bound. The Magic entered this offseason loaded with interesting young talent led by Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris. If the powers that be decided time had come for a playoff push, adding a key veteran or two might have indeed put Orlando in the Eastern Conference postseason mix. Instead, the Magic traded Afflalo, an All-Star level talent and their lone fully formed perimeter asset. Letting Nelson exit makes sense, though replacing him with Ridnour is at best a lateral move. Handing out a four-year, $32 million contract to Frye, a 3-point shooting big man who is dependant on others to help generate his offense, does not in the context of a young team without a ready-made point guard. Pairing Payton with Oladipo gives Orlando a scary defensive backcourt, and one that could struggle to score without Afflalo. Aaron Gordon is a freaky athlete with a relentless motor, but is also a rather raw prospect and a Vesely-ian level free throw shooter. This is a team to watch, but based on their offseason moves, you won't be watching the in the playoff this season.
Additional team outlooks