- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “[Orlando] Magic guard Gilbert Arenas told me recently that he has yet to show an explosive side that he displayed this summer in workouts. ‘This summer, when I was playing, I was attacking the basket and dunking on guys,’ Arenas said. ‘I hope to get back to that.’ Arenas said he’s adjusting to playing with a new team and now almost exclusively at point guard. He said he’s still coming back mentally from injuries the past three seasons in which he played just 47 games.”
- Dwight Howard thinks he’s the new Rasheed Wallace of technical fouls.
- A list of big men the Orlando Magic could pursue in free agency or a trade.
- Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com: “When NBA fans reminisce the most memorable playoff series of all time, they tend to talk about the illustrious Lakers-Celtics matchups of old and new, some of the Pistons-Bulls collisions and even clashes between the Knicks and Pacers or the Spurs and Mavericks. While all of these historical playoff matchups were spectacular, the one series that deserves to be mentioned as one of the most exhilarating in NBA history is Magic-Cavs of 2009. There are immeasurable instances from the Eastern Conference Finals that year that continue to astonish me. Yet for whatever reason – possibly because neither team resides in a large market – this breathtaking series does not receive the attention it warrants.”
- Check out Howard’s new commercial for Gatorade.
- Beckley Mason of TrueHoop: “By casting Howard as the brute force, we easily overlook all the thinking he does on the court. Over the last few seasons, Howard has become one of the league’s best big men at passing out of the double team. This can be hard to notice because of the offense in which he plays. Unlike the Lakers’ Pau Gasol, who feeds a steady carousel of cutters from the post, racking up assists that are easy to spot in a box score, Howard’s role is to make the hockey assist for his 3-point shooting teammates. When the Magic space the floor around Howard, often the wide open 3-point shot or closeout-busting drive will come two passes after Howard kicks the ball out of the double team. Howard may not tally the assist, but his decision making and ability to absorb a full double team before finding the right teammate on the perimeter are vital to his team’s success.”
- Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated: “Ending two double-digit winning streaks back-to-back is by itself impressive; that the Magic beat the Spurs and the Celtics in different fashion indicates the potent versatility of their revamped roster — and the potential pitfalls if coach Stan Van Gundy can’t push the right buttons. The Spurs, on the tail end of a home/road back-to-back, were ripe to be run out of Amway Arena last Thursday, and with new acquisitions Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu eager to prove their mettle, Orlando sped to victory via a 30-2 advantage in fast-break points. On Christmas, the Magic churned out a defensive-oriented win against Boston led by the holdovers — Dwight Howard, Brandon Bass, Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick. Monday’s thrashing of New Jersey was a mixture of the two. Credit Orlando for quality victories against San Antonio and Boston, but in the big picture, Turkoglu and Arenas remain huge gambles and the Magic need another legitimate big man to shore up their frontcourt.”
- What does it take to be an MVP?
- Howard is excited about his new teammates.