Orlando Magic Blog

Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Summer To Do List

Last season ended on a high note with a stellar group of (mostly) nine players combining to finish 16-6 and make a run at the playoffs. What a relief it was to see a good chemistry develop after shipping off the cancerous Francis and Cato. Last years ending roster breaks down something like this:

Core to build around:
Dwight Howard -- his size, youth, skill and still huge upside probably makes him one of the ten most valuable players in the league.
Jameer Nelson -- 31-31 in games played. 5-15 in games missed. The new rules make fleet footed passing/scoring PGs who don't (or struggle to) play defense much more valuable than in the past. Jameer is close to being a top 10 PG in the league and could still bloom into the top 5 next season.
Darko -- A Pistons blog poster suggested the way for Detroit to stop Wade was to draft him and leave him on the end of the bench. Darko's recovery from the Pistons mistreatment started well. Next year he needs to step up and prove he belongs with the other top 5 choices of his draft class. Good news is he is lifting weights for the first time and has committed to spending July in Orlando.

Main Supporting Cast:
Turkoglu: Great year last year. Became a reliable third scoring option once he became a recognized starter. Game improved dramatically after Francis left and he learned he could get the ball back if he passed.
Tony Battie: starter last year, likely first F/C off the bench this year. Only big man backup. Good locker room guy that is likely to be traded somewhere down the line.
Deshawn Stevenson: I think I kept calling him Dwight last year. He opted out on Thursday and it's a toss-up if he comes back. Not much offense, often made poor decisions with the ball. Started all 82 games last year. His kind of defense doesn't show up in the box scores. Could have earned over $3 million. I wonder what kind of contract he will attract on the open market. Lots of options to replace him if he leaves.
Carlos Arroyo: Not a starter, but a great change of pace off the bench. His pass first mentality quickly becomes contagious when he is on the court. Looks slow but is deceptively quick and gets away with a lot of arm hooks to shed defenders and get into the paint for easy layups or assists. Often talked about as a trade throw-in, but I don't believe Magic will trade a Puerto Rican who seems to be worth 2,000 extra fans a game. That is really hard to replace.
Keyon Dooling: with the arrival of Arroyo and Jameer's return from injury he earned most of his playing time as a slashing backup SG.
Trevor Ariza: Sat buried on the bench forever after the NY trade. Finally emerged as a slasher who could get to the hoop quickly. Long arms promise good defense in the future. Free agent. I'd like to see him return, but the Sentinel reported he has told the Magic he would not play in their summer league if resigned. Magic seem intent on getting him back for the minimum, Ariza is looking for more. His return is probably a toss-up.

In the China Cabinet:
Grant Hill: Six years in a row finishing the season on IR. Refusing surgery this summer in the hopes of a holistic miracle. Large expiring contracts become very enticing at the February trade deadline. If Magic don't think they can land a huge fish in the Summer 2007 Free Agent fiesta (Wade, Lebron, Bosch and many more.) trading Hill in February is a good way to go. If he winds up bouncing in and out of the lineup again it could kill team chemistry.
Pat Garrity: Fundamentally sound horrible player. Owed $3.5 million this year with team option for next year. The coach seems to love fundamentally sound horrible players and we all fear this guy getting playing time. Rebounds per minute often impossible to compute.

Going, going ...
Mario Kasun: Gone. To Spain. One roster spot open for sure.
Stacey Augmon: Gone. Although he wants to play somewhere next year.
Bo Outlaw: He'll be in Orlando next year, either as 15th man with non guaranteed minimum contract, or in some community outreach management role.
Travis Diener: Gone? He signed a 2 year deal, unknown if it was guaranteed or not.

1. Improve outside shooting. Magic were 2nd worst 3 point shooters in league last year. Need to open inside up for Howard & Milicic.
2. Big Man depth. Need a banger off the bench at PF, C, or C/PF. Preferably an improvement over Battie.
3. Draft well. This is not very likely given their history.
4. Maintain chemistry. Hard to do and critical. Need to find role players to support Dwight, Darko & Jameer. Turk needs to keep starting. Arroyo needs to be at peace off the bench.

