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, August 03, 2007

Has the balance of power shifted in the East?

ESPN - Writer roundup:

4. Does the addition of Rashard Lewis make the Magic a postseason lock?

Abbott: Like Boston, I feel the Magic need a top-flight point guard before they can be considered a reliable top Eastern team. And again, I'm feeling that barring a surprise there aren't a lot of Eastern spots up for grabs.

Hollinger: Again, not so fast. The Magic lost nearly as much as they gained between Hill, Darko and Diener, and their neighborhood just got tougher.

Stein: A lock, yes. Just because Lewis is way -- W-A-Y -- overpaid doesn't mean I don't like the idea of pairing Rashard with Dwight Howard. As long as we're only talking about finishing in the top eight, sure. Howard and Lewis aren't enough to lift Orlando to contender status, but those two get you in the playoffs in spite of some obvious holes around them.

Thorpe: Barring injury, probably yes. Especially with the new coach. They can play big or small effectively, and Dwight Howard should only keep growing as a player. Jameer Nelson is obviously a key, as is getting production from J.J. Redick. I like both to have better seasons this year.

Bucher: No lock, but I like their chances, as much because they hired Stan Van Gundy as having added Lewis to a team that squeaked into the playoffs last year. Boston is the only certifiable lottery team from last year joining the playoff mix and with the Wizards still a mixed bag and huge question marks about Miami, the Magic have as good a shot as they did last year. Which was good enough.

The ESPN "experts" opinion puts the Magic as a slight favorite for the 8th slot. The consensus here has Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Boston, Toronto, Miami & New Jersey as making the playoffs with Orlando a likely 8th seed fighting it out with Washington and maybe the Knicks.

6. If the Celtics make the playoffs, which '07 East playoff team most likely will not make the playoffs next season?

Abbott: Gilbert Arenas could be the guy left standing at the altar, which would be especially troublesome for the Wizards, as he will be heading into free agency.

Hollinger: One of the Florida teams. Be great to see Stan Van Gundy and Pat Riley slugging it out for the 8 seed on the last day of the season; let's hope the schedule-makers come through.

Stein: The team that's about to be wracked with injuries but doesn't know it yet.

Thorpe: The Heat are in trouble. Ironically, they are beginning to look like the South Beach Lakers with maybe the best all-around player on the planet in Dwyane Wade, and little else beyond a few solid role players. It's no longer a question of "if Shaq can stay healthy," but "how many games will he miss?" Even if Wade can stay healthy all season, it may not be enough.

Bucher: Miami. It's hard to imagine Shaq and a healthy Wade not in the playoffs, but Shaq couldn't prevent a first-round sweep or attract any quality free agents and Wade's return is up in the air. And if it comes down to a battle between Orlando and Miami, I like the karmic and revenge-inspired motivation SVG brings to the table.

My own thoughts based on last years finish:

1. Detroit 53-29: will probably decline a little bit more and win 50. Saunders has never done a thing as a head coach to develop young players and the core is another year older. Detroit is likely done as a contender for the NBA championship, but will remain in the top 4 of the east for at least another year.

2. Cleveland 50-32: Bad coach. Bill Simmons called Mike Brown the worst finals coach since Brian Hill. As long as LBJ is healthy they will be in the top four and could win the east again.

3. Toronto 47-35. Excellent front office. Young team. Probably a lock for finishing somewhere between 3-6 this year.

4. Miami 44-38 Pat Riley could walk away at any time. Wade had a horrible shoulder injury. Shaq continues to fade away. And there isn't much else left. Mo Williams indicated he only visited Miami because his agent made him, but would never sign there as long as Riley was around. His suspension of Posey and Walker in the middle of the season for not being fit enough was heard around the league. Miami looks vulnerable to having an awful year unless Wade comes back really strong.

5. Chicago 49-33. I love Scott Skiles. They have loads of young talent, and an old proven center. Deng could have a huge year. Thomas could break out this year. And Yoakim Noah gives them defense, energy and spirit off the bench. Chicago is a likely candidate for best record in the East this year.

6. New Jersey 41-41. Likely to stay mediocre. Now that Vince Carter has his last big contract what will push him? Jefferson seems to be hurt a lot. And isn't Jason Kidd about 55 years old now? New Jersey seems to be stuck in the swamp and slowly sinking. It could be a 50-50 proposition that they either improve by 3 games or decline by 3 games next season, and 38 wins is out of the playoffs. NBA karma says if you don't add talent each year, you decline.

7. Washington 41-41. They haven't improved themselves in the off season. Arenas is coming off a bad injury. They seem to be in the exact same boat as New Jersey. Could easily miss the playoffs with only a slight decline.

