Otis Smith’s bad offseason | Magic Basketball



Dec 20

Otis Smith’s bad offseason

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Via Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post:

If one views the Bass-for-Davis trade as a lateral move for Orlando–and that’s a charitable assessment–and believes Richardson can rebound from an unimpressive 55-game stint with the Magic, then perhaps the team is better off than it was when its season ended in April. But in general, it’s status quo. Davis takes Bass’ place in the rotation, while Chris Duhon will fill in for the departed Arenas. The other slots don’t figure to change significantly. […]

Smith has essentially handcuffed himself to this roster, both by dumping his best trade assets–Bass’ reasonable contract, backup center Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter’s semi-expiring contract–and by signing marginal players to long-term deals. Orlando doesn’t need a superstar swingman in order to return to the ranks of the East’s elite, but it lacks the trade chips to swing a deal for even a second- or third-tier option.

In short, improvement at that most dire area of need seems unlikely, both from within and from without.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Richardson, Redick, and Turkoglu can create for themselves when the offense bogs down. Maybe Howard has taken his game to the next level and can reliably score 26 points per game, thus diminishing the need for a number-two wing scoring option. Maybe someone apart from Howard will draw a foul every once in a while. Maybe an enticing trade offer will come along as the trading deadline draws nearer. But you’ll forgive my skepticism on those points.


They could have traded Bass for nothing and still come out ahead on the deal. That guy's erratic defense, poor floor spacing and utter refusal to pass single-handedly sunk our season last year. Of course, the fact that we're now stuck with Glen Davis isn't exactly great news.

On the bright side, it looks like they'll finally be giving Anderson the minutes he's earned. Say want you want about Richardson and especially Turkoglu, but it's clearly a huge difference having a playbook designed to utilize their talents. (Turk was working all year off a playbook basically designed for some combination of Quentin Richardson and Rashard Lewis -- I'm sure Stan drew up and revised some extra plays over the course of the season, but it's not the same. it's never the same.) On paper, I like this lineup better than any other Magic lineup in recent years... of course, let's see if it has the chance to play out.


@septimus4 I TOTALLY agree with you on Bass but the experts think differently. Guess it's easier to write negative, finger pointing stories then to give some credit to Otis. I mean he is the same guy who built this team; drafted Dwight, gambled on Turk, three 50 winning seasons, multiple playoff appearances, two Eastern Conference Finals, Finals, half billion dollar Arena with a billion dollar profit over time all while in a VERY small market & one major superstar who just recently began to get recognized as a superstar about 2-3yrs ago. Whoever was the GM when Tracey McGrady (Superstar) was in Orlando did a better job then Otis is doing. Yea Otis, YOU SUCK! You're doing a HORRIBLE job. All of us village idiots & common folk can do a WAAAAYYYY better job as GM for the Orlando Magic. Some ppl think Otis can just wave a magic wand (no pun intended) & bring in any superstar in the league. & don't give me that "he traded all the worthy trade pieces away" Seriously? Was Gortat that hot? is he hot now?

erivera7 moderator

@KchulKK@septimus4 Umm ... when the consensus opinion from the smartest NBA writers is UNANIMOUS that Bass is a better player than Davis, there's no conspiracy. The numbers back it up.

Stop acting so delusional.

erivera7 moderator


Yeah, whoops. My comment about Davis/Bass wasn't directed towards you. Accidentally had your username tagged.

With regards to your last point, I agree with you. Bass' basketball IQ was low and he was a poor fit on the roster but he was still a useful player, especially now where the Magic have a dearth of talent.

And I also agree that it would have been nice for Otis to get value in return ... I think what frustrated me most with that move was three things: 1.) Bass got traded for a worse player, 2.) Davis was acquired, and 3.) Davis got a four-year deal.


@erivera7@KchulKK Oh, I don't think Davis is a good player, and I don't like that the team signed him. I just really violently dislike Bass, who's one of the five or six dumbest NBA players I've seen in my 15 years of watching basketball. As I said, if given the choice, I'd rather have the $5 million or whatever in cap room. They're both chumps.

And I'm certainly not defending all the moves Otis has made. The mid-season trades last year were clearly a bad move for the most part; I don't believe Richardson is an upgrade from Carter (the opposite if anything), Gortat was a huge loss (we couldn't use him, but he's probably a top-10 NBA center, definitely top 12 or 15, and we would've been better off either getting that value for him or hanging onto him as an insurance policy in case Howard left/got injured), and while Lewis wasn't the player he used to be, he at least had a hypothetical role on the team, unlike Arenas.

For that matter, signing Bass was a mistake, and I said so at the time. Even if they didn't know he'd fail to grasp the team's offense or defense, it was pretty clear what kind of player he was, and at the time, we had enough frontcourt depth -- Howard, Gortat and Lewis were all clearly better than him, and we had Anderson, who was an unknown quantity with potential. We didn't need to pay $5 million a year for a fifth big man, even if he was pretty good. And so we ended up with the log jam that disrupted the rotation in '09-'10, Stan trying to justify the signing by playing Bass in '10-'11 (and introducing a bunch of offensive sets that never worked, and apparently upsetting Dwight... that's largely on Stan, but also on management for giving him the mismatched pieces to work with), and so on.

The only positive things I'm saying are a) I'm glad Bass is gone, though I wish we had gotten something of value in return, and b) I'm holding out hope for Turk and to a lesser extent Richardson this year, because re-drawing the playbooks should let the team play to their strengths more. I don't think either one of those is that controversial an opinion.