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Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: September 23, 12:17 PM ET
No. 74: Orlando Magic

By Morty Ain
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 77
Title track: 80
Ownership: 75
Coaching: 89
Players: 84
Fan relations: 75
Affordability: 53
Stadium experience: 32
Bang for the buck: 98

If LA thought Dwight was Kryptonite, it should check out the devastation Decision 2.0 wreaked on his home planet: Without Superman down low to protect the middle, the Magic had to make due with smoke and mirrors. The results were diabolical: 46 games behind the Heat, one game behind the Bobcats (!) and 20 measly wins. In a strike-shortened 2011-12 season, they racked up 37 W's.

Even marketing had to adjust. A Papa John's promotion, which rewarded fans with 50 percent off their order if the Magic scored 110-plus in a win, had to be downgraded to 50 percent off for any win. Yet despite finishing as an NBA doormat, the Magic still moved up 12 spots in the players category (and three spots in the overall standings) thanks to a textbook case of addition by subtraction. Think Central Florida is delusional? Then check out March 12 when Dwight Howard made his only visit to Orlando. Amid a sea of boos and Dwight Coward signs, D-12 trolled back by blowing kisses to the crowd, peppering your mama jokes at fans and racking up a season-high 39 points. The performance went over as well as that time Howard skipped out on his own youth camp last August to rehab in SoCal.

Luckily, the $480 million Amway Center is still staying faithful (four 30-foot concourses, 1,100 digital monitors, a superhero-size scoreboard). But a 57-spot nosedive in bang for the buck illustrates one thing very clearly: Fans aren't keen to pay playoff roster prices just to enjoy the digs. The Bobcats ($29.27), Wizards ($32.24) and Hawks ($34.75) all finished ahead of the Magic in the division and charged much less than an average Orlando seat ($41.18). On the plus side, the Dwightmare is over, which should mean the Magic will have as good a chance as anyone to land Andrew Wiggins.