8. Orlando 40-42. Only playoff team to upgrade their coach from last season. (Hurray!) There is suspicion that they may have not improved their personnel over the off season, but that is a stretch. Grant Hill's overall game was a shell of his past, despite o.k. numbers. Darko was all the potential of his potential. Lewis is firmly in his prime and his outside shot will finally open the paint up for Howard. Orlando has every right to believe it can pass Washington, New Jersey, and even Miami to climb to #5 this year.

The rest:

9. Indiana. 35-47 Horrible off season. Changed coaches, but for the worse? Team in turmoil, Diener may be #2 PG? Jermaine O'Neil doesn't know where he will be playing next January. They would be lucky to finish 9th again next year.

10. Philadelphia 35-47. Refused to tank last year to get a top pick. Good for them. Horrible GM. They are probably years away from making the playoffs again.

11. Charlotte 33-49. Added Jason Richardson, resigned Wallace. Cut Brevin Knight. Doesn't seem inspired enough off season to make the playoffs, but they should be improved.

12. New York 33-49. Bad second half. I have no idea what to think about a Marbury, Curry, Randolph combo for your 3 "stars." This could be a really bad idea, or might work and earn them an 8th seed. Marbury seems to be a good guy everywhere but the basketball court where he keeps the ball too long. Curry doesn't play defense and needs the ball. Randolph doesn't play defense and needs the ball. This could get ugly (and comical.)

13. Atlanta 30-52. Stupid ownership group. Bad coach. Worse GM. Great draft. Will probably finish with about 37-38 wins.

14. Milwaukee 28-54. Yi is the new Vazquez.

15. Boston 24-58. KG is still great. Anyone should want Ray Allen on their favorite team. Pierce is a bit of an enigma. Bob Ryan (Boston Globe/ESPN) calls players 4-15 the worst in the NBA. Bill Simmons thinks the big 3 can magically coach themselves and win despite Doc Rivers being on the bench. I disagree. None of the 3 have finals experience. Rivers has never won a playoff series and has never liked any big man who has played for him. This could be a bigger disaster than the Knicks if Rivers sticks around and Ainge can't build a bench.

My guess:
1. Chicago
2. Cleveland
3. Detroit
4. Toronto
5. Magic
6. Miami
7. New Jersey
8. Boston


  • At 2:39 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Nice work, WeRDevos. I only disagree with your assessment of Boston in spite of Doc River's shortfalls.

  • At 3:26 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I definitely agree the Bulls should be a favorite to win the conference. However, there's that nagging question of a low-post scorer; but if their top three in Deng, Gordon, and Hinrich can continue their solid play, Tyrus Thomas can have a breakout year, and Andres Nocioni can remain healthy, the Bulls have the roster depth to challenge for the top spot.

    I disagree with the Cavs being rated so high. Yeah, they have the superstar in LeBron, but lots of question marks elsewhere on the roster. They could make the top 4, but I would be surprised if they finished any better than 3rd or 4th.

    The Pistons are definitely a team on the decline, but still have enough solid veteran players that they will finish somewhere in the top 4.

    The Heat is also a team in decline, and they will really struggle until DWade is 100%, which may not be until a few months into the season. I doubt the Heat can top their 44 wins of last season.

    I agree that the Celtics will have a rough time cracking the top 4. They have three legit stars, but questionable depth at best. How long will it take for the on-court chemistry to develop? Also, Pierce and Allen have had several injuries in the last couple years. Can they stay healthy for a full season?

    As for the Magic, I think they have the potential to finish ahead of both Toronto and Cleveland, and could finish as high as third in the conference if everything goes right and everyone stays healthy and plays to their potential.

    That might be asking a lot of a young team. A fifth place seed probably would mean around 47 wins or so, a 7 game improvement over last season. I would be happy with that even though I think they can win more games. However, it might be difficult for the Magic to advance into the second round without home court advantage. Advancing into at least the second round would indicate the Magic will be a solid contender in the East for many years to come.

  • At 4:22 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    It's funny how the trade of KG sparked all of these playoff positioning talks this early before the season. Shortly after the KG trade, and after reading a few articles around the web; I found myself putting together the Eastern Conference from top to bottom. I haven't posted it anywhere to date, but I think I might have to soon...

  • At 4:33 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    What the hell; it was only a copy & paste away. ;)

    The Eastern Conference could be a tough Conference to make the playoffs. Now, I don’t really look at any team as a legit contender. I think everyone in the East is playing for 2nd place. However, there are no bad teams in the East. All of them have something going for them. The thing that’ll be interesting is to see which ones, if any, differentiate themselves from the rest of the mediocrity.

    1) Chicago
    They still have no low post scoring presence. Ben Wallace is on his way down. But they have a talented young nucleus that should improve.

    2) Boston
    The Celtics have as good as chance as anyone to be the best in the East. The big 3 will have to stay healthy, and they’ll need some role players to at least play decent. The point guard position might hurt them. But I’d take Boston over Cleveland any day of the week. KG is no joke, and I think he’ll remind everyone of that this coming season.

