Tuesday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball



Oct 05

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Former [Orlando] Magic shooting guard Courtney Lee feels right at home with the Houston Rockets. Going from a team that went 12-70 last season to a playoff contender would make anybody feel happy. That’s the case with Lee, who was sent from the New Jersey Nets to the Rockets in August as part of a four-team trade. Lee, 25, likes his role with Houston. He likely will back up starting SG Kevin Martin, but Lee also played some point guard during training camp. The Rockets want him to serve as a defensive stopper on the wing and also attack on the offensive end.”
  • More from Robbins: “There will be no surprises in the Orlando Magic starting lineup when the team takes the floor for its preseason opener tonight against the Houston Rockets. Rashard Lewis will start at his usual position of power forward, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy told me a short while ago. Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Quentin Richardson and Dwight Howard will join Lewis in the starting lineup. Still, you can expect that Lewis will play some small forward tonight. Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass and possibly Marcin Gortat will man the 4 spot when Lewis plays the 3. […] Van Gundy said he’ll play at least 11 of his 13 healthy players. The two guys who might not play are rookie Stanley Robinson and veteran Malik Allen.”
  • Money is the reason why the Orlando Magic won’t sign a third point guard.
  • What does Brandon Bass need to improve on? Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel offers a solution: “Bass struggled to grasp the Magic’s defensive rotations last season, often ending up in the wrong place or defending the wrong players after defensive switches. And being a big man, lapses on help defense lead to open lay-ups and dunks. That kept him out of favor with Stan Van Gundy and on the bench for most of last season. Bass’ shooting range doesn’t extend to the 3-point line, which is limiting for Orlando’s 4-out, 1-in offense. And unless the Magic organization invents some new technology this won’t be improved, but Bass’ 6-foot-7 frame can be limiting.”
  • Additional information on Bass’ improvements on defense.
  • A few things to look out for in the Magic’s pre-season game against the Houston Rockets.
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com answer some questions for Magic fans.
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “The issue with either Anderson or Bass sharing the court with Lewis is that it’d force Lewis to cover smaller, faster players at the other end. More broadly, it means Orlando wouldn’t have a plus defender at either perimeter position. Sacrificing defense for offense’s sake doesn’t sound like a Van Gundy tactic, but as John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com explained, there’s a lingering feeling in Magic HQ that playing Lewis at small forward in the Eastern Conference Finals could have put Orlando over the top against the Boston Celtics. The thinking, then, appears to be that Lewis’ ability to score in more ways from the three-spot is more important than putting a “true” power forward in the lineup. Regardless of the reason for the move, it’s clear that it’s something with which the Magic intend to experiment this season, starting with the exhibition schedule. I’m excited to see how it plays out.”
  • Make sure to also read Rock’s pre-season primer. It’s a must-read.
  • Rob Mahoney of ProBasketballTalk chimes in on Bass’ progress defensively in training camp: “It wasn’t Bass’ blinders-on approach to scoring or his somewhat troubling rebounding rate that led to his diminished role with Orlando. Instead, Stan Van Gundy spoke of Bass’ defensive limitations, and his lack of familiarity with the defensive system that is so vital to the Magic’s success. Bass may have been strong enough and productive enough to thrive as a sixth man for the Dallas Mavericks in the season prior, but he clearly failed to meet SVG’s more specific systemic needs.”
  • Tracy McGrady is jealous of the SuperFriends. Remember, McGrady had a chance to play alongside Grant Hill and Tim Duncan (it was a longshot, but a remote possibility) in the summer of 2000 when Orlando was pursuing each of them when they were free agents: “I am envious (of Miami’s Big Three). I’m jealous as s**t. I look at all the teams I’ve been on, and I never had a Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the same team. I’m jealous, but I’m happy for them. I hope they win 10 damn championships. […] Ten years ago, we could have done it (put a Big Three together) but without all the hype. But that’s just wishful thinking now. It’s what could have happened. It’s only teasing me (to talk about it). So many nights I remember just wishing that Grant was healthy. I would have loved for Duncan to have been there, too, but a healthy Grant Hill would have been good enough (for me).”
  • McGrady is right — he didn’t have a Wade alongside him, not even close.
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie with some words of wisdom on McGrady: “McGrady carried the Magic, for years, when Grant Hill was injured. He has never made it out of the first round of the playoffs, but he’s never been on a team that deserved to beat the team it lost to in the first round of the playoffs. You may not like the way he left Toronto, Orlando, or Houston; but his prime years were also decimated by injury. He’ll take in a lot of flak for these comments, but I think it’s time to give the guy a break.”
  • Dwight Howard is the starting center of Team “D.”
  • Penny Hardaway made a big jump statistically from 1995 to 1996.