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.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Magic getting national attention

Cavaliers Blog: FIBA Observations: "The Orlando Magic are a budding force
Building on a strong finish to the NBA season, Darko Milicic looked great here in Japan. We all know he can shoot from the outside but here he showed off a pretty impressive left-handed hook shot. He was also aggressive going to the glass. In getting eliminated by powerful Spain, he banged with Pau Gasol all night and looked like he wanted to and got 15 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Dwight Howard's athleticism continues to blow me away. Watching him outplay Yao Ming last week in Sapporo by constantly getting in better position for rebounds re-enforced my belief he'll be the NBA's best rebounder for the next decade. Then again Carlos Arroyo looked great for Puerto Rico. Obviously the guy has angered a few coaches, but his talent is unquestioned.

I expect those three guys to have huge seasons this year."
I need to remind myself to temper my enthusiasm. Last year's team finished 10th in the East with 36 wins. But the Magic expectations around the country are pretty high for next year based on the expected improvement of two 21 year olds. A reasonable goal for this year is making the playoffs, and worry about cracking the top 4 next year.

We should probably do a breakdown of East teams in September, but there is no reason to think Magic can't keep NY, Atlanta, Charlotte, Toronto and Boston in their rear view mirrors. To make the playoffs they need to pass at least two of Philly, Milwaukee, Chicago, Indiana and Washington. Last year 42 wins earned a #5 seed.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Summer Time News

Thank goodness for the World Championships to give us a little basketball. All three Magic players in the tournament have made their mark.

Dwight Howard, the cornerstone of the Magic's future, is the youngest player on the U.S. squad. His stellar play at defense, rebounding and shot blocking have put him squarely in the team's 8-10 player rotation. It doesn't always show up in the numbers but his performance has Chris Bosh & Brad Miller unhappy sitting at the end of the bench. Bosh beat out Howard for an All-Star game berth last year and recently signed a max extension.

Serbia is led by Darko Milicic. In the past, Serbia has been THE team in these competitions. No more, as Argentina and Spain have become the best international teams. Still, Darko is very impressive and has improved with each game, look at his stats:

Opposition, Points, Rebounds, Blocks, Assists
Argentina, 24-12-2-2
Venezuela, 18-11-6-4
Lebanon, 18-4-1-2
France, 14-9-3-2
Nigeria, 5-5-2-3

UPDATE: Darko's continues with impressive stats in a 87-75 loss to top seed Spain:
Spain 18-15-3-3

I saw the Venezuela game. The announcer counted 9 blocks for Milicic. Darko is 5th in the tournament at 8.2 rpg. Look out if the Magic start getting 24-12's and 18-11's from Darko, not to mention 2.8 blocks a game. Serbia continues into the elimination rounds with a tough game against Spain tomorrow.
Carlos Arroyo's PR team did not qualify for the elimination rounds, but Carlos had a great tournament. His 21.2 ppg and 5.2apg were both good for 4th best in the tournament. He ran into foul trouble in a 73-72 loss to Italy and was limited to 8 points. Highlights included 25-10 against China, 29-4 vs. Senegal and 23-2 vs the U.S. Arroyo should be confident coming into camp.

Two other players with Magic ties did not play for their national teams. Hedo Turkoglu skipped playing for Turkey to recover from a long season and prepare for next year. Fran Vasquez was on the Spanish team before a serious back injury forced him off the team.

On the homefront, Jameer Nelson has held his own Magic training camp this August. According to Joel Glass:
This past August, Nelson, on his own initiative, gathered his Orlando Magic teammates for a week-long bonding/basketball conditioning camp. The players worked out during the day and broke bread at night. Nelson passed out T-shirts to the team which said: “Together-Effort-Attitude-Magic.”

When asked about the camp, Nelson simply said he just wants to win, “and whatever it takes to do that, I'’m willing to do.”

“I look at last year as a stepping stone for every body on this team. We just have to be committed to one another and say that I trust that this guy is going to get better as an individual and a team player. That's one of the things we had at the end of the season –trust and commitment. Everybody knows that we are a real team, so it's going to be that much harder and we have to prepare ourselves for that,” says Nelson about the coming season
Glass doesn't say who attended and who missed out, but it still sounds great that Nelson is stepping up and taking his share of the leadership role.

Not a bad summer actually. Dwight Howard is taking strides towards all-pro. Darko & Carlos gaining confidence. Jameer stepping up as a leader. Turk resting. New low-risk change at shooting guard. Team turnover limited to 3 guys and an assistant coach. Not bad at all.

Otis: Dooling not for sale.

Otis says Dooling is not on the trade block, at least for now...

MAGIC: Otis Smith On...: "
From Eddie (8/22): i was wonderin, espn.com says that keyon dooling is on the trading block, is this true and who are we looking at trading for?

Otis: : Eddie, While I like the work that ESPN does most of the time, sometimes they are way off. If you look at our roster, you can see that we are heavy at the guards - so they make guesses sometimes. However, I like our team and the depth we have in those positions.

