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, May 01, 2008

Van Gundy admits Grant Hill's exit was good for the Magic and other topics

Van Gundy admits Grant Hill's exit was good for the Magic -- OrlandoSentinel.com

He gives Hill's abandonment of the Magic for a chance to win a championship credit for giving Hedo the chance to step up. (I wonder how that worked out for Hill? Anyone know?)

While we wait to see if the Magic play Detroit (2-2 season record) or Philadelphia (3-1 Magic) it's a good time for me reflect on the season to date.

In no particular order:

Magic point guards seem to be universally considered the team weak spot. But Turk makes up the difference quite a bit. He led the team in assists 28 times this year during the regular season and twice in five games vs. Toronto.

After the series I am now a Chris Bosh fan. He played himself to exhaustion against the Magic, then after the series was over didn't make excuses and congratulated the Magic for being better and deserving to win.

No one has had 3 20-20 games in a series since 1972 and the national press still doesn't care about the Magic, and hardly cares about Superman. PTI didn't even mention the Magic making the second round or the feat the next day.

Rashard Lewis has really stepped up his defense in the post season. He had two 10 rebound games all year and suddenly pulls 13 boards in back to back games while Howard is pulled away guarding Bosh. Nice job stepping up.

How did SVG finish 8th in coach of the year voting? At the beginning of the year all the "experts" were predicting Magic having a poor year due to the loss of Hill, Battie & Darko. All Van Gundy did was get Howard focused on defense, Turk the MIP award, create a competent and confident offense and win 52 games for the first winning record in five years and first 50 win season in 12 years. Nice job.

Even better job by Dwight Howard who responded positively to being benched by SVG for worrying too much about offense and not paying attention to defense.

It will be hard to move ahead in the playoffs with basically a seven man rotation consisting of three front court and four backcourt players playing 96% of the minutes. Four other guys have played spot minutes.

Hedo and Shard had 49 assists between them in the Toronto series. Nelson, Bogans, Evans, Arroyo and Dooling had 41 assists. Jameer had an assist to turnover ratio of 1.85, Lewis was 3.67.

The Magic shot .386 from 3 point range during the regular season, but a poor .324 during the Toronto series while winning 4-1. 3 pointers and defense is a pretty good combination.

The difference a coach makes. Magic shot 1,112 more 3 point attempts and made 459 more of 'em than last year. Their adjusted field goal % jumped from .500 under Hill to .537 under SVG. All that offense didn't hurt the defense much, adjusted field goal defense dropped from .480 under Hill to .484 under Van Gundy.

The GM files.

Great move to risk firing ownership favorite B. Hill after he made the playoffs.

The team recovered from Donovan embarrassment to hire SVG who will be the best Magic coach in history.

Otis overpaid for Lewis, but Lewis sure has stepped up big in the playoffs so far.

Grant Hill had appendectomy surgery to add to an amazing list of injuries over the past 8 years and missed 12 games during the season, then missed two games with a tender groin in the playoffs in Phoenix's very dissappointing season. At 35, injury prone, and never been to the second round of the playoffs (Hello T-Mac) it is just as well he went away.

Darko was going to have his break out year, instead played 70 games was 6th on Memphis in minutes played while averaging 7.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg and 1.6 bpg. He's 22 now and at $6.5 million per season is kind of overpaid. Since the Magic don't have a playoff worthy big man coming off the bench so far this year, it still would have been nice to have him around. But I suspect he would have spent the year pouting and hating SVG.

The Ariza trade worked out (this year) very well for the Magic. There were hints that the Magic were very worried about Ariza's feet. That tall 21 year olds who have already developed foot problems are a huge long term risk. Turns out Ariza only played 24 games for the Lakers and looks like he is out for the playoffs. Last summer I thought this guy was going to be one of cornerstones of the Magic's future, now his career may be in doubt. The Magic may have given up the better talent, but got back Mo Evans who started 47 games and was fourth on the team in 3 pointers made. Cook played in 45 games and is merely a servicable tall guy.