    3) Detroit
    They’re only getting older, and they’re not getting better. But they’re a well oiled machine, and good enough to stay in the top 4 of the East.

    4) Orlando
    The team will improve with the loss of Grant Hill. However, the loss of Darko will hurt them so I consider that a wash. Dwight will get better. Ariza and Redick will actually play. Jameer, Turk, and company will get better under Stan Van Gundy. Then add in Rashard Lewis, one of the most underrated players in the game today, and they shouldn’t have much of a problem making the playoffs.

    5) Cleveland
    Their team is a joke, so is their coach, and they’ve made no moves to date; but they have Lebron. Now if they can only get him to play like he cares for 82 games.

    6) Toronto
    Toronto will have a solid year, and I expect them to make the playoffs. However, the East has gotten better, and they haven’t. I don’t see them being much better than they were last season(47 W's), but I could see them getting out of the first round; maybe. The team goes as Chris Bosh goes.

    7) Washington
    They still have some holes, but they’re still good enough to make the playoffs. Oh, and they have Gilbert Arenas in a contract year; scary.

    8) Miami
    The loss of Kapono will hurt as he probably played just as hard as anyone on the roster. Shaq, Zo, The Glove, Walker... It sounds like one of those NBA Legends All-Star games where an injury happens ever 60 seconds. This team will go as far as Wade’s free throws will take them.

    9) New York
    Last year they had times where they looked pretty good. They should only get better this year, but nobody would be surprised if they melted down. I don’t think they’ll have any problem scoring in the post. But on the flipside, teams won’t have any problem scoring on them either.

    10) New Jersey
    New Jersey isn’t getting any younger. I often question how much this team actually cares. Kidd is their best player, but age is catching up to him. VC looked bad in the playoffs last season; might I add it was a contract year. That doesn’t settle well for the future; but at least they’re getting Nenad Krstic back.

    11) Charlotte
    They have a nice young team, and should only continue to get better. But I think they’re a year away from the playoffs; as of summertime anyway.

    12) Indiana
    They have Jermaine O’Neal, for now...

    13) Atlanta
    Just like Charlotte, they have a solid young foundation, but they’re not good enough to take a spot in the playoffs yet.

    14) Milwaukee
    As of now, they need to figure out the status of Yii; but on a positive, they did resign Mo Williams.

    15) Philadelphia
    Andre Miller is one of the best point guards in the league, but the rest of the team does nothing for me.

  • At 6:42 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    I don't understand how the loss of Grant will improve the team. We are talking about a solid player with 15-20 points on average any given night. Most analysis that I read consider losing Darko and Grant (both together) a wash with the arrival of Rashard, and that is how it computes based on numbers. And that is why most analysts regard the Magic making to the play-offs at a 7 or 8 spot, which by the way I disagree and rank them higher than that. Now, you may argue that Grant should not be a starter but he thinks that he is, and that is where the problem starts if he was around. I have not heard Grant making any comment to that effect, and until somebody tells me in a transparent manner that Grant refused to re-sign with the Magic unless he be named a starter, I am not going to believe otherwise. Grant at a minimum that he signed with PHO, in my view, would have been a steal. So what happened? Did anybody even try to re-sign him? They all sound like they were surprised with Grant's decision to leave, and that tells me that they were too foolishly busy with signing Rashard that nobody made any attempt to find out what Grant's position was.

  • At 7:33 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I'm not happy with the loss of Grant Hill (I thought he could have played a valuable role off the bench), but now that he's gone, the biggest positive is this means much more playing time for J.J. Redick and Trevor Ariza; both of them should be able to establish themselves as solid, consistent players this season. I'm looking forward to that rather than dwelling on the loss of Grant.

  • At 7:34 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Actually, Stan didn’t sound surprised at all in regards to Grant Hill’s departure when he was asked about it.

    Why are we better off?

    1. Grant has no place on our team. We now have Rashard, the guy everyone wanted, and I know most of you would like to see only playing small forward. We have Trevor, the guy everyone wants to see play more, and who nobody wants to see playing any other position than small forward. And we still have Hedo, who Otis seems to really like, again, small forward.

    Grant Hill fits where?

    As werdevos has said more than once, we should have traded Grant Hill back before the trade deadline.

    2. He was out injured for a while, which was no big deal. But, even when he was healthy, he was in and out of the lineup for "precautionary reasons". That can’t be good for chemistry and rotations, especially on a young team. But let’s forget that also, how many games down the stretch was he a "no show" for because he just didn’t have the gas in the tank to deliver?

    Again, this is why I said all along, he should have been a bench player. I never said he wouldn’t be a solid bench player.

    But again, there is no place for him here. Even if we traded Hedo, Rashard and Trevor are not going anywhere.

