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.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

GM Otis Smith: The architect behind the Eastern Conference Champion Magic

On May 3rd, 2006, when Otis Smith was promoted from Assistant General Manager to General Manager, here is what Magic President Bob Vander Weide said:

"In a short amount of time, Otis has done a tremendous job in regards to player acquisitions, while at the same time, setting us up for the future. He brings a wide range of experience, great energy, dedication, leadership and vision to our basketball operations."

Let's take a look at some of Smith's key moves (in no particular order) in the three years that he has been GM that have brought the Magic the Eastern Conference Championship.

1) Drafting of J.J. Redick with the 11th pick of the first round in 2006. Redick proved to be valuable off the bench with his three point shooting this season and his surprisingly good defense on Boston's Ray Allen in the ECF Semifinals was one of the factors in the Magic advancing.

2) Firing Coach Brian Hill in May 2007. Even though the Magic made the playoffs for the first time in four years and Hill made the Magic a good defensive team, Smith realized that Hill, because of his stubborn, inflexible ways and lack of imagination on offense, needed to be replaced if the Magic were to continue to improve.

3) Hiring Stan Van Gundy as coach in June 2007. Van Gundy wasn't Smith's first choice, obviously, but Smith did excellent in hiring SVG after Billy Donovan bailed out after 24 hours.

4) Signing Rashard Lewis as a free agent in the summer of 2007. Smith was criticized for overpaying for Lewis, and for not signing a true power forward, but the combo of Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu at forward has given opposing teams matchup nightmares.

5) Electing not to re-sign restricted free agent Darko Milicic after the 2007 season. Smith was criticized also for this move, because the combo of Dwight Howard and Milicic on the floor together showed potential for the future. However, in his two years with Memphis, Darko has continued to struggle with consistency and injuries, while Lewis has more than filled the bill as the Magic's starting power forward.

6) Signing Jameer Nelson to a contract extension before the 2007 season. Again, Otis was criticized by giving Nelson such a big contract, because Nelson never really proved he deserved such an extension. Smith was steadfast in his support of Nelson, and Nelson justified his contract extension by having a breakout season, making the All-Star team before his season-ending torn labrum in February.

7) Signing Marcin Gortat before the 2007 season. Gortat has come into his own this season as a solid backup to Howard.

8) The drafting of Courtney Lee with the 22nd pick of the first round in 2008. Most people thought Lee would be very little, if any factor, for the Magic this season, especially considering the Magic's poor drafting record in previous years with a middle-to-late first round pick, even though Lee had a solid four year career in college with Western Kentucky. Lee has done so well with the Magic with his solid defense, good shooting, and aggressiveness on offense that he was promoted to starter during the 2008-09 season when Mickael Pietrus was injured or struggled.

9) Signing free agent Mickael Pietrus in the 2008 off-season. Pietrus looked to be a bust with his injuries and struggles on offense for most of the regular season; however, Pietrus has excelled in the playoffs as the sixth man with his aggressiveness on defense and solid three point shooting. Pietrus, by himself, outscored the entire Cavaliers bench in the ECF.

10) Signing free agent point guard Anthony Johnson in the 2008 off-season. Johnson, nicknamed "Dad", has been steady coming off the bench this season.

11) Trading for Houston point guard Rafer Alston in February 2009. After Nelson's season-ending injury in February, Smith first traded for Milwaukee point guard Tyronn Lue, but Smith quickly realized the Magic needed somebody better if the Magic were to contend for a championship. Alston was that man, and with the exception of a few games, has been solid as the starting point guard and has done well running the offense in Nelson's absence.

Otis Smith, while making some mistakes along the way in three years, has more than made up for those mistakes with his brilliant acquisitions and decisions over those three years, and has certainly lived up to everything Bob Vander Weide said about him when Otis was promoted to GM on May, 2006.


  • At 3:21 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    2006-07 season: 40-42, 8th seed; Magic make the playoffs for the first time in four years; swept in first round by Pistons

    2007-08 season: 52-30, 3rd seed; Magic win first playoff series in 12 years beating Toronto in five games before being eliminated by the Pistons in five games in the second round

    2008-09 season: 59-23, 3rd seed; Magic advance to NBA Finals for the second time in franchise history.

