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, June 30, 2006

Magic sign Gerry McNamara

The potential rookie crop is now 3 with the addition of Gerry McNamara from Syracuse. McNamara averaged 16ppg and 5.9apg his senior year and was the MVP of the Big East tournament. He played 4 seasons in college. He's likely to compete with Travis Diener for a roster spot as a backup SG. This will get even more confusing for Whit Watson, McNamara is white too.

Second round pick James Augustine of Illinois is a banger who averaged 9.1rpg his senior year. He also played 4 years in college. Right now he has a good shot of earning a roster spot as the fourth big off the bench. He'll be competing against Kasun if Kasun shows up. Last year the Magic spent 1811 minutes playing Garrity (943), Outlaw (355), Cato (300) and Kasun (213). Next year most of those minutes will go to Darko.

All 3 potential rookies are four year college players. All are 22, older than Howard, Milicic and Ariza. All played for big schools in major conferences and went deep into the NCAA tournament during their careers. McNamara was a starter when Syracuse won the title in 2003, Augustine was a starter when Illinois lost to NC in the final game, and Duke made the Sweet 16 all four years of Redicks career including the Final 4 in 2004.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Whit Watson has an Opinion

I normally like Watson, but think he is off-base comparing Redick to Diener. Apparently because they are both white and play the same position it's o.k. to compare them to each other.

Compare: Redick: Diener
Height: 6'4.5": 6'1"
Weight: 190: 175
School: Duke: Marquette

Senior Yr Stats:
Position: SG: PG
Minutes: 37.1: 34.0
PPG: 26.8: 19.7
3 pointers 139-330 :68-168
Steals 52: 31
National Awards: Wooden, Naismith & AP Player of the Year : None

Just for fun, let's list the last ten Wooden Award winners:
Unlike awards like the Heisman Trophy for the NFL you could argue that the Wooden Award is a pretty good indicator of future NBA success. No guarantee of reaching superstar status, but a pretty damn good risk as an 11th (or 20th) pick. Take away Jay Williams motorcycle and all those guys are still very good starters in the NBA.

(By the way, if you are an ESPN Insider look up Chad Ford's corrected draft for 2004 -- he is now stating that DH rightly went first, but Jameer should have gone second overall.)

Rant over. Here is what Watson has to say. Sun Sports :: Whit Watson Blog:
"Now the hard part. JJ Redick.

Look, I understand every plus: four-year player at a top-25 program, school's all-time leading scorer, demands the ball in tense situations. It's the resume' that Jameer Nelson has successfully padded in Orlando, and now Redick brings his copy.

Plus, we've heard of him. Don't think for a second that the Magic didn't have 'public relations impact' somewhere on their list of criteria for the 11th pick. It may have been 47th on the list - behind 'knows the Windsor knot' and just in front of 'uses deodorant' - but it was there. Redick is the most recognizable college player that Orlando has drafted in the first round since Mike Miller six years ago, and that's not a bad thing.

My question is this: do the Magic figure to work Redick into the starting lineup, or will he be a Mariano Rivera-style closer, coming off the bench to bomb away? Because if they see him as a 35-minute-per-game guy, I'm a little concerned. At 6-5 (which means 6-3 and a half), who does Redick guard?

Just in his own division, he's got Dwyane Wade, Gilbert Arenas, and Joe Johnson. We haven't gotten to the Nets, Cavs, Pistons, or Bulls yet. There's a reason that Travis Diener, a second-round pick last year who brought a scaled-down version of the Nelson/Redick college cache', rarely saw the floor as a rookie: said floor has two ends. The best shooting in the world is irrelevant if your guy is matching you shot for shot.

That being said, yes, Redick can flat-out shoot it. The last Magic player with that sort of step-off-the-bus range was Dennis Scott, and as I recall, Orlando won a lot of games with 3-D in uniform (Dennis couldn't guard furniture, but what the heck). Orlando was one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league last year. They need a guy like Redick.

They need him for his moxie as much as his shot. JJ relishes his role as America's Villain, and being hated has done wonders for many NBA players in the past (see Miller, Reggie). The Magic could use a little nasty in their game. Maybe Redick brings that. A little swagger wouldn't kill them."

SportsGuy has an Opinion

ESPN.com: Page 2 : Welcome back, diary:
"8:41 -- How does Orlando top last year's Fran Vasquez pick? Wait, I know ... by taking Redick and his bad back. And you're not gonna believe this, but Dick Vitale loves the pick. Even crazier, I'm agreeing with Dickie V again. He's right, Redick produced in college despite dealing with an inordinate amount of pressure for a college kid. Solid pick for the Magic. I think Dickie V has me brainwashed. He's like the Tom Cruise to my Katie Holmes."