    3. But let’s say who cares to both of those points, because last season, for the first time in seven seasons, he actually finished the season playing. Where did he play? He played shooting guard. Did that do anything for our team? Did that make our team better? I mean really, he had some great individual moments, but did he make our TEAM better? It sure worked out well in the playoffs, RIP had his way with him whenever he wanted. Grant Hill was a problem on the defensive end, because he couldn’t defend other 2 guards. Then go down to the offensive end, and he can’t shoot beyond 18 feet, so he did nothing to help Dwight Howard. So I don’t care that he averaged 14/3/2, because he didn’t make the defense better, and he didn’t compliment Dwight Howard on the offensive end.

    4. The point, we would have been better off last year with J.J. or Keith playing that position. They both would have worked better on both ends of the floor. Keith would have been an upgrade on the defensive end. And they both would have kept the floor spread for Dwight on the offensive end.

    Was any of this Grant Hill’s fault; NO. I don’t think any of this was his fault. I think he could have helped our team a lot more than he did. If he was played at small forward, he wouldn’t have had to chase shooting guards around all night. He would have been playing his natural position, and we could have still had Keith or J.J. spreading the floor at the 2 spot. I blame all of this on Brian Hill, but the fact of the matter is, it was what it was, and it DID NOT make us a better team in anyway shape or form.

    So what happens this year? We put shooter on the floor at the 2 spot. Even if it's J.J., he'll have just as good of a chance chasing 2 guards around as Grant. As I mentioned before, Keith will do better. But on the offensive end, defensives will have stick that man. Then add Rashard to the front line, and defensives will have to stick him also. In turn, Dwight Howard will have a lot more opportunities to go one on one, he'll score easier, he'll have fewer turnovers, and if teams still decide to double team him, then our shooters will be left with wide open shots. It's just smart basketball. And it sucks for Grant, because he's a smart basketball player; but he wasn't used that way, because we didn't have a smart basketball coach.

    That’s all I got. I’m not trying to convince anyone. I’ll believe this regardless, but I was asked, so I tried to explain. And until we start tanking games, I still see us in the top 4, especially if we're healthy.

  • At 11:29 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Whatever happened last year was last year, and as OVERWADED has mentioned that was no fault of Grant. Passed that let's focus on some of the major misconceptions here:

    1 - trading an expiring contract is not always the best route to go because: a) An expiring contract comes off your books and will create cap space for signing free agents of your choice; b) Grant's contract gone allowed Rashard to be signed. Had we traded Grant, we could not have the cap space to sign Rashard; c) Only if Grant would have been traded for Rashard, we could have had the current line-up, and yet we had to take a player with about 5-6 million salary, as well since Rashard's contract was in the 10 million range compared to Grant's at about 16 million, and on top of that we had to deal with re-signing Rashard not to lose him to free agency. In any event we were going to end up with a player at 5-6 million range, no matter what; d) There was a chance of re-signing Grant for a VM salary that was interesting to me.
    2 - Grant at SF back-up would have been a good option to me allowing for change of pace at that position plus letting Trevor to interchange between SF and SG. Hedo should have been traded by now, regardless of what Otis Smith thinks.
    3 - Don't tell me that I am dwelling on the past, because I am not of the type, and don't try to spin for the positives that are not there. This is how it started last year, and I don't want for us to go that route again. I am not going to accept any thing less than perfect just because that is the way it is. If we accept status quo we are not going to be able to bring the change about.
    4 - Finally, what I don't buy into is that losing Grant made the team better. It does not make sense to me, and that is all that my point was.

  • At 3:34 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I would rather have Rashard, Trevor, or Hedo than Grant. Grant would be the last one of the small forwards that I'd want to keep.

    If Hedo is the guy you wanted to trade so we could keep Grant, why? Hedo is a lot better of a shot, which compliments Dwight. In Orlando he’s been a better passer. And he’s younger.

    And it doesn't make sense that "losing Grant made the team better". OK, but it also doesn't make sense how the "superstars" of the NBA struggle to beat the international TEAMS around the world who have NO STAR PLAYERS.

    Grant can be a solid role player. Grant is a smart basketball player. But Brian Hill COMPLETELY misused him last season, in a way that didn’t benefit the team at all, and that is my point.

    Now IF we had a good coach last season, that used Grant in a way that would have benefited the team; I wouldn't be able to say we'll be better this coming season.

    But if you look back as last season, and that’s all we can do, Grant was played improperly, and it didn’t benefit the team.

    But I think this is what you’re getting at… If we resigned Grant, Stan would have played him where he should have been played. In that case, I agree Grant could have helped us out this coming season. But at the same time, he’d be taking playing time away from guys that need to get out on the floor, future players; and Grant’s time in the league is coming to an end.

    I think it was as good of time as ever to move on from that era.