    Pretty good improvement from season-to-season, I'd say.

    I thought it was pretty cool of SVG to mention Otis in the post-game press conference after Game 6, saying what a great job Otis did in putting the team together.

    From the GM to the coach to the players... all of them did their part to bring the Magic to where they are now.

  • At 3:46 AM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    Otis Smith has obviously done a hell of a job.

    Taking nothing away from Denver's season, but Otis Smith was more deserving of the NBA Executive of the Year award.

    I'm sure Otis doesn't mind though. He's not that type of guy that wants to be acknowledged. He wants one thing, and one thing only.

  • At 9:37 AM, Anonymous D's F said…

    Gortat is a solid backup??? funniest thing i have heard since someone told me Will Purdue would be an NBA all star in time. This guy reminds me of Shawn Bradley-terrible.

  • At 10:09 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    GREAT JOB OTIS!!! Marcin did his job nicely backing up D12,we'll be glad to have him back.!!!

  • At 10:11 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Boy the haters are out!

  • At 11:19 AM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    Right Now I'd take Gortat over any of Cleveland's bigs. The tall bald white ghost is too old and moves as well as a cigar store indian. Our former Magic man Ben Wallace is aging double-time and wants to retire, and I'm not sure Varejo could bench a hundred pounds five times.

    Gortat is in for a hell of a summer. NBA finals followed by being one of the most sought after restricted free agents. ESPN says he should be hotly pursued by Cleveland if they really want to improve this summer.

  • At 11:22 AM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    Anyway, why is this Cleveland guy still around. Their season is O-V-E-R. He should be heading over to the Knicks blog explaining why LeBron is too humble to play in NYC.


  • At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Danny's Ferry said…

    Lets look at some numbers

    Z: 12.9 pts 7.5 reb 1.3 blocks

    Gortat: 3.8pts 4.5 reb 0.8 blocks

    Gortats best point production on the YEAR is 16 just a few above what Z does every night throughout the whole season. Do you guys seriously believe what you are saying? If you do then fine Ill be done as you know nothing about basketball, look at the stats.

  • At 11:44 AM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    Back to the post. Good analysis. Just a few counterpoints.

    1. I have doubts Redick will be in Orlando next year. Likely cap casualty in order to resign Gortat and Hedo. And I'm not sure he has contributed enough over the life of his contract. But good on him for sticking with it and helping this year.

    2. Firing Hill was so right. I would never want to go back and suffer re-reading this blog about how bad Hill was.

    3. SVG sure worked out. And college coaches never seem to.

    4. I love Lewis. His defense has improved so much this year. (thanks Coach!) I still wish the Magic had the extra $5 million a year for another player, but am happier still that Lewis is our #2 guy.

    5. Darko has proved to suck. It now seems permanent, and he will cost someone $8 million next year.

    6. Nelson will always be too short, but has proved worth his contract.

    8-11 Wasn't sure I liked any of these players when they arrived but thought they were better than last year's guards by far. But they sure have come through in the postseason.

    My gripes over the past few years are 1. Battie signing, 2. SVG not liking Ariza, 3. Tyronn Lue nearly killing the season.

    And the biggest one - Vazquez over Granger.

  • At 11:56 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    LOL...How can anyone compare a starter with a bench player? What a moron. LOL. Gortat comes off the bench,soooooo nobody expects his numbers to compare to Z's. The fact that you tried to make that elementary comparison truely shows your lack of logical statistical comparison's. Hate all you want,if trying to make a gortat vs Z arguement makes you feel good then i guess cleveland fans are in worse shape than i thought. LOL.

  • At 1:04 PM, Anonymous D's F said…

    LOL...the fact that you couldnt make them apples to apples is funny to me, since i suppose you arent inclined mathematically, let me break it down for on equal terms, per 48 minutes (duration of a basketball game)
    Z: 22.8 pts per game
    Gorsuck: 14.4 per game.

    Figured you could have done those calculations yourself, but guess i overstated your intelligence.
    Whoever wrote point #7 in your post is the one who tried to compare the two players, not Cleveland dipsh*t.

