Still Going Strong on Day 2
If there were any signs of fatigue after Day 1, they weren't too visible in the early stages of practice as the intensity and hustle of the first practice seemed to carry over well to Day 2. In fact, in the first hour, Trevor Ariza and Carlos Arroyo went through a couple intense battles during one-on-one drills, Darko Milicic and J.J. Redick both went to the floor hustling after the ball and Grant Hill had to be treated for a bloody nose after taking a hard hit to the face.
But for each player that went to the floor after hustling for the ball, there were three teammates at his feet ready to pick him up. And while some are challenging for a spot in the starting rotation and everyone is competing for playing time, it's those little things that demonstrate this team's desire to win and play as one.
Dwight Finishing Strong: One of the most impressive things I've seen in the first couple days of training camp is how well Dwight is playing close to the basket. Perhaps all that summer training against Elton Brand, Chris Bosh and company really paid off. There doesn't seem to be any hesitation from Dwight on putting the ball on the floor, making a quick move and then getting to the rim. Dwight has had some stellar post moves against Darko Milcic, Tony Battie and Bo Outlaw in the first couple of days.
Trevor Ariza: Apparently Ariza spend his summer vacation practicing a variety of jump shots, from set to off-the-dribble-mid-range and has been displaying his new-found shooting touch. He has also been a defensive stand out. It could be a major plus to have a 6-8 athletic player such as himself step up big. The coaching staff loves the positional flexibility and depth he provides. It's no wonder that ESPN.com named his re-signing as one of the 10 most underrated moves of this past off-season.
Grant Hill: Not to jinx the guy, but he's supposed to be looking better than ever. He hasn't wasted any time and showing it either. Hill seldom dunks, but he raced down the floor for breakaway slams on successive possessions during a controlled scrimmage -- and trainer Tom Smith didn't flinch. Or faint.
J.J. Redick: He says he's rusty, yet that didn't stop him from making 12 consecutive shots from 3-point range in drill. Just imagine what the guy can do when he isn't rusty.
Glass Half Full: It's Trevor Time
Milicic looks to play his way into starting role
Sentinel: Perfect Liftoff
N-J: Redick Practices
FL Today: Back By Design
SIDE NOTE: Fran Vazquez, whom NBA fans remember as the guy who ditched Orlando a month after the Magic made him their first-round draft pick in 2005. "I wasn't prepared," the 23-year-old Vazquez said through a translator. "I'd prefer to stay here for two years and improve as a player. In a couple or three years I can go to the NBA and get a key role. But I wasn't prepared when they drafted me." The 6-foot-10 forward looked prepared. He flew to New York and was introduced by commissioner David Stern after he was drafted. He went to Orlando and appeared excited, even snapping photos of Grant Hill's locker. But he got cold feet, and a reported four-year, $8.3 million contract convinced him to stay in Spain. "I knew [the Magic] were disappointed," he said. "I talked to them, and they understood what I was thinking. Right now, my relationship with Orlando is good."