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.

Monday, October 23, 2006

NBA.COM SEASON OUTLOOK

Though they play in the backyard of the Happiest Place on Earth, the Orlando Magic haven't had a lot to smile about since blowing a 3-1 series lead over Detroit in the 2003 NBA Playoffs.

Three coaching changes, the trade of Tracy McGrady, the ill-fated John Weisbrod era, the wasted Fran Vazquez pick, Grant Hill continuing to limp through his contract. Faster than Pat Williams can write a book, the Magic had undone 11 consecutive .500 or better seasons with three straight trips to the lottery.

Only last February was the Magic kingdom finally infused with a little pixie dust, when Orlando made two deadline deals, one of which jettisoned Steve Francis to New York and put the franchise squarely on the broad shoulders of 20-year-old Dwight Howard.

Suddenly, Magic fans were turning their frowns upside down. Orlando was 17-13 after the trades, benefiting from addition by the subtraction of Francis as well as the arrival of Trevor Ariza, Carlos Arroyo and even the enigmatic Darko Milicic.

With Jameer Nelson handling starting point guard duties and Howard dominating inside, Orlando won 16 of its final 22 games to salvage a 36-46 season. An offense that averaged only 92.8 points and shot 45.7 percent with Francis, exploded for 98.5 ppg and .498 shooting on Nelson's watch.

"It feels now a little like it did when I took over the first time [in 1993-94]," Coach Brian Hill told the Orlando Sentinel in September. "Shaq was going into his second season. We had just drafted Penny [Hardaway], and people knew we were on the verge of something."

Howard is on the verge of being one of the NBA's best players. He was the NBA's second leading rebounder (12.5 rpg) and a member of the FIBA World Championship team. The league's most proficient dunker (214), Howard was also among the NBA leaders in field goal percentage (.531), blocks (1.4) and double-doubles (60).

Orlando has a good mix of young and old. They have 11 players 27 or younger, but benefit from the veteran presence of Hill, Bo Outlaw, Tony Battie and Pat Garrity. The only significant hit to their roster this summer was the loss of starting shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson, who signed with Washington.

Stevenson's defense will be missed. Certainly, the Magic don't expect first-rounder J.J. Redick to fill that void, but he does quench Orlando's need for perimeter shooting. A prolific scorer at Duke (26.8 ppg last season), Redick's job will be to keep defenses from collapsing on Howard.

If he can do that and if Milicic can continue to develop, the Magic become dangerous enough to contend for a playoff spot.-- Bill Evans

Link to the complete article:
NBA.com: Magic Preview

In his last five (meaningless) games, Garrity has hit 18-of-36 shots (50 percent), including 8 of 17 3-pointers (47 percent). What can be said of this?
Sentinel: Success for Garrity

A master candidate
Shaquille O'Neal named Orlando's Dwight Howard, Houston's Yao Ming and Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire as the most likely candidates to succeed him as the NBA's most dominating player. "When age does its thing, one of them will become the new master," O'Neal said.

5 Comments:

  • At 6:08 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Bill Evans' last sentence does not say much about Magic's prospect, or does it? This team deserves a lot more credit that it has been given by sports writers. If Otis Smith keeps Hill under check, the Magic will play for a lot more than just earning a play-off spot in the lowly east.

    If Pat Garrity's number stays in the high 40% on the 3s, he could become a contributor, but I doubt those numbers will stay that high when the regular season starts. Hill is going to give him more minutes that we all may agree with, in which case, let's hope he hits his shots.

     
  • At 10:33 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    As we were talking about Garrity's probable contribution, he shot 0-6 (0-1 on 3s). The Magic with the exception of Hedo and Dwight (who did not attempt many shots) were in a shooting slump. This was a stinker.

     
  • At 12:59 AM, Blogger Ken said…

    Good points Matt. It's going to be painfull to watch Garrity lumbering up and down the floor once the regular season starts. You know as well as I do that BSH will give Garrity more than his share of minutes in games..

    I just read this comment on orlandosentinel.com in response to an article about the Magic/Heat game. Seems like someone else is not a big fan of our so called head coach. I don't know who wrote it but whoever did get credit

    " Apparently we are back to last pre-season basketball phylosophy of playing with the point guard as the primary offencive alternative , something similar to the Philly 76's. Coach Hill may preach a ball movement phylosophy but does not demand , excecution from his starting players. We all know Jameer has the offensive mentallity off shooting guard but lacks the physical stature and defensive ability to play the position. As point guard Jammer will continue to shoot first and think of passing the ball only if forced to. In conclusion we are back to the same place we were when Mcgrady and Francis were leading the team during the first half of the season last year. Expect the same results as the first half of last season and continue to expect the same results as long as Coach Hill remains with the Majic's. He belive's that the so called star players win championships not the team as a whole. Following that same phylosophy we have become a third rank power in international basketball, just look at the results at the World Championships were a team from Greece with no NBA players easily beat a USA team full of so called NBA stars specifically built and trained to win the tournament"

    I don't nessecarily agree with everything this guy says, but his BSH comments were pretty good.

     
  • At 2:51 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I agree with the comments in reference to playing "team basketball". And sure, I’ll give it to him that Hill isn’t the greatest of coaches, but who doesn’t know that?

    However, I completely disagree with the comments in regards to our guards. Sure, Jameer has shown he has no fear in regards to taking the big shot, or just taking a shot when it's needed, but in no way would I ever consider him anywhere near the likes of a Francis. Then we have Arroyo backing him up. We couldn’t ask for a better combination of point guards. Can anyone name a team that has a better combo of PG's?

    His views of this team are twisted. Guys like Francis and especially T-Mac will shoot up 20+ shots a night without blinking, where as the Magic, have no players that will do that night in and out. Since when in the history of our league has it been bad to have a point guard that can put up points night in and out?

    And last, if he wants to compare this team to any Magic team, he should be thinking about one with Shaq and Penny that played with the same philosophy as ours does today. I mean, he said it himself (indirectly of course), Dwight, or going inside, is the first option, which means the 2nd option will be based off of what happens down low. There is a major difference. Until last year the inside presence wasn't there. Last year we made the transition to give the team over to Dwight as our first option, where as before, Francis wanted to be "the man" and ended up causing major problems. The same could be said of the T-Mac teams of past. I could go on and on, but I think you get my point.

    I enjoyed the NBA TV preview with Fred Carter and others where he said "the question isn't whether this Magic team makes the playoffs, it's how far they will go". He predicted us making to the 2nd round, and possibly the 3rd for we're not taken seriously. I just thought it was cool getting some national attention like that.

     
  • At 9:54 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    I can see where the points with regard to Jameer are coming from. It is true that he does not fit the characteristics of a classic point guard, which Carlos does. He also does not have the height of a modern prototype point guard. Having all that said, Jameer is a heck of a player who has built his game around his own strengths, namely three elements:

    1 - Physical strength and stamina.
    2 - Shooting ability.
    3 - Smart leadership on the floor.

    It is true that Jameer is not as good as a passer that Carlos is, but he has the eye of an assassin, which makes the opposing point guard to be mindful of defending him at all times. That is where, as Introvert316 has pointed out a couple of times, that he covers any potential disadvantages on the defensive side, although there aren't many, because he can match any point guard's offensive output. Way back, I doubted Jameer's potentials to stardom, but like all Jameer's doubters, I was wrong. Let us wait and see what Jameer can do at helm within one full season.

     

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