Friday’s Magic Word | Magic Basketball



Apr 06

Friday’s Magic Word

  • With the drama surrounding head coach Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard reaching a fever pitch, Hedo Turkoglu suffering facial fractures on his cheekbone (this after Carmelo Anthony inadvertently elbowed him in the face), and Ryan Anderson still recovering from a sprained ankle, nothing is going right for the Orlando Magic right now.
  • According to Basketball Prospectus, the Magic are projected to finish with the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference behind the Atlanta Hawks. Though for Orlando, they would play the Boston Celtics in the first round if the standings held up.
  • Last night, the crew (Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal) at “Inside the NBA” on TNT had a lot to say with regards to the Van Gundy-Dwight saga.
  • In lieu of new rumors, in this case from Fred Kerber of the New York Post, in which it’s revealed that Dwight was “threatened” by the possibility of being traded from the Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers at the deadline, Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie went straight to the point: “Honestly, in a few weeks time Dwight Howard has gone from an MVP candidate to someone who needs a leave of bloody absence.”
  • Once known as “Superman,” now Dwight is nothing more than a supervillian. Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York explains Dwight’s transformation from good guy to bad guy: “His innocence — or whatever remained of it — was shattered like a glass backboard even before he embarrassed himself against the New York Knicks. Seven hours before tipoff, before Howard went scoreless for the first 35 minutes and 56.5 seconds of a 96-80 loss to the Knicks, Stan Van Gundy disclosed that his bosses had told him Howard did indeed ask for his head.”
  • What does life after Orlando look like for Van Gundy? John Hollinger of ESPN Insider lays out all the possibilities for Van Gundy’s future. Could ESPN come calling for him to be a television NBA analyst? Would Van Gundy listen to the offer?
  • Marc Stein of “The only apparent certainty, at this point, is that Van Gundy will not be back in Orlando next season. No one can envision a scenario where Van Gundy returns for 2012-13 … or a scenario where Stan even wants to.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk on the Magic: “It’s hard to see how this team rights the ship and gains momentum now — the locker room is divided and there will be a cloud of questions following their every move.”
  • “Oh, things are a hot mess in Orlando right now.”
  • Turkoglu may need a protective mask to shield his face after he suffered facial fractures in his right cheekbone. He also may need surgery.
  • Shaq talks about Dwight and takes his side in the Van Gundy vs. Dwight debate.
  • Abe Schwadron of SLAM ONLINE: “The word ‘strange’ doesn’t even begin to describe what’s going on in Orlando right now.”
  • Is one of the reasons why Dwight has created so much drama is because he’s underpaid? Ethan Sherwood Strauss of CourtVision thinks so: “Howard is set to make $17,885,400 this year and $19,261,200 next year. This is a lot of money to you, me or even a high-powered lawyer. But it’s far from Howard’s worth in terms of TV ratings, ticket prices and international exposure for the Magic organization. The dude’s a bargain, even at near $20 million per year.”
  • With all that’s going on, Orlando may be better off cleaning their hands of the situation once and for all and trade Dwight in the offseason.
  • Zach Harper of HoopSpeak presents to you “Dueling Helicopters” featuring Turkoglu and Anthony. This is part of HoopIdea’s initiative to #StopTheFlop.
  • Bethlehem Shoals of The Classical: “Howard seems intent on simply making more work for himself, or at very least, setting himself up as the dictatorial authority and thus exposing himself to all the blame. It’s a remarkably crude sense of power, one almost as immature as it is counterproductive.”
  • Steve Kyler of HOOPSWORLD with the must-read article of the day. As the mainstream media and blogosphere try to make sense of all the madness that has occurred with the Magic in the last 24 hours, Kyler has this to report: “So what’s the real issue? Dwight Howard wants a coach he can connect with; a coach he can trust; a coach that can relate to what players are going through in a season. Dwight does not want to be an employee.”
  • Andrew Sharp of SB Nation wonders if the Magic were better off dealing Dwight to the Los Angeles Lakers at the trade deadline.
  • In last night’s game, the New York Knicks dominated Orlando from start to finish and — given the circumstances — it didn’t take a lot of work to do so.
  • More from Sharp: “Dwight is the player who’s been flexing his superstar’s leverage all year, Thursday was the day that Van Gundy decided to flex his. Nobody’s done more with less over the past five years, so he’s earned the privilege of candor. Coaches get forced out by superstar all the time, but they’re not usually as proven and respected as Van Gundy — that’s why this got complicated.”
  • Tom Ziller of SB Nation maintains his opinion that once Dwight waived the early termination option in his contract on March 15, the Magic should have traded him the second he signed it to avoid the current mess they’re in: “A lottery pick and a top prospect would have been an easy pull for Orlando on March 14, after Dwight committed. Instead, the Magic have to deal with this nightmare at least until the end of this season, and probably all of next year, too.”

About the Basketball Prospectus article on team standings, while in a vacuum, it is true that if Atlanta had the 4th best record versus that Magic's 5th best record, Atlanta would have home court and the Magic would be in trouble; however, those standings don't take into account that the team that wins the Atlantic division can be no lower than the 4th seed. 


For sake of argument, if the standings BP predicts bears out, Boston would become the 4th seed despite having the 6th best record because they would win the Atlantic division and would play against Atlanta's 5th seed (however Atlanta would have home court advantage against Boston due to the superior record).  Magic would drop to 6th and play the the 3rd seed Pacers (a much more favorable matchup for the Magic despite not having home court).