Dickie V Has an Opinion

ESPN.com - Dick Vitale - Bulls, Blazers among draft winners:

• Orlando made a great move picking J.J. Redick at No. 11. In my 28 years at ESPN, I have not seen a kid take more abuse on the road than Redick. Opposing college coaches designed defenses to stop him and now he will go to a situation where he won't be double and triple-teamed. Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard have to be very happy with this selection.

• Foye, Roy and Morrison were the players I consider most ready to contribute right away, followed by Redick.

Time to give some grades out …

A: Chicago, Portland, New Jersey, Memphis, Utah, Charlotte.

A-: Orlando, Minnesota.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ariza, Kasun receive offers, become restricted FA's

Magic pick J.J. Redick in NBA Draft

Meanwhile, the Magic tendered offers to forward Trevor Ariza and center Mario Kasun. The players are restricted free agents, and the Magic have right of first refusal and can match any team's offer."
I believe I saw Mario signed with a Spanish team. The tender must mean they keep his restricted FA rights indefinitely. Good news that Ariza doesn't get away without a fight.

It's Redick

True Hoop: 2006 Draft Profile: J.J. Redick

True Hoop put together a pretty good post with a lot of links.

Jay Bilas thinks he starts right away. Some of the other ESPN guys are wondering if he ever starts. Last year Magic shooting guards made 40 3 pointers with Dooling hitting 13 and Diener hitting 25. Redick hit 139 college 3 pointers last year in 1336 minutes. If he's any good he should play at least as many minutes for the Magic next season.

Via TrueHoop:
“He’s so damned good, people hate to see him succeed,” says Carter. “Everybody wants to see him miss the big shots. If he starts off slow in a game and misses a couple, those fans really start cheering. They think this is a night where he’s gonna be off. But as he goes on in a game, he usually gets his rythmn. He starts hitting shots, and that’s when they hate him the worst because he comes through in the end and Duke wins another game.”
“He’s such a good shooter you have to change your defensive game plan to deal with him,” says former University of North Carolina coach Matt Doherty, now a scout for the New York Knicks. “That’s unusual, to have to do that for a 6-4 shooting guard. Usually you only do that for a really quick point guard or a big post player. He shoots that pure jump shot, not a set shot. You’re so concerned about his shooting, that you have this tendency to chase him. So he gets you up in the air and draws a foul. He’s such a great foul shooter he just kills you.”

Predicting Future NBA Success


NBA writer and blogger ranks Best 25 players in age groups 19 to 24 under the theory that those players retain their approximate rankings during their prime years of 25-29 years old.

Magic on the List:
Dwight Howard is the best 20 year old basketball player
Trevor Ariza is the 9th best 20 year old.
Darko is #6 21 y.o.
Fran Vasquez is #22 23yo
Jameer is #7 24yo.

Possibly Available SG on the list:
Martell Webster, Blazers #1 19yo
Marcus Williams, Arizona, #15 19yo
JR Smith, Hornets #10 20yo
Ronnie Brewer, #14 21yo
Rodney Carney #6 22yo
Randy Foye #10 22yo
Ben Gordon, #7 23yo

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Magic Draft Board

It's likely to come from this list:

JJ Redick
Randy Foye
Ronnie Brewer
Rodney Carney
Patrick O'Bryant
Cedric Simmons
Saer Sene

Florida Today: "Former Duke star J.J. Redick was in Orlando last Friday to dine with Smith, Twardzik and head coach Brian Hill, but Redick did not work out for the team because of a mild back injury.

He recently had a pain-killing injection in his back and was checked out by team doctors last week in Orlando. The injury was not deemed to be serious, Twardzik said.

Also, Redick was arrested earlier this month in Durham, N.C., on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, but the incident isn't expected to affect his draft stock. Redick won all or part of five national player-of-the-year awards this past season after averaging 26.8 points per game.

'It has to raise some red flags, and you just do more background checks to see if this is something that's a problem or was it just a foolish mistake the kid made,' Twardzik said. 'You go beyond just talking to the people at Duke because you don't want a one-sided story. We think we've done our homework.'

Arkansas's Ronnie Brewer, Memphis' Rodney Carney and Villanova's Randy Foye are other shooting guard options.

