NBA Pre-season win predictions: Eastern Conference, Southeast Division

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Oct 21, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo (5) drives to the basket against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 10-107 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Magic

Last season: 25 – 57

This season: 36 – 46

While the Magic are definitely headed in the right direction, they won’t arrive this season. The core needs more maturation. An 11-game improvement is hardly something to be ashamed of.

Guard Victor Oladipo might be an All-Star shortly, and Aaron Gordon is an athlete learning to become a player. Nikola Vucevic is a reliable low-post scorer, though he’s far from an intimidating defender. Tobias Harris is rounding into an excellent all-round wingman. Evan Fournier is not on that level, but can shoot. He’s gotten significantly better than I would have thought possible, and may still have room to improve.

Like the Hornets, the Magic haven’t shown they can defend as a team. If Dewayne Dedmon were given more minutes at centre, that could change.

Coach Scott Skiles will make his young charges hustle, though I’m always wary of “tough guy” bench bosses. I think their message gets old in a hurry. Regardless, he’ll have a positive impact for at least two seasons.

Next: Lots of fragile talent in Florida