Lack of deadline trades / Garrity still on the team. I'm deeply dissappointed that for the second year in a row there was no deadline trade. The Magic had a stack of expiring contracts that could have been traded for backup frontcourt help and /or point guard improvement but it didn't happen. Without the extra help, they will have trouble continuing to advance in the playoffs. For twelve years now the Magic have always failed to get adequate help for their stars and this year was no exception.

Next Round of Playoffs

You have to believe that any 52 win team with Dwight Howard has a decent chance to lead his team to the finals. Detroit has a way of giving away series to young teams they don't respect enough. Boston could win it all, but also looks... fragile and is full of players and coaches that have never made it to the finals.


  • At 3:13 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Since we haven't heard much from you the last few months, WeRDevos, that was an interesting post to read over, with a very thorough summary of your thoughts regarding the Magic's season.

    Grant Hill thought he was leaving for greener pastures because he thought the Suns had a much better chance to go deeper in the playoffs than the Magic; now, the Suns are sitting at home after losing out in 5 games to the Spurs and the Magic are waiting for the second round after an impressive 5 game series win over Toronto. As much as I respect GHill, it was the best for everyone involved that he depart the Magic.

    True, the Magic only had a 7 man rotation for the Toronto series, but they will be ready and refreshed for the second round after several days off.

    I wonder what the status of Brian Cook is for the second round. He was able to provide spark and energy coming off the bench in several games this past season, and his presence would help the Magic depth off the bench.

    Looks like it's going to be the Pistons in the second round for the Magic. I can't imagine the Sixers winning two in a row over the Pistons now.

  • At 3:22 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Yeah we all said it before grant signed with the suns that we didnt need grant's services any longer,hedo was ready to take on a bigger role and evidence of that is how he played last year when grant was hurt/out of the line-up. Grant finished the season for the suns in his familiar role of injured and on the bench. I cant complain about any of the moves otis has made,any player we dont have was offered a fair amount of money from deshawn,to grant,darko any anybody im leaving out. The moves to bring in SVG,rashard,adonyl,mo and brian have worked perfectly. And when it comes to the pistons (who i beleive will be our opponent)i think we have a chance if we attack rasheed. He's the X factor because he can pull dwight so far out with his three point ability,and at seven foot he can post rashard if you switch the match-up. Gonna be tough to beat the pistons,we dont match-up well at all,SVG is gonna have to coach a flawless series.

  • At 5:25 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I went back to the archives from last October 25th to a post by WeRDevos, where he put up a link that showed how ten ESPN sports personalities predicted the Magic would finish this season.

    Five of the ESPN experts picked the Magic to finish first in the SE, but no higher than the fourth seed in the East. Four other experts predicted the Magic to finish second in the SE, and seeded either 7th or 8th.

    Then there's the immortal Chris Sheridan, who picked the Magic to finish 4TH in the SE and 12TH (!) in the East. Is this guy still employed?

    The fact is the Magic have exceeded expectations for this season as they head into the second round to take on the Pistons; yes, Stan Van Gundy should have finished higher than eighth in Coach of the Year balloting.

  • At 9:29 AM, Blogger S said…

    great posts guys. this is a fantastic blog.

  • At 6:13 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Nice post WeRDevos. I enjoyed it a lot. I pretty much agree with everything, except one thing.

    Due to the excessive flopping, I could never be a fan of Chris Bosh. I'm sorry, I'll never cheer for a guy who chooses to play that way. It sucks, because he's a very talented guy, but the flopping is bad for the game.

    Some more thoughts:

    Oh how I loved watching the Suns get their asses beat by the Spurs. Poor Grant Hill... Ha-ha. But like I always said, I knew we'd be better off without him.