The Magic could opt for a post player to give them more bulk on the low block. The Magic are stocked at power forward with Dwight Howard, Darko Milicic, Tony Battie and Garrity, but they lack a true center.

Some centers expected to be available at No. 11 are Bradley's Patrick O'Bryant (7-0, 249), North Carolina State's Cedric Simmons (6-10, 223) and Senegal's Saer Sene.

O'Bryant is a classic late-bloomer whose stock had shot up dramatically of late. Sene still is learning the game but is projected as a top-notch shot-blocker with an incredible 7-foot, 81/2-inch wingspan."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A review of players who may be available for the Magic in the 11th spot

Here is what Chicago Tribune basketball writer Sam Smith had to say about the players that could be available for the Magic at the 11th spot in Wednesday's draft.

Ronnie Brewer, Arkansas, SG, 6-7, 223. Maybe the best individual defender in the draft. He's known to play all 94 feet with intense desire and has the ability to guard multiple positions. Questions remain about his shooting based on a childhood accident that limits him extending his arm.

Rodney Carney, Memphis, SF, 6-9, 227. Breathtaking athlete who comes from a family of track stars. Good shooter who can also defend, but has had stretches when he disappears from games. Terrific jumper who can get his shot off on anyone.

Randy Foye, Villanova, PG, 6-3, 212. More of a combo guard who draws the inevitable comparisons to Ben Gordon and Vinnie Johnson. Scouts are not sure of his adjustment to point guard, but he is tough, strong, can shoot with range and finish at the basket.

J.J. Redick, Duke, SG, 6-4, 190. Top collegiate player who is a great shooter with NBA three-point range and a quick release. Comes off screens like a classic shooting guard. He's not particularly quick or big and has limitations on defense. There are questions about his back from an old condition.

Patrick O'Bryant, Bradley, C, 7-0, 249. A project who is coming out too early. But the pros are intrigued about his true center size and almost 9 1/2- feet standing reach. Can rebound and block shots and has a decent shooting touch. But he has little idea about how to play his position.

Here are my thoughts about what the Magic should do:

I think that the Magic would do well to draft any one of those players except for O'Bryant. I think he would be too big a risk to take so early, considering he has so much to learn. The Magic need someone who can contribute right away, and although O'Bryant may turn into a decent NBA center eventually, I don't see him contributing much his rookie year. I think any of the other four would make a good addition to the Magic, and be able to contribute right away.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

+/- Stats for Magic

Orlando Magic NBA stats and data from 82games.com

82games.com attempts to track the relative importance of individual players in a team game. This looks at how the team performs on the court with the player, and without.

For example, last year, when Dwight Howard was on the court the team averaged a score of 109.5 to 109.3 (+0.2) per 100 possessions. When off the court, the average score per 100 possessions was 103-108 (-5.1) showing that Howard had an net effect of +5.3 points per 100 possessions and shows he made a big difference in the teams offensive performance when he was on the court of 6.5 points per 100 possessions. Here are the numbers for a few of the key players:

Player, On Court, Off Court, Net
Howard 109.5-109.3, 103.0-108.0, +5.3
Nelson 110.8-109.1, 105.6-108.9, +4.9
Turkoglu 108.7-109.9, 106.6-107.3, -0.5
Battie 108.3-110.4, 107.6-107.2, -2.5
Stevenson 107.5-111.5, 108.8-103.8, -9.0

Milicic 106.3-102.3, 108.3-110.3, +6.0
Arroyo 108.7-105.4, 107.8-109.6, +5.2
Ariza 108.6-103.7, 107.9-109.4, +6.3
Dooling 107.8-105.1, 108.0-110.6, +5.2
Garrity 106.9-110.2, 108.3-108.6, -3.0

A few observations:
1. I can clearly see now why I waited impatiently for the reserves to come in at the end of the season. The new guys definitely were outplaying the other teams on the court.
2. Milicic's effect on defense is 8 points per 100 possessions. Bless those long shot blocking arms.
3. Stevenson's rep for defense does not show up in the numbers. On court Magic give up 111.5 pts/100 possessions. When he is on the bench 103.8. That is a 7.7 point deficit.
4. Battie is less of a defensive deficit at 3.2 extra points when he is on the court.
5. As suspected, Garrity slows down the Magic offense while allowing more points defensively when he is on the court.