  • At 1:07 PM, Anonymous D's F said…

    correction...poster Werdevos is the one trying to compare Z to Gortat, not Cleveland

  • At 1:17 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    GORTAT IS A BACKUP!!! What will it take to get that into your thick skull. We could care less if his numbers match Z's. Your obviously a moron who doesnt get the point,his opinion was that gortat is a better player because he's younger,more athletic and has much more of a ceiling than Z's old and over the hill ass ever had. What the hell do you think quote "The tall bald white ghost is too old and moves as well as a cigar store indian" means??? Helloo can we read??? .If you dont agree with that than i know for sure you have no basketball knowledge what so ever. Z couldnt guard a glass of water. LOL... Gortat helped us blow out philly in a close out game in the play-offs,started and had a great game,nuff said.

  • At 1:24 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Cleveland will go down as the biggest fluke regular season team in history,Z scored his points versus garbage comp during the reg season. And at the same time is probably the worst defensive center in the league. What was his record against the last three teams in the play-offs smart guy? And how many of those points did Z average against the magic? Oh and even better how many points for Z in game 6? LOL. Yea lets talk real stats.

  • At 1:29 PM, Anonymous D's F said…

    vs top tier teams (LAL, Orlando, and bos) Z avg (per 48) 19.5
    Gortat ( Cle, LAL, Bos) 11.2

    Which is better?

    How many points did Gortat have in game 5, when Z was owning him? I hear you talking but dont see one stat to back your argument up. How many all star games will gortat appeal in his upcoming career? ha...ZERO.

  • At 1:31 PM, Anonymous D's F said…

    If your prized BACKUP is so good, why does he not start in Cleveland? because Z is better, look at the stats, they dont lie. per 48, was talking to Ferry and he has no interest in getting Gortat citing lack of basketball skills...something Z has.

  • At 1:38 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Your arguement is comparing a starter for a back-up in one stat,points... So i'll humor you and say Z's point totals are better than gortat's. BIG WHUPTY DO!!! I'd still take gortat because he's a better defender and has more of a ceiling,thats something that cant be calculated into stats NERD! At the same time i dont need stats to see what the whole world just saw,and that is Z making his only contribution to the team a jumper from 18 feet out that he barely hit during the series against the magic. Worthless!!! He also tried some three's and stunk those up too!!! Gave them absolutely nothin on the defensive end and your defending this guy???. I think he had 2 big points in game 6 right? Humor me and answer that.

  • At 1:45 PM, Anonymous D's F said…

    He scored 13 points on 7-8 from the field in game 6, throughout the whole series he was getting Howard into foul trouble, causing him to foul out in 3 of the games...not sure where you are getting 2 points from. In my opinion he looked more in sync on offense than Howard and Gortat combined in this series.

  • At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Danny's Ferry said…

    Did it seriously take you this long to "humor me" and admit that Z is a better scorer (points per 48) than gortat? Wow, a little slow?

  • At 1:48 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Z caused dwight to foul out??? Are you serious??? You cant be serious!!!LOL. Im done. Have fun hating while we play LA! LOL.

  • At 1:58 PM, Anonymous D's F said…

    Z got Howard to the bench throughout this whole series, lebron as well got him into foul trouble (Did you watch any of the games?). Cant wait until thursday, Lakers in 5.

  • At 2:27 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    From ESPN: Rebound rate (Insider) is by far my favorite rebounding statistic. Forget about how many rebounds a guy got in a game. What I want to know is how many of the rebounds he got that were available to him while he was on the court. And at this, Dwight Howard (25.1) has led the whole NBA in the playoffs, which is no surprise. But who's next of the players in the Finals? Pau Gasol (16.1)? Andrew Bynum (12.2)? Ahh, welcome, my friends, to the forgotten man of the 2009 NBA Finals, the Polish Hammer, Marcin Gortat! He has grabbed 18.2% of the rebounds while he has been on the floor in the playoffs.

  • At 2:39 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    The Cleveland guy has already lost the argument by calling Gortat "Gorsuck." Hard to believe he is old enough to have children, but then again he's not smart enough to move out of Cleveland.

