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, 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.

4 Comments:

  • At 5:21 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    That is all good news. Jameer should assume a leadership position since Dwight is too young to fill in that position. In my view, the success of the team depends on two players improving compared to last year; Jameer and Darko which, undoubtedly both would be more confident than last year. Then comes the wild-cards in the performance of two Dookies'. Grant can simply be that stabilizing force that all young teams need to have.

     
  • At 7:15 PM, Blogger Ken said…

    That is great news. I nice to see Jameer taking the lead and wanting to bring the team together in the off-season, the sign of a true leader. Personally, I don't ever remember Magic teams of the past doing anything like that, where players took it upon themselves to bond and become a closer unit.

    Ya just to love this group of guys. Darko, Dwight, and Carlos are all having great summers. Staying in shape and improving their games. Jameer staying on the homefront, keeping everyone together and focused on their goals. Damn it's a long wait til November....

     
  • At 7:00 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Jameer is right when he said, "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." The Magic may have surprised some teams with their late-season run last-season, but now all teams are going to take the Magic seriously because of all the outstanding young talent that will only get better.

     
  • At 3:46 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Ticket Sales

    The addition of Arroyo, who is amazingly popular with the burgeoning Central Florida Hispanic community, and Orlando's strong finish last season have helped bring about a surge in season-ticket sales. The Magic already have sold 2,600 new season tickets, which compares to only 824 new tickets sold by this point last summer.

    There are a few people out there predicting that the Darko trade will prove to be the best trade in franchise history. I might be one of them...

    It sounds early, but with what Darko and Arroyo brought to our team at the end of last season. Darko is pretty much an on the court presence. Arroyo on the other hand is looked at as a Puerto Rican Michael Jordan to the Hispanic community. He's really solid on the court, great in the community, and just great for the Magic organization as a whole. Both of them will and should play major roles for the Magic team for years to come.

    A Final Thought: I've watched every televised game that a Magic player has played in this summer. All of our guys are looking great. Darko is the one who is really standing out though. This guy has future all-star written all over him if he wants it. In the Serbia/Spain game; Serbia lost the game. Still, Darko went head to head with all-star Pau Gasol the whole game. He never back down once. He looked right at his level. They traded baskets. They traded blocked shots. Darko looked a lot better on the boards. I know I talk a lot about this guy, but I expect great things. If he starts, which he should, he should put up 10/10/2 easily. I hope they resign him before his value goes up to high.

     

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