  • At 10:44 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    OVERWADED, I like the paragraph before last on your post which is a sensible comment, although I may differ slightly. Who knows how SVG may have used Grant, and potential injuries may have effected the line-up? In any event I would have loved to have a player of that caliber for 1.8 million, which by the way is about 5 million less than what Hedo is getting paid. That 5 million added to some cap space could have got us a decent Big with mid-level exception.

  • At 10:52 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    You guys are making two completely different points. Intro's saying "grant was misused",and matt "grant couldve helped us". If bsh had any clue,grant's value wouldve been seen and grant would still be here,but as we know that didnt happen. YOUR BOTH RIGHT! But when it comes to the question of whether grant "SHOULD" be here or not,the answer is no. With the way we want to play,rashard and hedo are the most important small-forwards we have because both can do just about anything on the floor,their three point shooting alone makes them more valuable than anything grant can bring to the table "FOR US",the suns didnt have a good small-forward so they just upgraded the position for them. So it comes down to keeping trevor or grant from a basketball standpoint,age versus youth,steady-heady vet versus athletic freakish ability,neither spread the floor so trevor's gonna win everytime. To me it doesnt make any sense to think grant couldve been a part of this team,asking a 7 time all-star and top 50 player to sit the bench while all these young guys learn to play the game wouldve just been wrong,letting him chase a championship makes much more since so that our young perimeter the one's that will be together for the next 5 or 6 years can grow together without any ageing vet taking minutes away from them. Im not saying that if grant were still here he couldnt have helped us,the question is "who would play grant over any of the other three? And why? Im just saying that if grant was still on the team he would be getting very little minutes in my rotations because of his lack of spreading the floor and the fact that he doesnt bring energy or athletism to the table at his age (like trevor),weve already talked about the fact that grant shouldnt be playing the two,so that only leaves the small-forward spot for him to play,he'd be 4th on my list,rashard would start,hedo would back him up,and trevor would be my insurance,those three would get all the minutes.

  • At 4:16 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Thanks BIG for jumping in. I think you understand what I was trying to say.

    What is considered "sensible" to one person might not be for another. Especially relating to a basketball player and his role on a team; it’s all based off of ones opinion.

    Maybe I should have just said; "the Magic will be fine without Grant, because we’re fully loaded at his position".

    The Magic will remain my #4 seed.

  • At 8:49 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Guys, it's all about winning, and why not win while you develop your young talents. There should be a perfect mixture of the two.

    I prefer Trevor as the back-up at SF while J.J. will spread the floor concurrent with him. we need some defense and change of pace out there, and Trevor provides that as opposed to Hedo who is the poor man's Rashard. By the way Hedo is an inconsistent shooter, and you all mentioned that plenty of times, last year. When he is hot he could shoot with the best, but when he is not, watch out. Here are the numbers to back it up:

    04-05: FG% 41.9%/ FG3% 38%
    05-06: FG% 45.4%/ FG3% 40.3%
    06-07: FG% 41.9%/ FG3% 38.8%

    Those numbers are not too bad but what I could not pull up - but we know that to be the case - is that his shooting percentage fluctuates wildly from game to game, which makes him unreliable. Again, 3 at SF are just too many, and if there is one odd man out that would be Hedo, in my view. Additionally, as I mentioned, his 6+ million salary could get us a decent Big where we are lacking the most.

  • At 4:24 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    First off; if 3 at the SF position is too many, I do not understand where you're going with this?

    Rashard 1
    Trevor 2

    Even if you wanted Hedo to go, so Grant could stay, he'd still be the 3rd player in the position demanding minutes?

    It is all about winning; but we didn't exactly win last year (or any of the previous 6), and Grant played 60 so odd games? He wasn't exactly a "difference maker".

    Oh, and the season prior, when we finish on a hot streak, Grant was already done, and Hedo shined.

    AND everyone in Orlando wants to see J.J. and Trevor out on the floor. Rashard is obviously going to be playing near 40 minutes a night.

    If we could have traded Hedo, there might have been a place for Grant, but that didn't happen.

    Regardless, Hedo still fits this TEAM far more than Grant. Hedo can shoot. Hedo was often our best TEAM player in the starting rotation last season. He is also a hell of a lot younger and healthy than Grant.

    By the way, most shooters are rhythm shooters; they are either on or off. Hedo is one of these guys. J.J. as great of a shooter as he is, has called himself a rhythm shooter. But the fact of the matter is, if a player can shoot the ball, he demands attention and defense. You don't want to dare a rhythm shooter to heat up on you by disrespecting his shot by not guarding him. One shot drops, and the next 5 after are going to drop regardless if a defender is going to guard him. I know this myself because that is what I do, I can shoot the ball. I'm in RDV every damn night of the week shooting, over and over and over. It’s my release. I've played with some great players, and on any given night, I can shoot with the best of them. I'm still waiting for the day I bump in to J.J. so I can beat him in HORSE; no dunks aloud of course. ;)

    The funny thing is, I've never tried to disrespect Grant Hill's game. But the Orlando Magic didn't get anything close to their money's worth out of Grant Hill. For 7 years his contract was viewed as one of the worst contracts in sports history. But still, I respected what Grant did, or TRIED to do. I just never thought anyone in Orlando would defend him like we were losing a "legend". Grant isn't Shaq, he's not Penny, he's not T-Mac, he’s not Nick or Dennis; he's not even a Corey Maggette. I expect it to be more like when the Magic lost Ron Mercer, whose stats were better than Grant’s, and nobody noticed. The Magic will be fine without him.

