The Orlando Magic will open their season Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Amway Center. Orlando is coming off its first playoff appearance since the 2011-12 season and will look to start off strong. Here are some things to know entering the season-opener:
The Magic retained the core of the team over the offseason and got to work over the summer. Terrence Ross, Michael Carter-Williams and Nikola Vucevic were all re-signed.
Expect a big game (and a big season) from Vucevic. The center had a career-year last season that led to his massive pay day in July when he signed a contract worth $100 million over four years.
Nikola Vucevic's new contract extension with the Orlando Magic is fully guaranteed through four seasons, no options, source tells RealGM.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 21, 2014
Vucevic led the Magic in points (20.8), rebounds (12.0) and steals (1.0) averaged in his 80 games played last year. As a result, he was selected to be an all star for the first time in his career. He will in no doubt be the biggest concern for a Cavs team that allowed a league-worst 49.5% field goal percentage last year.
Cleveland has Little to be optimistic about
The only positive that the Cavs have to hang its hat on during the offseason is Kevin Love didn’t get injured. That’s it. Besides that, this team made no moves over the summer worth note.
The Cavs may find themselves as the worst team in the league this year and are certainly not favored in tonight’s matchup. ESPN’s power index gives Cleveland a 21.2% chance of wining its first game of the season.
Cleveland finished last season 19-63, only the New York Knicks had a worse record in the entire league. A large part of their struggles stemmed from the fact that Love appeared in only 22 games last season due to a toe injury.
Nonetheless, this Cavs team will only go as far as Love takes them.
In addition, Cleveland head coach John Beilein expects his team improve this year in every facet of its game this year.
The two eastern conference squads will face eachother tonight at 7 p.m.