    I guess all that matters to him is offense. Too bad you win playoff series with defense, hopefully starting with your Center.

    I'm happy for Cleveland that "Z" can hit 18 foot set shots. The set shot is a lost art from the 50's. May he continue to do so for many years. God forbid that team gets a young and strong guy like Gortat, who in his second year is a very efficient rebounder and has started to execute the high pick and roll very well.

  • At 2:50 PM, Anonymous D's F said…

    Theres a reason why Howard and Gortart are 1 and 2 in the league, because every other team plays the actual game of basketball and doesnt put 4 guys on the perimeter and shoot jumpshots all game. most teams have two bigs who can rebound, not just 1. You dont have to tell Cleveland about defense, we have led the league all year on the defensive side of the ball. That identity isnt lost in one bad playoff game. the clock is ticking of Stan Van G to crap his pants and lose a series.

  • At 2:56 PM, Anonymous D's F said…

    The Cavs/Magic series also exposed your fake superman, he is no defensive player of the year when he fouled in 3 out of 6 games, just shows how much he lucked on calls throughout the reg season. Ill take Shaq any day of the week over That faker Dwight Coward.

  • At 3:31 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    What are two things you will never see in Cleveland?

    A victory parade and the sky.

  • At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Danny's Ferry said…

    Just enjoy your 5 games in the finals knowing that you caught the Cavs (the best team in basketball this year-66 wins) when they were hurting. If Mo's shoulder was healthy he could have helped more. Lebron and Z were already dominating the Magics frontline, just needed another scorer in our backcourt to solidfy a few games.

    good luck in the finals, keep the Larry O'brien in the east.

  • At 5:14 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Just to set the record straight on a couple of things:

    It was Game 5. not Game 6, that Ilgauskas scored 16 points on 6 of 8 shooting.

    In Game 6, he scored 2 points on 1 of 5 shooting.

    For the series, he averaged 10.2 ppg and 9.3 rpg.

    If you take a look at their rebounding statistics per 36 minutes for this past season, Ilgauskas averaged 10.0 rebounds per 36 minutes while Gortat averaged 13.0 rebounds per 36 minutes.

    Gortat averaged 2.4 blocked shots per 36 minutes, while Ilgauskas averaged 1.7 blocks per 36 minutes.

    Ilgauskas does have the better per 36 minutes stats on offense, but Gortat's defensive stats per 36 minutes show that he is indeed very solid on the defensive end.

    As far as saying that LeBron James got "screwed over" by the refs throughout the series, James attempted 94 free throws in 6 games, an average of 15.7 free throws attempted per game, so any Cleveland fan who says that James got "screwed over" is not going to get any sympathy at all.

    I congratulate the Cavaliers on a great season, with their NBA-best and franchise-best 66 wins. However, they ran into a team in the Magic that had superior depth, athleticism, and who routinely exposed the problems the Cavaliers had with the various player matchups.

  • At 5:26 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    LOL...LOL. Thanks mike for clearing that up! LOL. What else will the hater come up with?? Next Z will be better than dwight...LOL.

  • At 5:32 PM, Blogger Ken said…

    Blah Blah Blah... Just more crying and excuses from a bitter and sorry Cav's fan... I guess when your so-called MVP turns out to be a drama queen who's only skill is throwing some powder in the air during his silly little pre-game ritual, i'd be bitter too..

    I'm sure your proud of that 66 win season. Beating up on the likes of the Bobcats, Bucks, Grizzlies and Timberwolves is something to be proud of. To bad you choke when you play real teams. Good luck in the rebuilding years when your Drama Queen bolts for NY. Good thing you'll still have "Z" to pick up the slack.. HHAHAHAHAHA!!..

  • At 6:15 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    I'm not sure they give parades for best regular season record and not making the finals. Do they?

    Even if they did, Mo has a hurt shoulder...

  • At 6:33 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Dwight Howard's statistics from the Cavaliers/Magic series:

    25.8 ppg on 65.1% FG shooting and 70.1% FT shooting; 13.0 rebounds per game

    That's what anyone would call an awesome stat line!

    Even though D12 had the foul problems throughout the series, when he was on the floor he proved to be a force that the Cavaliers had no answer for.

