Arron Afflalo was the biggest piece that the Magic got in the trade with the Lakers, 76ers, and Nuggets that sent Dwight Howard to Los Angeles.
Where: Amway Arena; Orlando, FL
TV: YES Network
It's not very easy for a team to rebuild from the loss of a franchise player like Howard, and the Magic's current roster exemplifies that statement perfectly. Orlando doesn't have any player close to resembling a star or even a most-significant player. Jameer Nelson is a suitable point guard who can score and lead an offense but is on the downside of his career and is too injury-prone. Arron Afflalo, acquired from the Nuggets in the Howard trade, is a very good scorer but doesn't play much defense and is better in a secondary role, not necessarily as the #1 option on a team.
As Nelson and Afflalo are the best options for the Magic, and coach Jacque Vaughn (a former Net), as potential leaders, it is clear they lack any player that can be on-court directors of the Magic. The Nets had this problem in the 2009-10 season and half of the 2010-11 season, after they traded Vince Carter and before trading for Deron Williams. The Nets had no visible leader and their on-court success (rather, lack of it) was worsened by that fact, exemplified by the team's near-historically bad 12-70 record in the 2009-10 campaign. Until Orlando finds their next leader, they will most likely toil in the mediocrity that tends to follow a faceless organization.
On the other hand, the Nets--on paper--seemed to rebound fine from not getting Dwight Howard, but their record wouldn't show it. After an embarrassing 30-point road defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat, Brooklyn's record fell to 1-2 on the young season as they look to get back to even .500 with a win in Orlando tonight. Gerald Wallace is still injured and as shown by their last two games, both losses in which Wallace didn't play, the Nets desperately miss his defensive presence and everpresent hustle that greatly help in building leads and closing games out. To say the least, Gerald is much more important to the team than a lot of people give him credit for and the Nets' last two games show that to be evident more than any other aspect of the 2012-13 season so far.
NETS- D-Will (PG), Joe Johnson (SG), Bogans (SF), Humphries (PF), Lopez (C)
ORL- Nelson (PG), Afflalo (SG), Glen Davis (SF), McRoberts (PF), Vucevic (C)
Regarding someone that won't even play in the game, I'm really happy that Jacque Vaughn got the Magic head coaching job this offseason. Jacque played for the Nets from 2004-2006 and even though he wasn't blessed with the most talent or physical gifts, he still managed to be the smartest guy on the court most of the time. He was always someone who Byron Scott (and later, Lawrence Frank) could count on to make the right play to help his team win. I wish Jacque the best of luck, of course against all other teams than the Nets.