The NBA season is here. With that in mind, it is time to flip through the book on the 2012-13 season and to take a look at what the season might have in store -- especially when it comes to the Magic. Be sure to look out for more of these team capsules and to check out all the blogs taking part in this year's NBA Blog Preview (don't worry, I will be linking to all of them in the next few weeks ... months ... this preview IS never-ending, afterall).
Last Year: 22-44
Last Year vs. Magic: Lost 94-78 in Orlando; Lost 108-91 in Newark; Lost 86-70 in Orlando
This Year vs. Magic: Nov. 9 in Orlando (7 p.m.); Nov. 11 in Brooklyn (3 p.m.); Nov. 30 in Orlando (7 p.m.); Jan. 28 in Brooklyn (7 p.m.)
Magic Connection: Keith Bogans (Player, 2003-04, 2006-09), Assistant Coach Doug Overton (Player, 1999)
The Nets are transforming themselves. It started with acquiring Deron Williams and clearing the cap space to make a run and entice Dwight Howard to join him in the gleaming new Barclays Center. That plan actually worked. Howard wanted to run to New York and play with one of his good friends, Deron Williams.
Of course, we know why that plan failed. It was nothing the Nets did, but more what Howard did. Sorry, Brooklyn. Don't blame us please.
But the Nets still needed to make a splash. They could not move to their brand sparkling new building without a superstar like Deron Williams. And so Brooklyn did not wait and hope that Howard would find a way to finagle his way to the Big Apple or the Magic would accept a crummy deal full of long contracts and something less than mediocrity.
Brooklyn went out and got Joe Johnson, clinching Deron Williams' services for the next five years. And it made the Nets relevant and a potential Playoff team and threatening team in the watered-down Eastern Conference.
This is a team that still has Deron Williams, once considered the best point guard in the league and someone who can still dominate games from that position. Gerald Wallace remains a bundle of energy who can do a little bit of everything, albeit a little injury prone. Brook Lopez is one of the best offensive post players in the league today. And Joe Johnson is a supremely gifted scorer who is capable of becoming a playmaker.
Add in the energy of a new locale, a new identity and a new building and the Nets have a lot of reasons to be excited for this season.
How the Nets Will Beat the Magic: Deron Williams historically plays very well against Jameer Nelson and the Magic. In 14 games, Williams averages 17.7 points per game and 9.1 assists per game while shooting 41.9 percent. But he has had some great games against Jameer Nelson. Williams is not a good matchup for Nelson because of his size and vision over Nelson. Now that Williams has weapons again, I suspect we will see Williams put in the kind of numbers he did against the Magic when he played for the Jazz. Orlando has stuggled some with its pick and roll defense, making Williams' role that much more important.
How the Magic Will Beat the Nets: We are seeing that when the Magic can get out on the breka and get in rhythm offensively, they can be extremely difficult to defend. A key will be pulling Brook Lopez away from the rim to prevent blocked shots and staying aggressive. The Minnesota loss shows what happens when Orlando allows teams to push it off its spot and interfere with the cuts. The Magic must get out on the break before a decent team like the Nets can get set. The half court execution just is not good enough otherwise.