- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Stan Van Gundy won’t waste any time trying to set the tone for the Orlando Magic’s upcoming season. He’ll start today. Van Gundy will stress accountability to his players when they gather this afternoon for a team meeting at Amway Center prior to the club’s media day. When asked recently by the Orlando Sentinel if he wants to see more vocal leaders emerge in the weeks and months ahead, Van Gundy indicated he expects co-captains Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard to continue to play a significant role. But the coach also made it clear that he wants the other guys on the roster to do their part, too.”
- More from Robbins: “Players worked out extensively during the offseason, and Van Gundy said he’s particularly pleased with how [Vince] Carter and [Rashard] Lewis focused on their conditioning and strengthening their legs. But Van Gundy knows there’s a difference between merely being in shape and being in basketball shape. Magic players can expect to play lots of 5-on-5 once training camp starts.”
- Daniel Orton‘s goal right now is to strengthen his knee.
- Get to know more about the Amway Center.
- John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com breaks down the roster for the Orlando Magic: “The Orlando Magic’s strength is in numbers – and, well, also Dwight Howard’s massive shoulders. As became quite apparent last season when the Magic won 59 games, the strength of this Orlando roster is in its depth and overwhelming wealth of talent. With its Noah’s Arc roster (as in two of everything), Orlando is arguably the NBA’s deepest team with a powerful bench and a starting lineup filled with four all-star performers. So with four days to go until training camp opens on Tuesday at the new practice court inside the dazzling Amway Center, we take a closer look at the position-by-position composition of the Magic’s roster. Clearly, the Magic are loaded at each spot on the floor. Now, if Howard can take another giant leap in the development of his game and point guard Jameer Nelson can play like he did last spring in the playoffs, the Magic could put themselves in position to win the franchise’s first championship.”
- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post pours over data and revisits the ‘Twin Towers” look of Marcin Gortat and Dwight Howard in the frontcourt: “In the Magic’s run to the Finals in 2009, the stints Howard and Gortat played together were slugfests, with horrid offense for both teams. That’s what one would expect when playing two bigs with their skill-sets together. But that postseason is the outlier. The Magic tend to play good offense and mediocre-to-awful defense with those two otherwise. How was the Magic’s offense able to stay potent despite having two non-shooters on the court? More importantly, how can a team playing two top-notch low-post defenders simultaneously turn out to be so ineffective defensively?”
- More from Rock: “When I wrote about the potential for Lewis moving to small forward in early June, I only considered what it’d mean for the team’s defense; I failed to account for what it’d mean for the playing rotation. Which is rather a lot, as it turns out, because it shifts four other players around. Either Mickael Pietrus or Quentin Richardson, the two contenders to start at small forward if Lewis sticks at power forward, would face a huge minutes crunch. Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass would see upticks in playing time, as one would nab Lewis’ former power forward slot and the other would become the backup, even if Lewis plays there a bit too. The picture becomes even more muddled when one considers, as Robbins suggests, Vince Carter could shift to small forward at times in order to share the floor with J.J. Redick at shooting guard. [...] Also, Denton says to “expect” backup center Marcin Gortat to also get a few chances to play power forward, as he “has also worked hard on his mid-range jump shot this summer.” So, in Carter, Lewis, Pietrus, and Richardson, the Magic have four players who could log heavy minutes at small forward on any given night. The same is true at power forward, where Anderson, Bass, Gortat, and Lewis can capably play.”
- John Hollinger of ESPN Insider projects the Magic will finish the regular season with a record of 55-27 but most importantly, the “only good news for Orlando is that the playoff matchup game could turn in their favor. It’s possible Boston will land on the other side of the Eastern Conference draw this spring, and as daunting as Miami seems on paper, they have nobody remotely qualified to deal with Howard. In the past, that’s been a leading indicator of an Orlando series win. Thus, I can’t rule out the possibility of Orlando breaking through for a first-ever championship. But if it happens, it won’t be as a top seed.”
- If you have access to Insider, Hollinger’s preview is a must-read.
- Did you know that Orlando was at their best in the third quarter last year? For long-time readers of Orlando Pinstriped Post when it was aptly named Third Quarter Collapse for a few years, that’s quite the irony.
- Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie projects the Magic to win 60 games this season. That’s not the kicker, though. Check out his projection for the Miami Heat.
- Royce Young of CBSSports.com: “The Magic will be answering one common question during training camp and really during the entire season – What do you think about the Heat? Stan Van Gundy isn’t someone to mince words, nor is Howard. Not that it’ll cause a rift among the actual team, but it’s certainly possible – nay, probable – that someone says something that catches some attention and headlines. Maybe Orlando wants the focus, maybe they want to provide some bulletin board material. But there’s no doubt that some off-court stuff will definitely jump into the picture during camp.”
- See what I mean?
- Rashard Lewis is excited about the prospects of spending more time at small forward.
Monday’s Magic Word
"Players worked out extensively during the offseason, and Van Gundy said he’s particularly pleased with how [Vince] Carter and [Rashard] Lewis focused on their conditioning and strengthening their legs. "
Thank you, thank you, thank you.