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.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Orlando gets little respect...

I've been fascinated that Orlando's early season rise to the top has gone little noticed nationally. ESPN and other outlets would rather spend time worrying about Ben's headband, Shaq's knee, or the well worn story of Isiah not owning any clues. Utah, however, seems to get better press out west even as they slide back to the pack.

The general theme when they are noticed is that they are too young. Or Darko is still an enigma. It is assumed by the general wisdom that eventually they will fall behind Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Miami and probably New Jersey as well. And they rank no better than 8th in ESPN's power rankings. The other day a talking head on ESPN thought hurt Shaq is still more valuable thisyer than Dwight Howard because Howard is "too nice."

ESPN.com: SPORTSNATION - Chat-13797(Insider)

Keith (Grand Rapids): Hey Chad, do you have any idea what the Pistons got for that Darko trade? If a pick, what year?

SportsNation Chad Ford: They have Orlando's first round pick ... right now that's not looking so good. I don't think they regret losing Ben that much ... but Darko? That's another story.

Sly (Boston): Orlando and Utah are the two hottset teams in the league, do you think they will be able to sustain this and win their respected division?

SportsNation Chad Ford: Utah yes. I think they're the real deal. Great balance, well coached ... having huge years from Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer ... and we haven't really seen the real Andrei Kirilenko yet. Orlando will, for sure be a playoff team, and could win the Southeast if Shaq never gets back to 100 percent. But I still believe the Heat have some life in them and I think Orlando's a little young to sustain the pace that they're currently playing at. But make no mistake, Orlando's long term future is MUCH brighter than Miami's. By next year, the Heat will be looking up at Orlando in the standings for a long time.


  • At 10:46 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    I'll take winning over respect right now,everyone will jump on the bandwagon in time,but right now i'm enjoying the magic before everyone starts telling them their the best thing since sliced bread,but i have noticed that the media's perception of the magic hasnt really changed even with the stellar play,it may take a ten game lead in the conference before we even get talked about on espn,then a first round playoff series win to get taken seriously about competeing for a championship.

  • At 12:32 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I've noticed the same thing for the most part. Since it's still early in the season, I think all of these "pro types" are scared to go out on a limb and start talking like the Magic are legit. Although, I'm pretty sure David Stern and the advertisers are preparing for it, as Dwight Howard's name has been out there ALOT.

    Fred Carter went out on a limb on NBA TV for the Magic, but that was early on. He was pretty much the only person to do this in the media world.

    NBA.COM is actually giving us a little respect in the ranking finally ranking us as #4 in the league, and best in the East. It'll probably be impossible to get higher than that, seeing that the 3 teams ahead of us are Dallas, Utah, and the Spurs. Although, people are going to start changing their tune with Utah pretty quick if the keep losing(3 games in the last week). Don't get me wrong, they are a nice team, and they have depth, but they just don't have any standout players, which is why they will always lose in the end. Anyway, here is what NBA.COM said about the Magic, which is nothing special I might add.

    "The Magic won only 10 road games last season. They've been on the positive side of the ledger in five games in November this year."

    Here was what Bill Simmons thought of the Magic recently, which was pretty positive considering that he trashed EVERYONE in the East. He gives his thoughts on every team, it's rather entertaining.

    The big problem: The Magic are doing well because of a stifling defense, a deep bench, the best rebounder in the league (Dwight Howard), an underrated point guard combo (Jameer Nelson and Carlos Arroyo, averaging a combined 25/8 every night), an effective center combo that protects the rim (Battie and Darko), and the veteran leadership and all-around play of the great Grant Hill. Unfortunately, the words "Grant" and "Hill" are in this paragraph. He played 135 games in the previous six seasons and cracked the 30-game mark only once (two seasons ago). I hate to be a party pooper, but, well ...

    Most interesting subplot: If Hill ends up going down, they could easily flip his expiring contract ($16.9 million) with Darko for an impact player on a team looking to dump salary. If he stays healthy, they have another $11 million in expiring deals (Battie, Bo Outlaw and Pat Garrity) to move. And they still have a major trading chess piece with the rights to Fran Vazquez. All right, that's not true. But everything else is. Lots of roster flexibility here. That's a good thing for a potential 50-win team. Why not make a run right now?

    (By the way, there should be a mandate that every positive article written about the Magic this season includes a reference to Isiah single-handedly turning their fortunes around by taking Steve Francis off their hands. I'd even consider voting him "Executive of the Year" if the Magic gets a top-three seed. Seriously, what exec had a bigger impact on a team than Isiah had on the Orlando Magic? Can you name one? Didn't think so.)

