ESPN, filling space during this dead month of August, is beginning to roll out its NBA predictions for the upcoming season. #NBARank should be coming up shortly after that and then the season will start.
ESPN enpaneled its writers, including Henry Abbott and Kevin Arnovitz of TrueHoop, J.A. Adande, Bradford Doolittle and Nate Drexler among plenty of others. It is a pretty robust list of staff members and writers.
So the Eastern Conference standings are out and the Magic finished. . . 14th at 24-58.
You will notice that earlier this summer that Tom Habestroh of ESPN.com had the Magic 12th in the Eastern Conference. To do that according to ESPN's latest rankings would need to get to 29 wins. That could be in line. Remember, the Magic went 12-13 with their full complement of players at the beginning of the season before injuries and the youth movement really took hold.
ESPN's prediction of 24 wins is a modest improvement and seems reasonable. Perhaps the Magic can flirt with 30 wins (or more) this upcoming season.
However, all things being equal, taking last year's results in consideration and the Magic's current goals, this all sounds about right for where the Magic will finish this upcoming season. It is going to be another season of learning.
For those that are curious, the ESPN panel has the Heat finishing in first in the East with 60 wins. The Bulls, Pacers, Nets, Knicks, Hawks, Wizards and Cavaliers complete the Eastern Conference Playoffs.