I admit I have never been a Stevenson fan, liking Giricek (-3.3) better and wishing Magic had kept Bogans (-1.1) instead of Stevenson. No one should trust these numbers completely for direct comparisons as different players play in certain combinations more frequently than others. But Stevenson was a starter, played 2645 minutes and his team numbers suck and his personal stats 11.0 ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.0apg, 0.71 steals are mediocre for an NBA starting SG.

I like Otis a lot. I wonder what he is going to do with Stevenson?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Today's Magic Post

Orlando Magic NBA stats and data from 82games.com

82games.com has put together a comparison of "Fair Salary" vs. actual salary. According to their calculation, Howard, Turkoglu and Nelson are underpaid, everyone else on the team is overpaid.

If you believe any of this, Battie did really good in resigning, and Stevenson will lose a lot of money in free agency.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Today's Magic Fact

Last year Deshawn Stevenson, the Magic Shooting Guard, started 82 games, played 2,649 minutes and made 2 (two, Two, TWO) 3 point shots.

Maybe winding up with JJ Redick is not a bad thing.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Summer To Do List

Last season ended on a high note with a stellar group of (mostly) nine players combining to finish 16-6 and make a run at the playoffs. What a relief it was to see a good chemistry develop after shipping off the cancerous Francis and Cato. Last years ending roster breaks down something like this:

Core to build around:
Dwight Howard -- his size, youth, skill and still huge upside probably makes him one of the ten most valuable players in the league.
Jameer Nelson -- 31-31 in games played. 5-15 in games missed. The new rules make fleet footed passing/scoring PGs who don't (or struggle to) play defense much more valuable than in the past. Jameer is close to being a top 10 PG in the league and could still bloom into the top 5 next season.
Darko -- A Pistons blog poster suggested the way for Detroit to stop Wade was to draft him and leave him on the end of the bench. Darko's recovery from the Pistons mistreatment started well. Next year he needs to step up and prove he belongs with the other top 5 choices of his draft class. Good news is he is lifting weights for the first time and has committed to spending July in Orlando.

Main Supporting Cast:
Turkoglu: Great year last year. Became a reliable third scoring option once he became a recognized starter. Game improved dramatically after Francis left and he learned he could get the ball back if he passed.
Tony Battie: starter last year, likely first F/C off the bench this year. Only big man backup. Good locker room guy that is likely to be traded somewhere down the line.
Deshawn Stevenson: I think I kept calling him Dwight last year. He opted out on Thursday and it's a toss-up if he comes back. Not much offense, often made poor decisions with the ball. Started all 82 games last year. His kind of defense doesn't show up in the box scores. Could have earned over $3 million. I wonder what kind of contract he will attract on the open market. Lots of options to replace him if he leaves.
Carlos Arroyo: Not a starter, but a great change of pace off the bench. His pass first mentality quickly becomes contagious when he is on the court. Looks slow but is deceptively quick and gets away with a lot of arm hooks to shed defenders and get into the paint for easy layups or assists. Often talked about as a trade throw-in, but I don't believe Magic will trade a Puerto Rican who seems to be worth 2,000 extra fans a game. That is really hard to replace.
Keyon Dooling: with the arrival of Arroyo and Jameer's return from injury he earned most of his playing time as a slashing backup SG.
Trevor Ariza: Sat buried on the bench forever after the NY trade. Finally emerged as a slasher who could get to the hoop quickly. Long arms promise good defense in the future. Free agent. I'd like to see him return, but the Sentinel reported he has told the Magic he would not play in their summer league if resigned. Magic seem intent on getting him back for the minimum, Ariza is looking for more. His return is probably a toss-up.

In the China Cabinet:
Grant Hill: Six years in a row finishing the season on IR. Refusing surgery this summer in the hopes of a holistic miracle. Large expiring contracts become very enticing at the February trade deadline. If Magic don't think they can land a huge fish in the Summer 2007 Free Agent fiesta (Wade, Lebron, Bosch and many more.) trading Hill in February is a good way to go. If he winds up bouncing in and out of the lineup again it could kill team chemistry.
Pat Garrity: Fundamentally sound horrible player. Owed $3.5 million this year with team option for next year. The coach seems to love fundamentally sound horrible players and we all fear this guy getting playing time. Rebounds per minute often impossible to compute.

Going, going ...
Mario Kasun: Gone. To Spain. One roster spot open for sure.
Stacey Augmon: Gone. Although he wants to play somewhere next year.
Bo Outlaw: He'll be in Orlando next year, either as 15th man with non guaranteed minimum contract, or in some community outreach management role.
Travis Diener: Gone? He signed a 2 year deal, unknown if it was guaranteed or not.