At this point in the game, I have no one that's on the 'trading block' - your words, not mine. Thanks for the interest. "

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Smack: "On one of Slovenia’s first possessions, a guy drove the lane only to have it sent by Dwight Howard. DH swatted it, got his balance, cracked a huge smile and saluted the U.S. servicemen and women in the stands ..."

J.J. Redick Scores 41 Points Vs. Texas

Found via True Hoop. Link here with a lot more interesting Redick links.

Orlando ups downtown ante

Orlando ups downtown ante - Orlando Sentinel : Orange County News

"This lays the foundation and the road map for the decisions that need to be made in the next few weeks," Dyer said.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer on Monday pledged $350 million in city money and land for a new performing-arts center, arena and renovated Florida Citrus Bowl -- roughly one-third the $1.1 billion cost.

He also touted a new study that predicts the three venues would create more than 10,000 construction jobs and pump billions into the economy, and unveiled a shortlist of potential sites for the new home court of the Orlando Magic.
It is a big, complex deal that will cost $1.1 billion for a new arena, performing arts center, private development and Citrus Bowl improvements. City, County & State governments keep pushing ahead, but have a ways to go.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

United States 121, China 90

United States 121, China 90

Dwight Howard numbers: 22 minutes, 16 points, 10 rebounds a couple of assists and a block. 8-11 from the line.

United States 111, Puerto Rico 100

Dwight: 18 minutes, 10 pts, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks.

Carlos Arroyo: 25 minutes, 23 points

Not bad for two 40 minute games.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Starting Line-up

Three positions of Center, Power-forward and Point-guard were easy to decide. Shooting-guard and Small-forward positions needed some study before reaching any decision. A simple scorecard pointing system has been used to evaluate the players, although I have to admit that scoring is not scientific, and could become subjective at times. Each player received positive, as well as negative points on their strengths and weaknesses, respectively:

· Center: Darko Milicic
· Power-forward: Dwight Howard
· Point-guard: Jameer Nelson
· Shooting-guard: Keyon Dooling
· Small-forward: Hedo Turkoglu

At shooting-guard position, the main rivalry was between Bogans and Dooling due to the negative points that Redick received that could not be offset by positive points granted. These negative points were: being a rookie, health issue and defensive deficiencies. Redick’s negatives and positives could be re-evaluated and adjusted at the end of each month into the season. Bogans and Dooling scored so close that either one would make a good choice in that position.

At the small-forward position, Hedo’s positives combined with many Grant’s negatives due to health uncertainties, has put him in the favorite spot. That situation could be re-evaluated within a month into the season. Grant has a lot of catching-up to do, but if he is healthy, depending on who plays at the shooting-guard (a better or lesser of a shooter), the situation may change.

Grant’s playing at shooting-guard position, whether as a starter or not, is an intriguing option. He can definitely defend any guard in the league, and with Hedo in small-forward his shooting deficiencies could be ignored. However, I am still not convinced that is the way to go considering the glut in the shooting-guard position, and the fact that we need to give Redick some meaningful playing time.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bo Outlaw: 15th man

Anderson works his way back - Orlando Sentinel : Orlando Magic
As guessed at previously, Bo Outlaw will be signed to be designated 15th man, fan-greeter, chemistry professor, or whatever. This will fill the 15 man roster, assuming that he, Diener and Augustine all make the team.
Forward Bo Outlaw, 35, might be slowing down, but he still has value to the Magic -- especially off the court. It's what he brings to the locker room, and to the practice facility, setting an example for many young guys on the roster.

Although Outlaw doesn't figure prominently in any playing rotation -- unless the team is wrecked by injuries -- he will be an inexpensive insurance policy at forward.
The offseason has hardly been momentous:

Out: Stevenson, Augmon, Kasun
In: Redick, Bogans, Augustine

It's hard to see much improvement there, but it does give Otis Smith tremendous flexibility if required to remake the roster on the fly this year. Grant Hill & Pat Garrity represent $20.4 million in expiring contracts and Outlaw, Diener & Augustine fill three roster spots with non-guaranteed contracts. Of those five, only Hill is a likely contributor. In addition they are $6 million under the luxury tax cap which allows them to take a few higher salaries back in trade. Kelvin Cato and Penny Hardaway's expiring contracts turned the Magic around last year. This year Magic fans have legitimate optimism to expect a winning season plus the benefit of holding valuable assets and the flexibility to use them if the opportunity arises.

NBA Trade rules for teams over the salary cap state that salaries must match within 25% plus $100,000. My gut tells me that Grant Hill is not going to be traded and his enormous salary is going to be carved up between Dwight, Darko and Jameer to keep them together for the next six years. Darko's career is on the line this year. He is a restricted free agent next year whose value could soar to over $10 million per season. He will either need to be resigned or replaced with a free agent of similar value next summer. Howard and Nelson are eligible for extensions next summer that would start in the 2008-09 season. If all three stay on track to stardom the Magic will be paying them about $16 to $20 million more per season than they currently make.