    I’m done talking about Grant Hill. Much more, and my thoughts will go right along with werdevos’s.

  • At 7:03 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    Are you still stuck on Grant's issue? I was making a case on Hedo, and didn't say anything about Grant in that post.

  • At 2:29 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I hate to make excuses for a player, but Hedo had that mysterious flu bug or whatever it was off and on last season, and that could have had something to do with his inconsistency.

    Hopefully Hedo has that flu bug beat now, and that will make him a more consistent shooter this season.

  • At 3:55 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    EVERYONE on our team was inconsistent on the offensive end last season.

  • At 7:39 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    The question that I would like to put to debate is who should be the first player off the bench in SF position? My vote goes to Trevor, for reasons mentioned before.

  • At 10:46 PM, Blogger Syntribo said…

    I'm kind of more objective because I'm not a Magic fan.

    I remember Grant playing against Chicago when Chicago was the best, and Jerry Stackhouse was with Grant on Detroit. The Bulls won the game, but Grant was unstoppable. No one could stop him. Too bad such a great player had to get such an injury. If he was like he was before the injury, I really think he could help the Magic by driving the lane and making the opposing team collapse down on him. He would then have the option of taking the shot, dishing it to Dwight as Dwight's defender has to try to stop Hill, or even throwing it back out for a wide open 3. It would have been good, but he just was never the same after such a devastating injury.

    I hope the Bulls come out first in the conference. I'm still a little skeptical. I know alot of people talk about not having a low post scorer. I guess with Scott Skiles style of play, that's more important now. The Jordan led Bulls never had a low post scorer because with the triangle offense, they never needed one. But no teams really run that today. And, of course, Jordan was everywhere, down low on the block, outside, anywhere.

    I see Boston being a good team, but not if they can't fill those other HUGE holes on their squad. Remember Houston when they had Hakeem, Charles, and Scottie? They lost in the first round. Of course, your stars are the most important pieces, but really, the supporting cast can be just as important. I saw it with Chicago every time they won the championship. Jordan was the leader of that team, but there were more than a few games where
    someone else stepped up to win a game: Paxson game 6 against Phoenix; Kerr game 6 against Utah. And it was Pippen who stopped Charles Smith in the closing seconds of game 5 in New York, the year the Bulls went down 0-2 to the Knicks.

    With all the hype already about Boston, if the "Big 3" don't get enough help, it'll be just as disappointing as when Dallas lost to Golden State. At the end of the year, the big news will be how Boston blew it.

  • At 3:26 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I also think Trevor will end up being the 1st player off the bench in at the small forward position.

    But until I hear something differently, I'm still guessing they're going to start Hedo, Rashard, and Dwight together. That lineup was again mentioned by one of the Magic guys over at OrlandoMagic.com.

    However, one way I could see this changing, is if somehow Trevor finds himself playing at the 2 spot. But it's hard for me to imagine 3 small forwards playing at the same time, even if they all are versatile.

    So back to the question, I think Trevor will likely be the 1st player off the bench. I expect to see him playing a lot this year probably floating between the 2 and 3 spots depending on opposing match ups. Odds are, when he's on the floor, he'll be defending which ever player is the best scorer in the 2 or 3 spot.

  • At 12:59 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    First hedo: Matt all your points about hedo were as a starter which now he doesnt have to be,add in the flu bug he was fighting all last year and having to deal with bsh as his coach i give hedo a pass for last season. Second trevor: Intro as much as you like trevor,trev still has to prove some things to SVG,himself,and the fans that are watching. Number one being counted on,when the stakes get raised will he revert back to the non-shooting liability that was on the floor against the pistons in the play-offs? Remember there's alot less running in the play-offs than there is in the regular season,prince made trev a non factor just staying with him all over the floor,so trev's best attributes will be null-in-void,to become effective he will need to become something he's not right now and thats a shooter,dont tell me his shot looked good at the end of the season because (1) those were reg season games with no pressure (2) he got wide open shots becaues no one respected his shot. If we all wanna talk who will be the first guy off the bench,the question we are really asking is this,"What player for the magic has the best chance of competeing for the sixth man of the year award? My answer would easily be HEDO! (1)Hedo is proven around the league (2)Hedo can take and make game winning shots from anywhere on the floor(3)Hedo spreads the floor (4)Hedo is a vet and at 6ft10 can play multiple positions (5)Hedo has played back-up small forward and power forward for teams that have competed for championships. To me your sixth man isnt really slotted into a position,he should be able to play multiple positions so i wont call hedo our back-up small forward anymore,i'll just call him our sixth man.