Not including trades, the Magic have between 3 and 6 roster spots to fill this summer depending on what happens with Ariza & Stevenson. Assume those guys are gone and the Magic need:

1. New starting SG
2. Backup power player
3. Backup SF

And they have a budget of about $4.5 million for all three!

Does help come from the draft? Last year the Magic shocked us by taking an unknown Spaniard who doesn't travel. If they repeat the performance this year the team is in trouble. If they actually take someone we know, the likely prospects include (from most likely to least:

1. Ronnie Brewer: draftexpress.com has Magic taking him. Very athletic SG/PG could be a perfect upgrade to Stevenson, but long range shot is suspect.
2. Patrick O'Bryant: nbadraft.net has Magic taking him. 7' beast who needs to develop skills. Probably good for short foul filled bursts off the bench as a rookie.
3. Rodney Carney: SG/SF more likely to be a small forward.
4. Randy Foye: SG Likely to be drafted before 11. There is a rumor of a trade with Houston to get Foye so Houston can take Redick.
5. JJ Redick: could provide shooting off the bench this year if he stays sober and his back is o.k. Both in doubt.
6. Sheldon Williams PF/C cancelled a workout with Magic. Believe to have a promise from Seattle at 10. Would require a trade up to get.
7. Brandon Roy: SG Likely to be drafted between 2 and 7. Magic would need to trade up and get lucky.

Magic have 2 second round picks at 41 and 50 to fill out bench cheaply with future prospects. I'm at a loss to name a single contributor Magic have ever taken in the 2nd round.

Here is my prediction. Magic will try to resign both Stevenson and Ariza for cheap. Draft a SG in the first round, a banger and a future foreign player in the second and fill the roster out with low cost minimum guys like Outlaw in preparation of a possible big trade in February.

If they resign Stevenson they try to package Dooling to move up for Foye, else they take Brewer.


  • At 10:45 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Excellent summary by WeRDevos about the state of the Orlando Magic and their needs heading into the draft.

    I'm surprised WeRDevos didn't say anything about Coach Brian Hill... about his strengths and weaknesses and how he can improve.

    We all have made our feelings known about Coach Hill this past season. We all acknowledge that he has his share of faults, but does have some good points, and as long as he doesn't impose his iron fist in the future, the team should continue to improve.

    Pete and Matt think that there is little hope for the Magic as long as Hill is coach, because of Hill's past methods of coaching and his mistakes. I don't agree with that, but they are entitled to their opinion. They are so sure of this that they've apparently stopped contributing to our blog, something I wish they would reconsider.

    Hope all the other bloggers can see WeRDevos' posting and add their thoughts and comments about the state of the Magic heading into the draft.

  • At 9:14 AM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    Since there is no way that the Magic are going to replace Hill over the Summer I didn't include him in the conversation.

    Lots of questions about maintaining good chemistry will fall on the coaches. Depending on their handling of the roster next year could be great or a huge disappointment. Hill & Garrity alone could take away team energy. Arroyo may eventually not be happy as a key reserve. Or the team could simply get off to a bad start and not recover. But those are all questions for the Fall.

    I should have covered the replacing a top assistant though. Sterner went to Minnesota and needs to be replaced.

  • At 6:31 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I open up this page everyday still, even though there isn't to much Magic news as of late. I'm looking forward to draft night just to see what the Magic do. Regardless what they do, I think they have just as good of chance as most other teams to land a decent player. The draft has alot of talent, but no one is a "sure thing". Anyway, I've been watching every single playoff game, and after last night's game 5, which was the biggest joke of an officiated game I've ever witnessed, I don't know if I'll be able to stomach much more. Don't get me wrong, Wade is a talented player, but he is still alot of hype, and the NBA is making him into what he is today. Setting an NBA record for 25 free throws in a finals game isn't something the league should be proud of, especially when that is the exact amount of free throws the Mavs team shot all together. In the last play alone, Wade got away with a back court violation, a push off, only to be bailed out and put on the line once again from a phantom foul with 1.9 to go. Then, to seal the deal the refs pull a fast one and say Howard kept calling for a timeout, when he was talking to his coach, who apprently said more than once that they wanted a timeout after the 2nd free throw. The game was a joke. It pissed me off beyond belief, and should be an embarassment for any NBA fan out there regardless of who you root for. Anyway, my point, the NBA pampers the guys who will make them money. The NBA likes to create their superstars. What I'm getting to, Orlando has one of those guys. I'm glad we have Dwight Howard!