    Of the three games he fouled out in, the Magic still won two of those games.

    The 70% from the free throw line is especially impressive, considering Dwight's struggles from the line during the regular season.

  • At 9:17 AM, Anonymous D's F said…

    Ill take Z anyday over Dwight, would rather have a player who can stay on the floor rather than foul out every other game in a playoff series. If you cant see that Z is a superior player than take off you blinders.

    We dont have parades for teams who dont get first, we dont handle ourselves like Orlando- have fun at your parade for runner-up.

  • At 9:20 AM, Anonymous D's F said…

    In my estimation Lebron should have been at the line about 140 times,,,which is why he got screwed.
    The only reason Dwight is an allstar is because of the fan vote, the same reason why Iverson gets picked every year-the fans dont know who the real players in this league are.

  • At 3:29 PM, Blogger Ken said…

    HAHAHAHAHA! You can have your beloved "Z" TROLL...

  • At 3:38 PM, Anonymous D's F said…

    that makes no sense, we DO have Z. It is nothing i am dreaming of, this is reality, Big Z is on the Cavs, hopefully he rests all summer so he can dominate Dwight Howard again next year, such as this year.

  • At 5:00 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Any Magic hater or any Dwight hater can say anything they want; the bottom line is...

    The Orlando Magic are in the NBA Finals; the Cleveland Cavaliers are not.

  • At 6:23 PM, Blogger OVERWADED said…

    It's guys like “Special D” here that keep me away from blogging. I just can't handle this level of ignorance. Such a waste of time.

    Suggestion, maybe you should check out 82games.com to see what kind of numbers Gortat averages per 48.

    You were pretty close on the points (15.5), but that's not what Gortat is on the floor for. Here are two other categories you failed to mention; the ones that matter the most.

    Player 48-Minute Production

    RPG 18.7
    BPG 3.5

    “Throughout the whole series he was getting Howard into foul trouble, causing him to foul out in 3 of the games...”

    That wasn't Z, it was Lebron.

    “In my opinion he looked more in sync on offense than Howard and Gortat combined in this series.”

    10.2 PPG; awesome.

    “Ill take Z anyday over Dwight, would rather have a player who can stay on the floor rather than foul out every other game in a playoff series. If you cant see that Z is a superior player than take off you blinders.”

    Hating is one thing, but come on now.

    “In my estimation Lebron should have been at the line about 140 times,,,which is why he got screwed. “

    So you thought Lebron should have averaged 23.3 FTA. Sounds like awesome basketball to watch. The question then is, how many should Dwight have been shooting considering it was Cleveland's strategy to put him on the line?

    “The only reason Dwight is an allstar is because of the fan vote.”

    The first time he made the all-star team wasn't because of “fan vote”; and he's only improved since then.

    “Big Z is on the Cavs, hopefully he rests all summer so he can dominate Dwight Howard again next year, such as this year.”

    I think you mean, so hopefully he can still jog, because that dude can barely move, let alone dominate.

    After reading comments like this, I really have to question why I'm even responding. You're either being a jackass because you enjoy it, or you're literally retarded. It's fine if you want to hate, but at least maintain some reason and common sense.

    I guess I'd be bitter too if "my chosen team" was beaten by an underdog who nobody gave a chance while missing their all-star point guard.

    Or maybe it's because you're going to have to pay your aging Frankenstein of a center another 11.5 million next season, who isn't going to help you win a championship. The only thing he's going to help do it fill up cap space and push Lebron elsewhere.

    Enjoy watching the Magic in the Finals "Special D".

  • At 11:53 AM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    LOL... Intro we love you man. Dont let the haters get you down,keep making them look stupid with truth.

  • At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Danny's Ferry said…

    I will not be paying Z anything, you want to know what is ignorance? is thinking that I pay Z's salary, so i have to question you to see if you are retard.

    Z did get Dwight Howard into foul trouble, noted by the 3 games he fouled out. No wonder he was the defensive player of the year, no one called fouls on him all year like they did int he playoffs. If he did that in the reg season he would have fouled out of 41 games. some defensive player of the year he is.


    lakers in 5


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