- George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “There were about 50 foster kids in the auditorium Wednesday afternoon. David Vaughn’s story did not resonate with all of them, but hopefully a handful of faces in the crowd heard every word, and found strength in his journey sprinkled with desperation and determination. Vaughn told them about his highs as a first-round draft pick of the Orlando Magic in 1995, the $1.8 million contract, the cars and all the other extravagant toys; his lows of depression and violence, and how he ended up as a wayward husband, homeless and destitute. ”It’s a great experience to share my story,” Vaughn said. David Vaughn’s comeback likely won’t be documented in Sports Illustrated or ESPN, but it is worth telling because it reflects a tenacity not often seen on the competitive fields of play.”
- Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “Nobody is going to be better than the Miami Heat at the two, three and four spots. But picture them playing Orlando. Jameer Nelson has the ball (guarded by Mario Chalmers) and Dwight Howard (covered by Joel Anthony) comes out to set the high pick. That is a hard-to-stop P&R combo for any team, and the undersized Anthony is really going to struggle to stop the strength of Howard rolling to the rim. LeBron, Wade and Bosh are going to have a hard time helping out because you can’t leave Orlando’s perimeter shooters (especially when J.J. Redick is in for Vince Carter). Can Orlando beat Miami this way? Can some combination of the O’Neals (Shaquille and Jermaine) along with Kendrick Perkins (when he returns from injury) do the same thing for Boston? Is there a model for beating the Heat?”
- Chad Ford and John Hollinger of ESPN Insider update their NBA Future Power Rankings. The Magic fall from No. 3 last year to No. 7 this year: “We liked Orlando’s roster the best in March, but now the Magic don’t even have the best roster in Florida. Plus, we’re focused down the line, past this coming season, and that hurts the outlook for four of the five Magic starters. Nonetheless, this team looks stacked for the long term with Dwight Howard at center and a constellation of minor stars surrounding him. Additionally, keep an eye on young forward Ryan Anderson, who could become a better version of Troy Murphy. Orlando’s market looms as another big factor in its favor. With a new arena, a balmy climate and a dominant big man, it’s already near the top of Chris Paul’s short list of future destinations and could pop up on other players’ lists, too. The only major concern is the serious money the team is taking on. Orlando is a small market, but the team is well into the luxury tax and probably will remain that way for a while unless ownership demands a budget slashing. For now, it hasn’t, and with that, solid personnel moves under GM Otis Smith and the exacting coaching of Stan Van Gundy, the Magic get good marks for management.”
- Dwight Howard is one of the best bargains in the league.
- Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game drops some knowledge: “To those still clinging to what they know, I’d ask this: what’s a power forward? What characteristics link Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Rashard Lewis, Lamar Odom, Reggie Evans, Tyrus Thomas, and J.J. Hickson? Not rebounding. Not scoring. Not skill set. Not height relative to their teammates. Not even the spaces they occupy on the floor. I’m at a total loss as to the criterion that would group that bunch together, which makes the assessment “Player X isn’t a real power forward” pretty much worthless. I think I know what it means, but without the ability to define the contemporary power forward, how could I really know for sure?”
- Here is the inspiration for Mahoney’s post, by the way. The topic is about traditional positions.
It's future power rankings, not present. That's why. And even then, the rankings are fluid and change every year. It's not that big a deal.
Agreed. Cannon's article was a fascinating read.
This is what Ford and Hollinger said about the Rockets:
Houston has a lot of assets thanks to a trade-deadline fleecing of the Knicks that could give the team high draft picks in 2011 and 2012. But the Rockets rank in the top five in our rankings because the cast already on hand looks strong.
Yao Ming's health is obviously a concern, but Aaron Brooks, Kevin Martin, Kyle Lowry, Trevor Ariza, Shane Battier, Chase Budinger, Luis Scola, Jordan Hill and Patrick Patterson give Houston a nice foundation. If Yao comes back reasonably healthy (the odds of which we disagreed about), the Rockets could be very good indeed.
Additionally, the Rockets rate fairly well in the money category despite being well into the luxury tax. Most of the contracts on the books are short, and ownership has shown a willingness to spend money, both with contracts and when paying for draft picks. Houston has shown strong management, as well, mixing GM Daryl Morey's analytics focus with solid scouting, as evidenced by a string of successful drafts.