Wednesday’s Magic Word | Magic Basketball



Dec 21

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Plenty of intrigue surrounds tonight’s Orlando Magic preseason finale, but the competition for spots on the season-opening Magic roster is not included in that mix. Barring an unforeseen injury, the Magic appear inclined to begin the regular season with two true point guards, Jameer Nelson and Chris Duhon, instead of the typical three true point guards. Part of the reason is Hedo Turkoglu’s presence. Turkoglu provides another option to bring the ball upcourt, especially late in games. Besides Nelson and Duhon, the Magic have just one other true point guard on their roster right now, Gabe Pruitt. But Pruitt’s contract is not guaranteed. Teams are permitted to carry 15 players on their roster. This season, Feb. 6 is the last day a team is allowed to have 13 players on its active list for each game, a league spokesman said. After Feb. 6, a team may still dress 13 players for a game, but only 12 of them would be allowed to play. The question the Magic now face is, How many players will they keep to begin the season?”
  • How loud will the crowd at Amway Center be in tonight’s game for Dwight Howard?
  • Howard’s current situation — with regards to his looming free agency — is nothing compared to what LeBron James experienced.
  • A top ten list of reasons Howard shouldn’t join the New Jersey Nets.
  • Hedo Turkoglu will not be playing in the Orlando Magic’s final preseason game.
  • John Hollinger of ESPN Insider has a rosy projection for the Magic (40-26 and the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference), albeit with a major caveat: “Despite all the overpaid averageness surrounding Howard, Orlando’s ceiling remains very high because of Howard’s dominance in the middle. If he plays all season in Orlando at last season’s level, I could easily see this team pushing for a top-two seed in the East. But there’s the rub. Orlando’s success depends on Howard being fully engaged and playing at an MVP level; if he’s anything less than the second-best player in the league, the Magic’s chances fall off a cliff. This, then, is a bit different from the celebrated 2007 example in which Kobe Bryant demanded a trade and then belatedly realized he had a really good team around him. In Orlando’s case, Howard has a really good team almost entirely because of his own efforts. Anderson and Jameer Nelson are the only teammates who project to generate a player efficiency rating better than the league average.”
  • Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus appears on ESPN Insider to break down the East in tiers based off the SCHOENE projection system. Orlando is listed as one of the contenders in the conference, for now: “Orlando’s status as a championship contender is tenuous even before you consider Dwight Howard’s trade request — which, if granted, likely knocks the Magic into the lottery (depending on the return, of course.) That aside, as long as Howard is with Orlando, the Magic will be an elite defensive team. There are questions about the offense, with Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu both getting long in the tooth. Also, Glen “Big Baby” Davis is a downgrade from Brandon Bass and could (should) lose playing time to Ryan Anderson.”
  • A look back at a classic Tracy McGrady performance on Christmas Day.
  • Jameer Nelson chats about the Magic on NBC SportsTalk.
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward isn’t optimistic about Orlando this season: “Orlando is a very good team, but the aging of key cogs (Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu) and the endless Howard rumors give it a ceiling not much higher than Atlanta’s. Obviously, if it trades Howard during the season, this becomes a lottery-quality team.”
  • Tom Ziller of SB Nation previews the 2012 NBA free agent class: “The 17-time defending Defensive Player of the Year (that’s right, isn’t it?) is the biggest fish of all, 2012’s LeBron. I fully expect Howard, should he reach free agency after remaining in Orlando through the March 15 trade deadline, to hold court at Hogwarts at Universal Studios in Orlando, inviting Mikhail Prokhorov, Jim Buss, Jerry Reinsdorf and Rich DeVos to sell him signing with their franchises. And I expect Howard to turn it into a giant joke, plank on Professor McGonagall and decide to move to Jupiter.”
  • Is Howard the next David Robinson? Hint: the answer has nothing to do with physiques.