Now that the season is over, it is time to review the last five months. This is our yearly look back at what went right and what went wrong during the 2013-14 season.
This was a rough season. Any 23-win season is going to inevitably be rough. The Magic’s rebuild somewhat necessitated another rough season to continue laying the foundation for the future of the organization. Unfortunately, that did require one more high draft pick as the Magic look for a franchise player.
And so the season was not necessarily about winning. Winning would have only been a nice side effect to the continued growth and development from the young players on the roster. And there were some nice wins in the process — Oklahoma City, Indiana and Chicago come to mind pretty quickly.
This season though did nothing to compromise the long-term vision Rob Hennigan has for the Magic or to put in jeopardy anything the Magic have suffered through two seasons to build.
Orlando got a good glimpse of its individual players and continued to clear the deck.
The Magic saw what Nikola Vucevic can be as a post presence and in the pick and roll. They saw the growth from Kyle O’Quinn as a potential back up post player for the foreseeable future. They saw Tobias Harris take to new roles and new positions and figure things out on his own how best to play and support his team. They saw Maurice Harkless figure out how to get himself involved in the offense and improve his game in-season.
All these things were necessary developments for the Magic as part of the long-range plans for this organization. It is still unclear how these players fit into the puzzle — go ahead and add Arron Afflalo as a question to that puzzle too.
What is important coming out of this season is that they are known pieces to the puzzle whatever that final picture looks like.
Orlando did not cripple itself with an awful trade, giving up a valuable asset the team might later regret. The Magic have been pragmatic and patient as they assess the value of players on their roster. They have done nothing rash and have sacrificed some short-term gains to ensure the long-term picture remains intact.
Of course, the season in the larger scheme of things (like last season) was about lottery positioning and finding that foundation piece through the Draft. A bad Lottery bounce and it will all be for naught. The season will have been wasted in the grand scheme.
Even if that is the case, many would say the Magic are in better position than many of the other teams near the top of the Lottery because of all the young talent they have collected. Now they just seem to need that start to slot everyone in the appropriate roles and help them really unlock their potential in this league. They got plenty of seasoning and growth throughout the season.
So the Magic may exit 2014 with a disappointing win-loss record and another high Lottery chance. But the 2014 season can also be seen as something of a success because the bigger picture and long-term future of the organization looks so bright.