Player, 2006 Salary, Trade Range, Comments

Grant Hill, $16,901,500, Trade Range: $13,441,200 to $21,226,875. The highest paid player this year is Kevin Garnett at $21 million. Hill could be traded straight up for any of the top 25 paid players in the NBA this year. That includes players subject to trade rumors like Garnett, Allen Iverson, Chris Webber, Jermain O'Neil, and Ray Allen. Not sure I would want any of them except for Ray Allen and he has four years left on his huge contract. A team looking to flush two or three contracts and start over could also be a possibility and still give the Magic cap flexibility to sign their upcoming free agents. The Diener, Outlaw and Augustine contracts do not become guaranteed until the first week of January 2007 allowing the Magic to take in more players than they trade out without a financial penalty.

Pat Garrity, $3,525,000, Trade Range: $2,740,000 to $4,506,250. This trade range would get you a former first-rounder on a rookie contract or a guy like Keith Bogans who is worth half the annual salary exception. Probably 60% of the league is in this range. Add Diener and Garrity together and the top end of the range grows to $5,336,500. The full 2006-07 Mid-Level Exception is $5,215,000 million which covers 85% of the league. Add Garrity, Diener and Dooling together and the range grows to $9.5 million which buys a big man or a Corey Maggette. If the Magic are contending and need to pick up a solid veteran contributor at the trade deadline this is a pretty good possibility. Not to mention the value of Garrity off the roster.

The Magic entered the summer needing a starting SG, a backup C/F, and more outside shooting. We don't know whether they filled any of those needs with the new guys. They did, however, keep the door open for all types of mid-season trades that could provide another leap forward.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Darko Sighting

Milicic hots up as Serbo-Montenegrins whip FYR Macedonia

BELGRADE (FIBA World Championship) - Serbia & Montenegro defeated FYR Macedonia 94-79 in the first and last game to be staged in Belgrade this summer before the FIBA World Championship in Japan.

Darko Milicic scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Blues, who trailed 12-4 before going on an 11-0 run midway through the opening quarter to take control for good.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Stevenson comes to his senses too late

John Denton

It sounds like he's more blue about no longer being a starter on the Magic than the money but at least he knows who is to blame.
But deep down, he knows most of the blame falls on his shoulders. And it's going to take time to heal the hits he's taken to his pocketbook and pride.

"I didn't want to leave (the Magic) because I felt I worked my way up there, going from the gutter to being a starter," Stevenson said. "For it to all happen like this, it's really frustrating."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Micro Management; A Magic Killer?

Micro management has been synonymous to bad management in recent management studies. The fact is some of the best managers of our time have been micro managers. These, however, are extremely talented and charismatic individuals who have unique leadership qualities, and in order to expand their influence to the lowest layers of the establishment’s structure, need to be micro managers. Other than those exceptions, micro management discourages innovation and restricts flexibility, and in the long run, suppreses the establishment’s progress.

We have over 2½ months till the start of the season, and before a few victories blinds our judgment to the point of making it a sin to criticize constructively, I would like to state for the record that Brian Hill is a micro manager without the talent or the leadership qualities. The success of the team towards the end of the season was mainly due to the fact that Hill turned the players loose, and with Jameer pushing the ball and getting into fastbreak situations, the Magic outgunned many high caliber teams. Coming next season with a healthy Grant in the mix, Magic could be an outstanding fastbreak team. That goes against Hill’s structured/low paced system (that is if we could call it a system).

Additionally, excellent micro managers are leaders who are attentive to the needs and sensitivities of their subordinates to the lowest levels. Hill is incapable of connecting and maintaining a relationship with the key players, let alone going down the ladder to the basic role players.

Watch him early in the season, and do not let victories, here and there, fool you. If he continues to micro manage, he could suppress the development of the Magic to become a bona fide powerhouse in the east, and potential elevation to a championship caliber team. Also, let’s note that Magic’s leverage in the next summer’s free agency market is directly related to the team’s success in the 2006-2007 season.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The High Cost of Ego

ESPN.com - NBA - 'Minimum' wage: Wizards get a deal in guard Stevenson

Opts out of $3 million guarantee as a starter thinking he is worth $5 million, er, 4.5 million, uhm $4 million. And definately not $10 million for 3 years that Otis offered.

Oh no, wait that's actually $932,015 as a backup.

Call it the $2,067,985 error in judgement.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Magic to open 2006-07 season at home November 1st against Bulls

The Magic will open its 18th season on Wednesday, November 1 at home vs. the Chicago Bulls. Game time is 7 PM.

Some other key home dates:

vs. Miami: Sat. Dec. 30
Wed. Apr. 18

vs. Cleveland: Sat. Dec. 16

vs. Chicago: Wed. Nov. 1
Thu. Mar. 8

vs. Detroit: Fri. Dec. 8
Fri. Feb. 23

vs. Dallas: Tues. Jan. 23

vs. Houston: Sun. Feb. 25

vs. LALakers: Wed. Dec. 27

vs. San Antonio: Fri. Feb. 9

For the complete schedule and breakdown, go to www.nba.com/magic