1. Improve outside shooting. Magic were 2nd worst 3 point shooters in league last year. Need to open inside up for Howard & Milicic.
2. Big Man depth. Need a banger off the bench at PF, C, or C/PF. Preferably an improvement over Battie.
3. Draft well. This is not very likely given their history.
4. Maintain chemistry. Hard to do and critical. Need to find role players to support Dwight, Darko & Jameer. Turk needs to keep starting. Arroyo needs to be at peace off the bench.

Not including trades, the Magic have between 3 and 6 roster spots to fill this summer depending on what happens with Ariza & Stevenson. Assume those guys are gone and the Magic need:

1. New starting SG
2. Backup power player
3. Backup SF

And they have a budget of about $4.5 million for all three!

Does help come from the draft? Last year the Magic shocked us by taking an unknown Spaniard who doesn't travel. If they repeat the performance this year the team is in trouble. If they actually take someone we know, the likely prospects include (from most likely to least:

1. Ronnie Brewer: draftexpress.com has Magic taking him. Very athletic SG/PG could be a perfect upgrade to Stevenson, but long range shot is suspect.
2. Patrick O'Bryant: nbadraft.net has Magic taking him. 7' beast who needs to develop skills. Probably good for short foul filled bursts off the bench as a rookie.
3. Rodney Carney: SG/SF more likely to be a small forward.
4. Randy Foye: SG Likely to be drafted before 11. There is a rumor of a trade with Houston to get Foye so Houston can take Redick.
5. JJ Redick: could provide shooting off the bench this year if he stays sober and his back is o.k. Both in doubt.
6. Sheldon Williams PF/C cancelled a workout with Magic. Believe to have a promise from Seattle at 10. Would require a trade up to get.
7. Brandon Roy: SG Likely to be drafted between 2 and 7. Magic would need to trade up and get lucky.

Magic have 2 second round picks at 41 and 50 to fill out bench cheaply with future prospects. I'm at a loss to name a single contributor Magic have ever taken in the 2nd round.

Here is my prediction. Magic will try to resign both Stevenson and Ariza for cheap. Draft a SG in the first round, a banger and a future foreign player in the second and fill the roster out with low cost minimum guys like Outlaw in preparation of a possible big trade in February.

If they resign Stevenson they try to package Dooling to move up for Foye, else they take Brewer.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Randy Foye has ties to Coach Hill

Philadelphia Daily News | 06/14/2006 | Magical ending for Villanova's Foye?
As Foye finishes up the NBA circuit - Minnesota next up tomorrow - and readies for the June 28 draft, he has no idea where he'll end up, but if one place is the front-runner for familiarity, it's Orlando.

The Magic's coach is Brian Hill, Fred Hill's uncle. Fred Hill, now the Rutgers head coach, was the associate head coach at Villanova during Foye's first 3 years. As a legendary recruiter in New Jersey, he has known Foye since the guard was in the eighth grade.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Foye, Brewer, Carney work out for Magic

ESPN.com - INSIDER - Chad Ford Blog: "The Magic had the mother of all swingman workouts on Thursday afternoon at their practice facility, bringing in six of the top shooting guards and small forwards in the draft. Villanova's Randy Foye, Arkansas' Ronnie Brewer, Memphis' Rodney Carney, Temple's Mardy Collins, Rutgers' Quincy Douby and Arizona's Hassan Adams worked out for roughly two hours against each other.

What was the verdict? A Magic spy said the workout was very competitive, but Foye, Brewer and Carney shined the most.

It's unlikely that Foye will be on the board when the Magic pick. However, Brewer and Carney (along with Duke's J.J. Redick) likely will be in serious consideration for Orlando's No. 11 pick.

Orlando needs an athletic swingman to put in the backcourt with Jameer Nelson. Either Brewer or Carney would be an excellent addition.

However, the player the Magic really covet is Washington's Brandon Roy. The Magic have been working for several weeks to move up in the draft, but they face a practical problem: How high do you have to move up to get Roy?

Conventional wisdom says No. 4 or No. 5 in the draft. But the Bulls are seriously considering him at No. 2. The Magic probably don't have the ammunition it's going to take to get that high in the draft. Dwight Howard, Darko Milicic and Jameer Nelson are untouchable. It's doubtful a team would take a player like Carlos Arroyo or Hedo Turkoglu for a high lottery pick."