GMs Taking Notice of Magic
And apparently, NBA General Managers agree.
In the annual NBA.com GM Survey released today, the Magic are well represented. In comparison, Orlando and its players were only mentioned a little over a handful in the 2005-06 survey.
After bringing back the core of last year's team, at least a few of the NBA's general managers seem to think Orlando could be a legitimate candidate for the NBA Title.
The Magic received votes in the "Which team will win the NBA Finals 2007?" and also the "Which team will win the Eastern Conference?". The San Antonio Spurs received the highest percentage of votes with 42.9 percent, followed by the Dallas Mavericks and defending world champion Miami Heat. Minnesota and Phoenix also received votes.
The GMs selected Orlando and Washington (both received 3.6%) to finish second behind Miami (92.9%) in the Southeast Division and the Magic were received the second highest amount of votes (14.8%) for "Which team will be moved improved in 2006-07?" behind Houston (25.9%).
After his remarkable season last year - along with his play this summer at the FIBA World Championships - NBA general managers appear to be impressed with third-year standout Dwight Howard.
The Magic favorite was selected as the player to "Most Likely have a Breakout Season", capturing 32.1 percent of the vote. He also received votes as the "best center" in the NBA, behind Miami's Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan, along with receiving votes in the "most athletic" and "best offensive rebounder" categories.
Perhaps the most impressive votes Howard were received were in the "If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be?" category. Others receiving votes in that category: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan - not a bad list to be included on.
But Howard wasn't alone in being recognized by the NBA's brass. After breaking out of Detroit and unleashing his skills on the NBA, Darko Milicic was selected as the "International Player Most Likely to Have a Breakout Season", receiving 28.6 percent of the vote. He also received votes in the "Best Interior Defender" category.
Other Magic players who received votes included rookie J.J. Redick in the "Best Pure Shooter" category, and Jameer Nelson and Bo Outlaw in the "Player Who Does the Most With the Least" category.
2006-07 GM Survey