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.


  • At 5:04 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Nice assessment of Magic's chances in the upcoming season.

    I agree that Magic has enough talent to make the play-offs barring major injuries causing considerable "Players-Game" losses. Even with moderate amount of injuries, the team's depth should compensate.

    I also agree that making to the 4th spot for the immediate season is a far-fetched goal since it is not dependent on the talents' pool, but rather on the coaching skills, allowing to steal 5 games while not losing 5 games not expected to lose (a total of 10 games).

  • At 7:09 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I know all of us are very excited about the Magic's upcoming season, but like WeRDevos and Matt said, we can't get too carried away based on a sensational 20 game stretch during the closing month.

    However, I think that the Magic will beat out 4 of the 5 teams that WeRDevos mentioned in his post, but I don't think they can finish better than the Bulls. I think the Magic's strong depth will really help them over the course of a long season, like Matt pointed out. Because of that reason, I like the Magic's chances of finishing in the top 4 in the East, and 47-48 wins is an attainable goal I think.

    Yes, coaching is another variable here as Matt mentioned, and it will be interesting to see if BHill can help the Magic win some close games with his coaching strategy.

    Remember the Milwaukee game last season where, in the final seconds of a game the Magic led by 3, Hill failed to call a TO that would have allowed his team to inbound the ball at half-court instead of under their own basket; instead, the Magic messed up the inbounds pass underneath giving Milwaukee a chance to tie. Fortunately, the Magic held on, but Hill will need to make better decisions in the closing seconds of close games to give his team the best chance of winning.

  • At 8:55 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    You cannot expect an ostrich to fly just because it has feathers!

  • At 9:04 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    I ran some numbers below. No doubt about it, if we get 75 games or more from Howard, Nelson, Hedo, Darko, Ariza, Arroyo and Dooling the team has a super chance of making the playoffs.

    Let's say the goal is 45 wins, which would get a clear #5 seed last year. That is a 9 game, 25% improvement over last year.

    Last season by month:

    Nov: 7-7
    Dec: 5-8
    Jan: 6-9
    Feb: 2-12
    Mar: 9-8
    Apr: 7-2

    Francis was suspended the first 3 games of December, then tanked January when he decided to stop shooting.

    February was a disaster, Nelson missed the entire month with injury and of course Francis was traded.

    Could it be that dumping Francis alone is worth a nine game improvement? Could be. What a head case.

    Dooling (32 games) and Nelson (20 games) injuries last year clearly cost the Magic some games. Not sure what to say about the effect of Hill's 61 games missed. Garrity missing 25 including 21 of the 22 last games was a plus.

    Team record when guys play:

    Jameer 31-31 .500 (5-15 .250 without)
    Darko 17-13 .567(19-33 .365 without)
    Arroyo 13-14 .482(23-32 .418 without)
    Ariza 13-6 .684(23-40 .365 without)
    Hedo 35-43 .449(1-3 .250 without)
    Dooling 23-27 .460(13-19 .406 without)
    Battie 36-46 .439
    Howard 36-46 .439
    Stevenson 36-46 .439

    Hill 6-15 .286 (30-31 .492 without)
    Francis 17-22 .436(19-24 .442 without)

    Darko, Arroyo & Ariza showing up (or is it Ariza, Darko & Arroyo?) clearly saved the season and the future.

  • At 3:37 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    The East couldn’t be anymore WIDE OPEN as it stands right now. Who is the best in the East? Are there even any legit contenders? You could make a fair argument that the Bulls will be as good if not better than anyone else in the East. Then again, if you break down the Bulls compared to the Magic, many could argue that the Magic are better off than the Bulls, especially potential and growth wise. The Magic do lack one thing, experience, but at the same time, as weak as the East is, I don't know how much of a difference that will make. The Magic of 95 showed they could go from a team that never won a playoff game, to doing a lot more than winning 1 game or 1 playoff series. Then again, the Magic do have experience all over, it’s just not together, rather scattered on different teams and leagues for that matter. The fact of matter is, the Magic are good enough to be the best in the East. At the same time, they are young enough to where if they don't handle the pressure, they might be left barely fighting for a playoff spot. Still, Orlando hasn't had a team with this talent, heart, and depth ever. We've had the talent, but the heart was questionable, and the depth didn’t exist. We've had the heart, but the talent was lacking. This will be the 1st time they all come together. I just don't see a team of guys with this kind of "character" not stepping up. Does that mean I see us 1st in the East, no, but I do see us dominating the home court. There is no reason to believe after the finish of last season that the Magic will not continue dominating their home court. I expect that, with an average performance on the road. Like I said before, in my view they could finish anywhere between 1-8, although if I was going to put money on them, I’d say the top 4. There are a bunch of teams in the East with "potential", but not a single one that can guarantee much, except maybe a playoff birth.

    I’ll be looking forward to the breakdown of the East in September. There are not too many "up and coming" teams in the East. You know how I feel about Orlando. Milwaukee and Chicago both look solid. The Cavs will make some noise because of King James, but he needs a better supporting cast. Toronto could be something, but that is years away. Philly is done. With the loss of Peja, and the addition of Harrington there is no reason to think Indiana will do anything special, Washington has some talent, but not enough to put them anywhere but 4-8. Detroit will be in the playoffs for the team and experience they have, but the breaking up of the remainder of that team shouldn’t be far in the future, unless they find a suitable Wallace replacement. The Nets are the Nets, but Kidd is getting older so why could they do something different this year in comparison to the prior? And that leaves the Heat, who could be the default best team in the East again, but that will be a tough one with the ages of Shaq, Zo, and Payton.

    I’m sorry; I just couldn’t resist giving a quick breakdown of how I thought about the East. I was bored I guess.

    P.S.-The rest of the East consists of the Celtics, Knicks, Hawks, and Bobcats; and as of now are not worth mentioning. Although, the Bobcats will interest me with the addition of Adam Morrison.

  • At 3:48 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    The Magic have a chance to get off to a really good start, unlike last season. Even though the Magic have 12 of their first 20 games on the road, after that, from December 8th to January 7th, the Magic have a stretch of 12 of 15 games at TDW.

    The most difficult stretch seems to be from February 6th to March 28th, where the Magic play 15 of 24 games on the road. They also have a difficult 6 of 7 stretch on the road in January.

    The hope here is that the Magic can win the games on the road that they are expected to win (at ATL, CHA, TOR, BOS, etc.) and maybe steal some games that they are not expected to win, like they did in that amazing 16 of 20 win stretch the final month of last season (winning at CHI, SA, and MIA, among others).

    If the Magic can accomplish all that, we can look forward to a very successful season.


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