  • At 1:29 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    If hedo becomes our starter at power-forward like intro thinks he may,then trev would be my sixth man choice(barring him being the starter at the two of course). Also if JJ is coming off the bench too along with trevor (which would leave keith or keyon the starter at the two,which i dont think either will win that position),then the nod goes to JJ for sixth man in my opinion. Lastly if all three are coming off the bench (JJ,trev,and hedo,which would mean battie and keith/keyon are starters)then it would be a toss-up for sixth man between hedo and JJ,trevor wouldnt get a ton of shots playing with both of them,but that threesome off the bench would be tough to beat playing against other teams back-ups,to me they'd give us the best bench in the league if those three were used off the bench.

  • At 2:49 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Some thoughts on Ariza:

    Before his injury last season, many people thought he was a star in the making. He was never quite the same after he returned. He showed signs of being explosive, but it wasn’t like it was before the injury. Hopefully he’ll be back to normal after the off-season.

    In the playoffs, a lot of Magic fans wanted to see Trevor on the floor a hell of a lot more. He only average 11 minutes per game. One of the biggest problems during the playoffs, that even Magic management noticed was how Brian Hill didn't play Ariza or Redick.

    Then, you got to remember, Trevor is 21. How much do you expect someone who is 21 to do in their first playoff appearance if they're barely cracking 10 minutes? In game 4 he only played 7 minutes, what good is that going to do any player?

    So I agree with you, Trevor still needs to prove himself to be consistent, but he also has to be given a consistent chance.

  • At 2:49 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    No matter who winds up in the starting lineup, the depth of the Magic will be a big asset this coming season; that's where they have an advantage over many of the other contenders in the East.

    I was in the Orlando area recently on vacation, and one afternoon I was listening to a talk show on AM 740. This one guy who was hosting the show, who calls himself The Shot Doctor, said that he thinks Trevor Ariza is a stiff who can't shoot, and compared him to long-ago Magic draft bust Johnny Taylor. Does that guy always not have a clue as to what he's talking about?

    I agree that Ariza will wind up being the first man off the bench, and with his athleticism and explosiveness, he should thrive in the up-tempo offense. It would be great if he can develop that 15-20 foot jumper also; patience is the key with Trevor as he is still very young.

  • At 3:01 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Ha-ha... Yeah, The Shot Doctor knows his stuff when he feels like it. But on the radio, he's kind of considered "comic-relief".

  • At 3:18 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Despite the depth on the Magic at the guard and small forward positions, we all know they need more depth at PF and Center; that will also be a key to a successful Magic season. If Marcin Gortat could come off the bench and average 7-8 pts and 5 rebs a game (much like Darko's numbers last season), that would be huge.

    Regarding The Shot Doctor, yeah, he did provide some comic relief for me that afternoon.

  • At 5:09 PM, Blogger Syntribo said…

    What about the Magic's point guard situation? Do you think Jameer is the answer, or are they lacking at that spot?

  • At 5:58 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Towards the end of last season, I thought, and stated openly, that Keyon was a better PG than Jameer, and still believe the burden of proof is on Jameer. Coach Van Gundy knows Keyon from Miami, and does not have the same prejudice that Hill and Smith had favoring Jameer. Therefore, it would be interesting to see what the coach's decision is.

  • At 6:48 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I wouldn't mind at all to see Dooling as the starting point. He would be a great fit next to Redick, because he looks to get other players involved more than Jameer, plus he's a great defender.

    Hell, there is even a part of me that thinks Carlos would be better in the starting rotation than Jameer. He's bigger, which makes him less of a liability on the defensive end than Jameer. Arroyo is a great passer. Plus, Arroyo's game really might start to shine in an up-tempo offense. You got to remember, he was picked by a lot of NBA analysts to have a breakout season last year after how well he played in the FIBA games; instead his game declined seriously under Brian Hill.

    Jameer has the perfect game to be "the microwave" coming off of the bench. However, I think the starting spot is his to lose. God knows Otis wants Jameer to step up and take the job.

    But, as with all the debates we've had, it's all been about what’s best for the TEAM, and who compliments one another the best. Unless Jameer learns how to pass, get other players involved, and limits the turnovers; it'll be hard for me to view him as a starter. He needs to realize, with Dwight, Rashard, Hedo, and even Redick; that he is the last option on the floor and I don't know if he'll ever understand that. But there aren’t too many point guards in the league now days that do…

    We probably won’t have to wait that long into the season to see how well Jameer does in the new system under Stan. And until he struggles again like he did last season, I’m willing to chalk up some of them because he was playing under a bad coach.