    Random thought: The only thing keeping Dwight Howard from becoming the next Moses Malone -- and there's a 80/20 chance it's happening -- will be a lack of a mean streak. He's just too nice a guy. Ever seen him interviewed? He makes Mario Lopez seem hostile and combative. Just a little too much David Robinson in him right now.

    Worst-case scenario: When they're playing in the playoffs this spring, Hill is working for ABC's studio crew.

    Best-case scenario: When they're playing in the playoffs this spring, Hill is working for ABC's studio crew with Doc Rivers.

    Prognosis: Impossible to say because of Hill's health and the trading possibilities ... but let's give them 47 wins to be safe. I like this team. They play well together.


  • At 1:17 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    I'm not happy with the lack of respect and abject laziness of the national press. The Magic are built to thrive despite Grant Hill's ankle, Darko's psyche, or Dwight Howards "kid in a candy store" enthusiasm during interviews.

    After the world championships Dwight was quoted as saying he thought he could lead the Magic to a championship this year. The national press made fun of him. He's already been NBA player of the week, the Magic are 5-3 on the road, and he's leading the league in rebounding at 20 years old. He should be getting monster press by now. Maybe he needs a really good ad campaign for the lazy national press to notice him. Remember the Shaq "I'm Ready" ads with Wilt & Russell? Or Lil Penny?

    And Grant Hill isn't going to make or break the Magic's year.

    Grant Hill has been a nice addition to the early season, but I don't see him being around when Dwight is cutting down the nets. (Although Wade won a ring in his third year...) All the "national experts" seem to hedge their bets on the Magic based on Hill's fragile condition, but Magic are 2-0 without him this year, and 18-6 without him during the last 24 games he's missed during their incredible 28-10 current run.

    I count losing Howard, Nelson, Arroyo, Darko, and probably Ariza & Dooling as more harmful to the team than the (likely) injury to Hill. Bogans is pretty much sitting on the bench waiting for Hill to stop playing. And if Hill isn't around to take his place, losing Turk would be a bad break as well. (But I may be secretly excited to see what Ariza would bring to the team 35 minutes a night.) Turk has 23 games playoff experience to Hill's 15, including going deep into the playoffs.

    I don't mean to diminish anything Hill has brought to the Magic this year, but merely to argue the point that the Magic will be o.k. if/when he goes down.

  • At 5:33 PM, Blogger Ken said…

    I agree with big figure. I'll taking winning over respect any day. Especially if the so-called respect is comming from those ESPN blowhards. They'll have to jump on the bandwagon eventually, when the Magic leave the rest of the east in their dust.

    I don't know if Dwight Howard will ever be able to shake the (kid in a candy store) image. Dwight is a gentleman and a class act. And unfortunately that is something you don't see enough of in todays NBA. Dwight dosn't need to trash talk his opponents or commit silly flagarant fouls or get arrested on his personal time in order to get the attention and respect of other teams or blowhard sportscasters. He lets his playing speak for itself.

    Its really sort of funny how little the so-called experts know about this Magic team. They way they talk about Grant Hill and how the Magic will suffer if he goes down. The last time any of them payed any attention to Hill, was when the Magic first signed him and McGrady. They are still thinking this team is built around Hill as the focal point. Shows just how little they know..

  • At 7:56 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Good comments, guys. It's especially true that Grant is no longer the focal point of the team, that if he goes down, our depth is so strong that our team will play just as good without Grant, if not better.

    With that being said, I'm really happy that we have a 100% healthy Grant Hill. It will keep him fresh to sit him out the second of back-to-back games. With all our depth, we are in good shape.

    If anything does happen to Grant, I can't picture the Magic being foolish enough to trade him and Darko to another team for an impact player. That would really upset the chemistry of the team and ruin what could be a storybook season.

    I thought that Battie signed a new contract this past off-season, so his contract isn't expiring this season?

    Bill Simmons of ESPN asks what other exec has had as much of an impact on a team than Isaiah Thomas of the Knicks had on the Magic? Well, how about Joe Dumars of the Pistons? He took an injured, ineffective Kelvin Cato off the Magic's hands and gave us two outstanding young players in Darko and Carlos. Those two are worth way more than Cato's expiring contract ever would have been, in my opinion.

  • At 4:45 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Kind of funny to think about... Joe D and Thomas, The Bad Boys of old, giving the Magic a major assist! Maybe they should have left the game of basketball on the court.

    In regards to Joe D, maybe it's a case of karma, they thought they really pulled one on us (which they kind of did) when they landed Wallace, and G Hill went down for 6 years. In the end, they got 1 championship, but as it stands now, the Magic ended up getting and have 2 great younger players, and a healthy G Hill. And on the other side, the Pistons lost Darko, Arroyo, and Wallace; and got nothing in return.


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