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.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Whit Watson on Darko and more

I invited Whit Watson to leave a comment on the blog with regard to the Darko's situation, and he kindly did drop in and left his comment under the post titled "Howard BELIEVES in Magic". The following is the full qoute that I thought should be brought up to the forefront. Thank you Whit, and yes, I know where to find you:

"Matt invited me over here, but now I think he might be trying to kill me... seriously, as one of the last twelve NBA fans on earth, I apppreciate a good debate.Up front, let me say that as a former Magic employee, I tend to sympathize with GM's and coaches in general. Yes, there are some bad ones, but even the so-called "idiots" are more intimately involved in the game than you and I could ever dream of being. None of them make decisions for the hell of it -- okay, except maybe Isiah.So why should Howard be a center and not a PF? Because in the Eastern Conference, there's only one center who can match up with him offensively, and he's on the tail end of his career down in Miami (and was never a big fan of defense even when a youthful member of the Magic). Exploiting matchups is a very big deal to coaches and GM's. Fact is, Howard is a bitch to guard and now has the body to match up with any center in the conference. Head to head, Howard beats just about every other player at the center spot in the East. As for Darko - I'm cautiously optimistic that he will turn out to be as good as he appeared for the final few months of last season. My only concern about him is this: Detroit didn't play him for a reason. There HAD to be a reason. If he's that talented - and it appears he is - something else had to be at work behind the scenes, and it's not just a glut of talent on that Pistons title team from a couple years back. Again, coaches and GM's make decisions based on reason, not emotion. Looks like Dumars correctly spotted the talent when he drafted Darko ahead of Carmelo - but then the kid didn't play, and they traded him for contract space. As a lifetime NBA guy, that makes me nervous.Assuming that he was A. young, B. homesick, C. whatever, and is now happy and acclimated, I see no reason not to give him big minutes in Orlando. Starter or bench is irrelevant - what matters is who's on the floor in crunch time. If Darko comes off the bench, but plays 30 minutes a game and is on the floor for the final two minutes, that's maximizing his value as much as naming him a starter. Personally, I'd love to think that the Magic have enough depth to use him as a spark off the bench, but I have no problem with him starting, either. He's a long-range threat as a PF, can block shots, and will outsize most of the players he matches up with (that exploiting matchup thing again). If his ego requires him to be a "starter" in order to be happy, do it. Like I said, it really doesn't matter as much as we think it does.Hope that makes sense. Thanks for the invite. See you on TV.

Whit Watson
Sun Sports"


  • At 4:43 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    It's pretty cool of Whit to take the time and comment over here!

    I can't argue with any of his comments. Well said in regards to Dwight.

    My only thoughts in regards to the fall of Darko in Detroit was that he was under Larry Brown for his first 2 seasons and that pretty much buried his early career and confidence in Detroit. Of course Flip came in last year, and he still didn't receive any minutes, but I'm sure we're all hoping that it was a case of "too little-to late" and he already was so beat down from Brown that he just wanted out. Think about J O’Neal. All of us know, sometimes you just need a change of scenery. You know it had to be tough for the kid, coming from overseas, and being benched because Brown doesn't believe in playing rookies. Regardless, it's all speculation. I guess we just have to hope that Darko is happy and ready to play here in Orlando. Maybe that's why Otis has held out on a new contract.

    Watson brought out a lot of solid points. If he comes off the bench, plays 30 minutes, finishes games, then in the end it doesn't matter. I guess what matters is: whatever works for Darko, gets him going, and what is best for the team.

  • At 4:52 PM, Blogger Matt said…


    You may know something about Darko that I do not know, but in all honesty I do not know what motivates this foreign kid who might still have communication problems, or may not trust anybody to open himself up to. However, I know the following:

    1 - He looked very impressive towards the end of last season despite the conditioning issue, and his numbers were way above that of Battie's.

    2 - He bulked up during summer, and his stats at FIBA were impressive compared to known centers in NBA that he played against.

    3 - I think we all agree that with Darko realizing his full potentials, the Magic future will be a lot brighter.

    As I do not know much about his psyche, I am suggesting a safer route of putting him in the position of responsibility, and setting up a control mechanism of "objective and measurable" goals to be met in order for him to maintain the job. Now, if he suffers/suffered a fragile psyche or has a huge ego, or whatever else, that is a much safer route and is in line with modern management techniques. The consequences of the old technique of " earning the spot" is unpredictable at this time, and may disasterously, backfire.

    I hope it makes sense.

