#9) Orlando Magic
The Eastern Conference really becomes a crapshoot outside the 5th seed, it’s a recurring theme, this is how it usually plays out. Often a team surprises and sneaks into one of the final seeds just to act as a sacrificial lamb to one of the juggernauts of the conference, last year the Magic were one of those teams.
Game 1 was fun, D.J. Augustin hit the go-ahead three-point field goal with just under 5 seconds to go to steal the opening game of the first round against the Raptors—then they lost the next four via a gentleman’s sweep.
The Magic won 42 games just a season ago and kept their core intact, but will that be enough to narrowly sneak into the playoffs again? Maybe, maybe not, as I said, the lower seeds in the east are historically unpredictable.
Nikola Vucevic was named an All-Star for the first time in his career a season ago, he’s going to need a repeat performance if the Magic want to host two playoff games at minimal next April at the Amway Center. The addition of Aminu aids the defense, but his addition doesn’t secure a playoff berth.
I could be completely wrong, but it appears like the 9th to 7th seeds are likely to be decided by just a few games and in this instance, Orlando is the odd man out.