Friday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball



Oct 01

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “While the celebration of the new place was going on up the street, the old place was eerily quiet. It was sunny and green and clean outside, but dark and desolate and dusty inside. And nearly abandoned. Except for a skeletal crew of workers, there was no sign of life in a building that had first given us music and laughter and indoor football and, yes, dunks, from Shaq to Dwight [Howard], for 21 years. Amway Arena was officially left behind on Friday by Amway Center, The Next Generation. I headed out to say goodbye to the old gal, taking a familiar route — I-4, Colonial and a left past Lake Dot — for the last time. It was a path I had traveled to cover hundreds and hundreds of games since the [Orlando] Magic were born in 1989. I don’t know what the traffic was like for the grand opening at Amway Center, but this trip felt like a scene out of “I Am Legend,” when Will Smith had the city to himself after a virus outbreak.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “If anyone wondered how Jameer Nelson would approach the Orlando Magic’s training camp this year, he answered that question at the end of the first 5-on-5 scrimmage. Crouched in a perfect defensive stance, his weight on the balls of his feet, Nelson crowded the opposing team’s point guard. When the ball-handler dribbled left, Nelson sprinted to his right, never giving up an inch of space. When a much larger player attempted to set a pick, Nelson fought through it, absorbing a glancing blow on his left shoulder. The man Nelson was covering had nowhere to go. That sequence typifies the way Nelson has responded to challenges this week. Coach Stan Van Gundy wants Nelson to improve his man-to-man defense, particularly against quicker point guards, and Nelson has responded. President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith wants Nelson to be a more vocal leader, and teammates say that Nelson has obliged.”
  • The story of how the Amway Center was born.
  • The city of Orlando is thrilled about the new arena.
  • Vince Carter sat out of today’s practice with a sore ankle. Head coach Stan Van Gundy has the details: “He’s got a little bit of swelling, and it’s been a little tender. It’s actually been bothering him for a couple of days a little bit, and he’s continued to go on it, which probably hasn’t helped. He tried to go today. He went in and got more treatment while we were getting warmed up and was going to try to go, but he decided he couldn’t.”
  • Van Gundy wants to see Dwight Howard back down his defenders on the low block.
  • John Denton of “Small forward is familiar territory for [Rashard] Lewis, who spent the first nine years of his career in Seattle playing on the wing. But in Orlando, head coach Stan Van Gundy to some degree revolutionized the ‘stretch four’ position, using a front line player to predominantly shoot 3-pointers and leave the middle of the floor open for Dwight Howard. […] Brandon Bass worked on film study and closely with assistant coach Patrick Ewing to become a better defender at power forward, and [Ryan] Anderson re-shaped his body in an attempt to be quicker and stronger. Either could start at power forward and center Marcin Gortat could also see time there because of his defensive and rebounding prowess. But Van Gundy admitted on Thursday that he’s still somewhat leery about changing a formula (i.e. Lewis at power forward) that’s brought so much success to the Magic. The likelihood is that Lewis will start at power forward with newcomer Quentin Richardson getting the nod at small forward. While Van Gundy said he wants no part of a revolving starting lineup, he does want to the flexibility to change styles during games and against particular foes.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Really, just appreciate that the fact that the arena’s very existence ensures the Magic will continue to call Central Florida home for the forseeable future. It’s not a great time for NBA teams in small markets looking to improve their facilities; the Sacramento Kings, for instance, just came up against a big obstacle in their efforts to obtain land for a new arena, continuing to fuel rumors they could flee for Kansas City, Las Vegas, or another town hungry for an NBA team. They have until the end of February to file for relocation. While I believe the DeVos family is committed to keeping the Magic in Orlando, I do think the same scenario the Kings are facing now is one with which the Magic could have been confronted had the arena measure not passed.”
  • Matt Moore of chimes in on Ryan Anderson’s contract being extended by the Orlando Magic: “Anderson compares favorably to OKC’s Jeff Green, as a perimeter power forward. Anderson’s rebounding numbers actually are favorable to Green. Anderson still needs help at the defensive end, but even that gap in his game is closing quickly. It’s no wonder the Magic are clinging to him. With the Magic talking more about moving Lewis more to the small forward spot, there will be opportunities for Anderson. The question is if they’ll mazimize their use of him or if he’ll continue to add to the ranks of Magic frontcourt guys who are disgruntled with their lot. Marcin Gortat’s not happy with not getting touches, and Brandon Bass could not be more stressed out with being buried on the depth chart. Lewis is still the best flex-forward player they have, but Anderson’s potential was enough for the Magic to go ahead and lock him up, even as they continue to struggle with the luxury tax.”
  • Make sure to become a fan of Orlando Pinstriped Post on Facebook. Magic Basketball will have its own page next week, so stay tuned for that.
  • Daniel Orton will miss the pre-season to rehab his left knee.
  • Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference: “In the realm of APBRmetrics, perhaps no stat has as many alternate versions (many under essentially the same confusingly interchangeable name) as “Assist Ratio/Rate”. All theoretically attempt to measure passing ability, but each version has its own quirks and biases. Today I want to compare all of the versions I can think of, and show a leaderboard (minimum 500 MP) for each to get a better feel for what each is measuring […]”
  • Ball Don’t Lie bids farewell to Trey Kerby, who is moving on to work at The Score in Toronto.