  • At 10:22 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    For an unbiased review of the Finals so far, Steve Kerr's latest column on sports.yahoo.com provides for some very good reading, and raises some excellent points about why the Heat are now ahead in the series.

    Introvert316, I know you're a pretty smart and knowledgeable NBA fan, but your comments about Wade are completely off base (saying that Wade is a lot of hype, and that the NBA is making him into what he is). Excuse me?? Wade has proven through these playoffs, and especially the Finals, that he is among the top 2 or 3 players in the NBA. He is doing whatever he can to lead his team to win, whether it's hitting outside shots (I thought he couldn't shoot from the outside?) or driving to the basket aggressively and drawing fouls. Oh... he's averaging over 34 pts a game in the Finals so far... can you say Finals MVP?

    The better team will always win a 7 game series. We'll see what happens in Dallas.

  • At 5:03 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    I'd take Wade and put him in a lineup with Dwight, Darko, Turk & Jameer in a heartbeat. But since that's not gonna happen...

    I agree the Magic have a good chance of getting a good guy with their pick. Unfortunately when it comes to picking after #5 there is Nelson & Anderson on one side and 15+ stiffs on the other.

    This draft could actually be interesting to watch unfold. I kind of sense that one of the top 5 is going to fall and mess up the order somehow. Hopefully that will leave the Magic with a Foye, Brewer, O'Bryant or Carney.

  • At 6:08 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 8:22 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I went ahead and decided to remove my previous comment. I have no creditability as "introvert316". Instead, I'll reference a link, from ESPN's Bill Simmons. He also posts many e-mails that he has received since Game 5. It is so nice to know there are people out there who pay attention, and reassure me with the fact that I'm not crazy and my mind isn't imagining what I'm seeing. Thank you Bill Simmons.


  • At 4:53 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I read the Simmons column on the link that introvert316 provided.

    Simmons calls Wade "a dynamic talent" and "the most consistent crunch-time scorer since Jordan"; he also calls Wade "so freaking good". That reinforces my belief that Wade is among the top 2 or 3 stars in the league.

    Yes, as Simmons writes in his column, the Heat and Wade got the benefit of several calls. But there are so many aspects of a game, to focus in on just one aspect and say that's the reason why a team won or lost a game is just plain foolish. Steve Kerr provides a voice of reason in his latest column at sports.yahoo.com.

    Dallas is fortunate that they have a coach in Avery Johnson who accepts responsibility for his team's mistakes and won't make excuses for his team; and who said after Game 6 that the better team won the series.

    If Nowitzki makes a free throw at the end of Game 3, the game goes into OT.

    If the Mavs shoot better than 37% in Game 6, and if Nowitzki shows up in the 4th quarter, they probably win the game.

    Simmons basically dissed the rest of the Heat other than Wade, but so many Heat players played well in Game 6, the Heat probably would have lost without all their contributions.

    Which all goes back to what I said in my previous posting; that the better team will win a 7 game series.

    Alright, now that the Finals are over, we can start focusing on the Magic and the upcoming draft again.

  • At 2:27 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    In regards to my 1st comment I apologize. I said something about "Wade being alot of hype", and I think it was taken the wrong way. I never denied this guys talent. He talent level is off the charts, but he isn't doing anything that we haven't seen in the last 20 years, well, besides shooting more free throws.

    So I'll try to explain, with the best of my ramblings, why I think what went on in the Finals wasn't right. So I'll start out with a question... Anyone in the world would probably agree that Michael Jordan received more favoritism from the officials than any other player in the history of the NBA right? Hell, everyone remembers The JORDAN Rules. My point, everyone worshipped Jordan, including the refs; but Jordan was THE BEST. He deserved it. He earned it. He went out there to play basketball. He tried to put the ball in the basket every time no matter what. After all, that is what basketball is right? So, what's my point?