    Darko what? Darko who? Huh? Okay, I admit I wouldn't mind him on our bench. But I can't help but smile after the way things have turned out. I seem to recall someone commenting on here last off season saying how much we'd regret losing Darko, and how he'd be dropping big numbers in Memphis. Hmmm, guess not...

    Stan Van Gundy might be the best thing that has happened to this organization ever. Now I know drafting Dwight Howard is at the top, but without a coach like Stan, we really risk losing a player like Dwight. Stan is easily one of the best coaches in the league. The fact that he finished 8th in the voting is laughable.

  • At 2:10 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    WeRDevos, where have you been hiding? You were long due for a post and you contributed with a great one. Folks, forgive me for becoming a bit philosophical but one should always remember that with a few exceptions nothing is absolute and everything is relative. It is not nice to try to settle old scores in a "I said so" manner. Would I be justified to mention that I had said all along that B.Hill had to go and some of you were persistent that it could not and would not happen? The constant element throughout this season has been the effect of a caring and smart coach in Stan Van Gundy. We have to put all variables in that framework to be honest to the truth.

    1 - Grant Hill: He has been a 15-20point guy night in and night out. Who knows how he would have fared under SVG? However, due to stellar season for Hedo (again under SVG) I am willing to admit that his departure was good for the team.

    2 - Darko: Darko did so well when was paired up with Dwight, and that still under B.Hill with all the controversies attached to their relationship. His contracting issue was handled foolishly from both ends, his and Magic's, and who knows how that left a bitter taste in the mouth of a kid who still needs to mature? Darko felt that he had found a home in Orlando, and who is to say that he would not have flourished under a nurturing and smart coach in Orlando? One has to remember that for the Magic to elevate to a championship contender, they need a true above average PF as a starter. It is hard to dis Hedo and Rashard duo since they did so well this season but yet we could not lose the sight of the reality.

    3 - Mo Evans and Brian Cook: That trade did not make sense on the paper. Cook is not a true PF with the ability to defend, and way overpaid under his 3.5 mil salary. Mo Evans has been a journeyman whose stock was not as high as an up and coming player in Ariza. Having that said, both Mo and Brian flourished under SVG, and as such, all of sudden that trade looks fine.

    I will get back to these pressing issues after the season is over. I still am not that petty to wish any ills for the team to prove a point on my side, and as such I say, GO MAGIC!!!!!!!!!!

  • At 3:12 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Matt, you were always on target regarding Brian Hill. Even after the 16-6 Magic finish in 2006, where Hill let the Magic play freely, you said that Hill would return to his strict half-court offensive philosophy the following season, and that he wasn't the right coach for the Magic.

    After the Magic started 14-5 in the 06-07 season, they struggled mightily the rest of the way, barely making the playoffs and then got swept by the Pistons in the first round, confirming what you and the rest of us thought about Hill... he wasn't the right coach for the team, and that for the good of the team, he must go. Thank goodness the decision was made shortly after the playoff elimination to fire Hill.

  • At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can’t believe how much bitterness you have against GRAND HILL. Grand Hill signs a big contract to play with the MAJIC and he played until his contract expires, he could got pay and then run.But he fulfills his obligation. It was not his fault to get injured. Hill is a man with a lot class, character and discipline. We need to talk about what he had done for the community in Orlando and what he represents. In addition of that he maybe a border line HOF. Let‘s move on.

  • At 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can’t believe how much bitterness you have against GRAND HILL. Grand Hill signs a big contract to play with the MAJIC and he played until his contract expires, he could got pay and then run.But he fulfills his obligation. It was not his fault to get injured. Hill is a man with a lot class, character and discipline. We need to talk about what he had done for the community in Orlando and what he represents. In addition of that he maybe a border line HOF. Let‘s move on.

  • At 2:36 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    "Anonymous", I believe most of us here have a great deal of respect for Grant Hill because of what he went through with all the injuries while in Orlando.

    In going to Phoenix, he simply did what he thought was best for him, and the Magic franchise did what was best for them in not wanting to retain Hill.


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