    With all of that said, the Magic have a solid point guard and Hedo that we could part with. We should be able to land a pretty good big man in a trade by pairing Hedo and one of our point guards together. However, the earliest I see Otis making any deals is by the trade deadline. I think he wants to see what Stan can do with this group of players. And I think it’s safe to say, all of them will only get better under Stan; so their values should increase, or at worst stay the same.

  • At 7:41 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    It'll be interesting to see if SVG will play Dooling at his natural position of PG, or else keep him at SG, where BHill played him out of position for most of last season. I really like Dooling at PG, but at the same time, I'd like to see Arroyo get a lot of action this year. As OVERWADED mentioned, Arroyo's style of play was really hurt by Hill's deliberate style of offense last season. I also believe that Keith Bogans can be a valuable reserve at SG.

    As for Jameer Nelson, let me recap his stats for 24 games from the period MAR 3rd through APR 17th of 2006:

    G 24
    PPG 16.2 (including 7 games of 20+ pts)
    FG% 50.7%
    3 PT FG% 41.2%
    AST 5.7
    TO 2.2
    AST/TO Ratio 2.6/1

    One has to admit those are very impressive stats! See what kind of numbers Jameer is capable of when the right kind of offense is run for him (It was really stupid of BHill to abandon the fast break offense that worked so well at the end of the 2006 season).

    Jameer's numbers were very inconsistent last season, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt because of the clueless coach we had. Like OVERWADED said, everyone on the Magic was inconsistent on offense last season. That's why with the new fast break style offense that will be run this season under SVG, it will benefit the talent and athleticism on the team, so everyone should be a lot more consistent offensively.

    I fully expect Jameer to be the starter at PG. True, he will struggle defensively against taller pt guards, but it won't be because of lack of effort. Keyon can always come in for defensive purposes at any time in a game.

  • At 11:29 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    As i remember correctly,when the heat came to play the magic under SVG,keyon was playing the point guard spot and neither steve or jameer had any success at guarding him in the open floor,damon jones was their starter,but anytime keyon came in they got better athletically and defensively. I even remember a game down in miami against the magic that keyon came in the game as a reserve at the point where he faked going around a screen to his right and went left on jameer right to the rim and dunked the ball HARD,thats was the season right before we signed keyon and the one highlight i remember when thinking of keyon at the point guard spot,SVG was his coach and i dont think he's forgotten how well keyon lead his team from that spot either. None of this means keyon will be the starter,but in my opinion it means keyon wont be used at the two unless a team goes to an all guard back-court at some point in a game,thats the way it should be done,not just throwing the same rotation out there no matter what the other team does like you know who.

  • At 12:54 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Until Jameer shows that he could repeat the kind of numbers he had towards the end of 05-06 season, I am for Keyon to start. Even if we assume that those numbers are within Jameer's reach, there are a couple of factors working against him:

    1 - We need a PG who can defend and distribute more than a shooter and scorer considering that we would have shooters at 2 and 3 and a scorer at 5.
    2 - Size matters. We saw how Billups and Kidd abused Jameer on the defensive end.

  • At 2:54 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    I agree with everyone in regards to Jameer.

    And it's true that there are a couple point guards in the league that will be able to post him up. I can think of 2 off the top of my head; Billups and Baron Davis.

    Kidd had 2 awful games last season again the Magic. Even the game where he played decent, he went 6-16 from the field. I'm not worried about him, or the Nets for that matter.

    Mike brings up a good point with the stats. And this is an "if" or "but"; but if Jameer can get his numbers back to how they were then, we'll be fine with him as a starter. Not because he was hitting the shots he's suppose to, but because his assists were up and his turnovers were down. That's the biggest thing with Jameer. He has to control his turnovers, and play smart. And that's what leaves us to question, he has shown he can do it in the past, but last year he looked bad, but as I said before, all of our guys looked out of sync from game to game last season.

    I know they'll always be the size issue. But in the previous years, Jameer was using his speed, and he was the match up problem. Last season, he speed was never used, and the roles were reversed.

    And like I said above, there are not to many PG's in the league that have the ability to play in the post, and even if they do, it's not going to be a type of play a team runs regularly. But for arguments sake, let’s say they do, well, then we can bring defense off the bench with Dooling.

    I don't expect Dooling to see much time at the 2 spot. If he does, I think it'll just be within the flow of the game, or match up purposes. Dooling has shown where he excels, and it's definitely not playing the 2.

    But as I said in the beginning, I agree with everyone. I could see our team working with Dooling, Arroyo, and Nelson. There can be a case made for each of them. And I might give the edge to Matt, because of how last season played out, and Nelson fits the mold to be a tempo changer off the bench.


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