    Take a look, watch D-Wade, how many times does he actually try and put the ball in the basket? How many times does his shot actually have a chance to go in? Is he playing true basketball the way it's meant to be played? Did he find a loop hole in the game, or is this just "the new NBA" that David Stern talks about? To me, and many others, it was awful to watch. Who wants to watch a guy get bailed out on the line play after play, game after game? I think he's in the wrong profession. He should have been a stuntman, or an actor; because he practically falls down on every play, regardless if there is a lot, little, or no contact. Usually there is little or no contact, and when there is a lot, many times it's because of Wade throwing himself into another player. The majority of the time all he wants to do is draw a foul. Wade thinks: "draw the foul first, then make the basket". Basketball should be played the other way around. Now if you are going to try and claim, Wade deserves all of those FT's, you're completely of base! The NBA will back it no matter what, because they want you to believe it's all "legit". I'm sure him getting all of those FT's, from phantom calls, has nothing to do with him having the #1 selling jersey in the NBA. But seriously, to not question what happened in NBA Finals would make anyone a fool. Wade attempting 18, 25, and 21 FT's, in pretty much the 3 biggest games of the series was a total joke. I won't talk about it anymore after this post, but I did some research, because I know "my crazy opinions" mean nothing. So here are some Jordan VS Wade stats. Here is the greatest basketball player to ever play, the man who received more calls than anyone else, against Wade... Finals VS Finals stats; FTA's VS FTA's... Believe what you want, but that was one of the most controversial NBA Finals EVER.
    Michael Jordan's Final's Career Average From The Line..............

    90-91 28-33 (5 GAME SERIES)
    91-92 41-46 (6)
    92-93 34-49 (6)
    95-96 56-67 (6)
    96-97 42-55 (6)
    97-98 57-70 (6)

    90-91 6.6
    91-92 7.6
    92-93 8.1
    95-96 11.1
    96-97 9.1
    97-98 11.6
    Dwyane Wade's Finals Freebie's

    05-06 75-97 (6 GAME SERIES)

    05-06 16.2
    Conclusion: I guess I did witness history. We all witnessed something "special"! Kind of does make me say "Jordan who"? At least if we're talking about what Wade did from the line...

  • At 2:30 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I will agree with one thing and thank God the NBA Finals are over. Now we can focus back on the Magic and the upcoming draft! I hope something interesting happens. I'm confident in Otis.

  • At 4:56 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…


    I got to 4 games last year and swore every time that the Magic were being jobbed by the refs. I'm dying for someone on the Magic to start seeing some superstar love.

  • At 6:23 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…


    I couldn't agree with you more. I went to a handful of games last year, and if I wasn't there I was watching on TV. Regardless what happens this summer, they just need to stay healthy. Dwight needs to develop a "mean side", and this has to be his year to break out as an all-star. I really don't see any reason why he won't be a 20/10 player next year. As long as Nelson and Arroyo are healthy, we shouldn't have any leadership problems. On a side note, I got to play with Dwight, Bo, and Jameer a few weeks ago at the RDV. Bo was fun loving like always. He's pretty much one of the nicest people I've ever met. Nelson was quiet, fast as hell, and couldn't miss a shot. Dwight, well, he was BIG and STRONG. He did what he wanted, when he wanted. He was stroking his jumper. He also had a little attitude to him on the court, which was nice to see. Next year should be exciting!

    -Thanks for keeping this blog going during the off season.

  • At 5:25 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    When he was drafted I thought Jameer was a role player at best due to his size. Then I thought he might be a Darrell Armstrong clone. But he has really bulked up and developed into a team leader. The sky is the limit for him if he keeps that chip on his shoulder.

    I know what you mean about Bo. We went to a game with Upward basketball last year and Diener and Outlaw were there to meet the kids. Diener was nice but you could also see he was there because of his 15th man / rookie status. Bo seemed to be genuinely happy to be there.

  • At 8:07 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    introvert316, obviously you and I have way different opinions about how the NBA Finals went.

    But I am just as psyched and excited as you are about next season for the Magic, and am looking forward to an outstanding Magic season.

    You're really lucky that you saw and got a chance to play with Dwight, Jameer, and Bo at RDV a few weeks back... that must have been quite an experience.


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