Wednesday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball



Oct 20

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “Many Orlando Magic observers, including some of us here at the Orlando Sentinel, were a bit skeptical when Stan Van Gundy said both Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass would play every night. While both players earned playing time this preseason, it just didn’t seem logical or plausible for Van Gundy to utilize an 11-man rotation on a nightly basis. Van Gundy clarified a bit further on Wednesday morning. According to Van Gundy, the plan is to play both Bass and Anderson backup power forward minutes in the first half every night. Then in the second half, he’ll decide which one to play based on matchups and who has the hot hand.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Mickael Pietrus is expected to play for the Orlando Magic tonight in their preseason exhibition against the Dallas Mavericks. Pietrus sat out Orlando’s last two preseason games because of lingering soreness in his right wrist, which was hurt when he took a charge Oct. 14 against Charlotte. Coach Stan Van Gundy said he’ll employ a starting lineup tonight of Jameer Nelson at point guard, Vince Carter at shooting guard, Quentin Richardson at small forward, Rashard Lewis at power forward and Dwight Howard at center.”
  • Earlier today, Dwight Howard surprised the Orlando media with copies of his new album and “a huge smile on his face.” Oh, and Howard impersonates Adonal Foyle in this video.
  • Will the Orlando Magic get off to a fast start in the regular season?
  • Zach Lowe, in a Sports Illustrated roundtable discussion about the Miami Heat, thinks that the Magic could provide the biggest test for them: “Orlando is a more interesting case to me. The Magic have Howard, the one player for whom the Heat really don’t have an answer, and they have a system on both ends they execute well and consistently. They obviously don’t have Miami’s superstar talent — Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson have proved merely “good” or “very good” at this point in their careers. But I like the idea of a System vs. Superstars battle, and I think Orlando could give the Heat problems.”
  • Austin Burton of Dime Magazine: “Just like their Finals run in ‘09, this will be a year of exploiting matchups for the Magic, and whether they’ll be on the positive or negative end of those exploitations. In a seven-game series, Miami has to find a way to neutralize Dwight. Against Boston, the Magic are the team that needs to adjust. Van Gundy has to find a way to keep “Superman” from being locked in a phone booth while opening up looks for Vince.”
  • M. Haubs of The Painted Area thinks Orlando will finish with the second-best regular season record in the NBA when it’s all said and done.
  • It’s all about good habits for the Magic. Tracy Weissenberg of SLAM ONLINE explains: “A lot of people base Orlando’s identity on the fact that they are overlooked. And compared to Miami and Boston, they are. But in the locker room, all the players — including those who tasted the bittersweet success of reaching the NBA Finals and the new faces hoping to get there — define the team by something far more basic and a lot less subjective: the way they practice. […] The dynamic of the NBA changes rapidly, and while success can be ephemeral, work ethic is a key to longevity. There are always going to be teams and players willing to put in the time, and the Magic hope that this season, time behind the scenes eventually leads to the spotlight.”
  • Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie takes a closer look at Howard’s new kicks.
  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus with some revealing data about Rashard Lewis at small forward: “Orlando has used these bigger lineups in five of its six preseason games (the exception came last Thursday against Charlotte, when Lewis and fellow stars Vince Carter and Dwight Howard got the night off; the Magic still won by 13). Going through the play-by-play for those games, I found that Lewis has played small forward for 82 of his 125 minutes. During those 82 minutes, Orlando has outscored its opponents by an incredible 75 points–a +43.7 point differential per 48 minutes. The Magic has been strong in the preseason no matter the lineup, but has gone supernova with Lewis at the three. I’ve been dismissive of the notion of moving Lewis back to small forward in the past because of my belief that it takes away some of what makes Orlando special (the ability to spread the floor around Dwight Howard) and because I’m not sure Lewis is as effective defending the perimeter as the post at this stage of his career. However, it’s impossible to argue with the results. Lewis has played well individually (he’s made eight three-pointers in 15 attempts) and the backup bigs have all taken advantage of the increased opportunities.”