It was only two years ago when the Orlando Magic had reached the NBA Finals before deciding they had done enough for the season and laid down at the hands of the Lakers. That team had a lethal combination of the most dominant big man in the game, and a slew of shooters knocking down threes from the outside. Though the three-point shooting style of the Magic made them a frustrating team from game-to-game because their performance fluctuated, they were a talented bunch who went far in the postseason. The team’s run to the Finals seemed to signify they were bound to be a consistent force in the Eastern Conference for the next several years, but that all ended quickly.
Hedo Turkoglu, who fit in perfectly with their offense as a 6’10″ forward who could run the point and shoot threes, decided to leave in free agency. The Magic made it to the Eastern Conference Finals without him last season, but they were outclassed by the Celtics falling behind 3-0 before losing in six. Turkoglu meanwhile flopped harder than a Duke player in March during his only season in Toronto, forced a trade to Phoenix, and then he was dealt to Orlando in a blockbuster deal that also involved Jason Richardson.
What we’ve come to learn is that teams that need to overhaul their roster midseason are already in poor shape so making huge trades likely won’t be enough. What we’ve also learned is that the Magic fell behind the Bulls and Heat who both improved drastically over the offseason. Most importantly, we’ve learned that Hedo Turkoglu isn’t half as effective as he was two seasons ago, and the Magic are paying the price.