  • At 5:12 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Nice job, Matt, getting Whit to check out our blog and comment about the Magic, specifically Dwight and Darko.

    Intro, I echo your comments about the fall of Darko in Detroit. A change of scenery can indeed do wonders for a person, as you pointed out with Jermaine O'Neal going from being seldom-used at Portland to a legit star in just a few years with the Pacers.

    I haven't read Whit Watson's writings too much, but he seems to be a very knowlegeable NBA person, and is a good writer.

    Interesting what he had to say about Darko, that as long as he plays 30+ minutes a game and is there in crunch time, it doesn't matter if he starts or not. I honestly can't see Darko not starting by the time the regular season gets here, as he seems to be having a great training camp so far, and Brian Hill is impressed with him. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Darko is named the starter at PF before the pre-season comes to an end.

  • At 5:40 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Very well said Matt!

  • At 9:29 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    The problem is precious time is being wasted where the members of the first unit get to practice and play with each other as a team. As you have noticed, for a second day, in Battie's absence, Pat Garrity took his place on the first unit.

  • At 2:27 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Yeah, I know, and I hope that is going to be made up in the preseason.

  • At 4:15 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    Good job Matt getting a bonafide central florida (near) celebrity to comment on the blog.

    As always, Watson makes good points, but really who cares about the commitment or intimate involvement of Billy King, Billy Knight, or John Gabriel? I would prefer to think that the idea of signing a guy to an $84 million contract while his foot was in a cast was an act of impulse rather than of careful deliberation.

    The press still treats Joe Dumars like he's a sage but his track record lately is suspect. He got his title, thanks mainly to John Gabriel seeing no value in Wallace and Billups. But he completely blew the Darko deal on both ends and GM's are going to be studying the whole Wallace free agent debacle for generations. He essentially wound up with Nazr Mohamed and gave up Wallace, Darko, Arroyo and Maurice Evans and has no cap flexibility for years unless he dumps Billups. Way to go Joe! But I'm sure he worked very hard and put in long hours to get that done...

    Detroit didn't play Darko for a reason. Right. And Larry Brown didn't play LeBron, Carmelo and D.Wade in the last Olympics for a reason too. Because Larry Brown jumped the shark sometime during his stay in Philly and could no longer stomach young players who didn't "play the right way." Asshole that he is, Brown didn't even mention Billups as one of the best 5 point guards he ever coached in an interview last year. All Billups did was be finals MVP of the only NBA title LB has coached.

    So blame Larry for burying Darko for two years. Dumars was probably too busy being backstabbed by Brown to stick up for his draft pick. And it's likely that Darko really wanted out of Detroit by this time last year.

    I'm not cautiously optimistic about Darko. I am hugely optimistic about him and frightened that the Magic will do something dumb and not wrap him up for the next 5 or 6 years. He along with Dwight and Jameer have me thinking NBA finals in the next three years.

    Darko turned 21 this summer. Only Ariza and Howard are younger. His past in Detroit is not his problem now, and it's not ours. All that matters is the promise he showed last year for the Magic, and this summer at the FIBA WC.

    I can't wait to watch these guys, in the new arena, winning 60 games a year.

  • At 5:38 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Nice post WeRDevos. I am not sure what Whit meant by "intimate involvement", and I agree that I do not care if it does not produce good results. For the same token "intimate involvement" should not prevent anybody from questioning bad decisions, when they occur. After all, decision making is a process, and if any part of the process breaks down, error is the end result.

    I agree that Darko should be signed up as soon as possible, and before his stock hits the roof, the same way that I believed Ariza should have been signed much faster, and without being exposed to the market conditions. I read some comments from Smith about waiting the season to the effect (paraphrasing) that allowing Darko to think while we watch his development. However, I think that I have read somewhere else that the negotiation with his agent is ongoing. I am getting to like Smith, but I do not think he is of the type who takes calculated risks, or may be he is framed not to.

  • At 1:10 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Nice hearing from you werdevos. I really enjoyed reading your comments along with Matt’s.

    I'm hoping Darko has a new deal before Oct. 31st. His value is going to go up pretty much no matter what this year. He's a young talented 7 footer, in a league that really lacks talented big men.

    Think about guys like Okur, Dalembert, LaFrentz, Boozer, etc; and how teams were willing to shell out big dollars on them. Someone will be willing to throw big dollars at Darko no matter what he does this year. He would have to do absolutely nothing and get injured to not land a big contract.

    If we wait, and we pay more, I hope the Magic have no problems with luxury taxes.


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