To Answer Our Question...
Otis Smith On...
From Tom (10/24): Hi Otis, nice job on assembling what looks like a deep team this year. I do have a question for you: Why is it that Darko seems to be relegated to the bench to start games? Even Battie seems to have suggested that with the all-world potential Howard and Milicic could have together, Darko should be starting. It seems to me that our best chance at having a breakout season as a team is Darko having a breakout season as a player. The trade for him and Arroyo is part of the reason fans have so much optimism for this season, and it would seem to favor us to start Darko. If we need more defense on the 1st team /offense on the 2nd, we could start him and Bogans and have Hill be the 6th man of the year. Just a thought. Thanks for taking time out of your day, and for giving Magic fans hope.
Otis: Tom, Thank you very much for your interest and concern with the Orlando Magic. How many things in your life have just been given to you? You are a nice guy...you deserve to have what everyone else in life has, I think we should just hand it over to you.
It's funny that sports is one of a few places that we expect things to be given, not earned. Darko is a very talented young basketball player and will have an impact on this team in the near future. However, if he is going to start and our team is going to have success, Darko will have to earn his starting job just like every other player. We are fortunate enough to have Tony Battie on our team to be able to play whatever role we need him to play.
To answer your question about defense with the first unit, it's not a one person issue...it's a team issue. We have to do a better job with team defense and we are getting better...mostly because of Tony.
Tom, thanks for being an informed fan.
Battie Gets It...
Battie said Milicic didn't get a "fair shake" in Detroit. He said it takes time for young bigs to develop, adding, "Darko is on schedule, and it's about time for him to arrive."
Playing the role of mentor, Battie said he needs a sit-down with Milicic to encourage the quiet, almost painfully shy, Serbian native to be more aggressive.
"Maybe I need to pull him to the side, have dinner with him and see exactly where his head is at," Battie said.
"I just want to let him know that this is as much his team as it is Dwight's and Jameer's [Nelson]. I want him to know he has to be more aggressive on both ends of the court. I don't want him to just get in where he fits in. I want him to assert himself.''
Full Article: Battie will continue to start for Magic
Don't get me wrong, Battie is playing the role of the perfect veteran. But shouldn't Darko be hearing things like that from someone of higher power within the organization? Why haven't we heard Brian Hill, or Otis Smith say something like that? Why are they being so cautious with this kid? Why are they holding back, whether in regards to him starting, or getting him a new deal before his value balloons up?