Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 15

Aug 04

The end of an era

NBA Finals Game 5:  Los Angeles Lakers v Orlando Magic

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

From 2007 to 2012, the Orlando Magic were a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. Over those five seasons, they won 65.7 percent of their regular season games, represented the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals once, raised three Southeast Division banners, and posted a playoff record of 31-28 (.525 winning percentage) — all of which was the culmination of Stan Van Gundy’s revolutionizing 3-heavy attack.

Before Van Gundy’s arrival, the Magic were stuck in mediocrity, but the pieces were in place to build something special and that is exactly what he did. Their offense and defense was centered around Dwight Howard, and the front office played to his strengths and weaknesses by surrounding him with players who could space the floor. Van Gundy then utilized those pieces in the best way possible, making Rashard Lewis a stretch four — one of the first the NBA had ever seen — and giving Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu free reigns as playmakers, which helped them develop into the most potent pick-and-roll team in the Association.

Sadly, all good things eventually come to an end and the honeymoon period came to a close quickly for the Magic. First, a loss in the Eastern Conference Finals the season following their triumphant run to the Finals, and then back-to-back first round exits in the seasons after. As a result, the franchise parted ways with Stan Van Gundy and his 3-point happy system in the summer of 2012 when their disgruntled star wanted a change, and soon after the dominos started to fall.

Rashard Lewis had already parted ways with the team at that point — they replaced him with another stretch four in Ryan Anderson — but in the months leading up to Van Gundy’s dismissal, rumors swirled around about teammates butting heads in the locker room. It didn’t take long for the rest of the roster to shake out.

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Jul 31

Reviewing the Magic’s free agent signings

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The Magic have presumably wrapped up their offseason acquisitions. There may be further preseason tinkering, but for the most part, we know who to expect on the roster next season. What’s left, then? To judge. And judge we shall.

If we strictly look at the free agency portion of the team’s activity, we see three signed players, all remarkably around the same age: Channing Frye (31), Ben Gordon (31), and Luke Ridnour (33). That’s not including Willie Green (33), who was claimed off waivers.

Frye warrants his own category, because he doesn’t follow the same pattern as the other three players that declined sharply last season from previous seasons.

In an article I wrote in April, I offered a grading tool to assess the Magic’s free agency. I said that we could look for the team to make a value free agent signing of a “relatively young player who is used to winning games.” This would not include another Jason Maxiell- or Ronnie Price-type signing. Green, Gordon, and Ridnour might fall perfectly into the Maxiell tier, but of course, none of them were the Magic’s most important free agent signing. That title would belong to Frye.

At 31, I’m not going to say that his age fits into the relatively young category. But you don’t have to reach for ways he fulfills the rest of the test. He’s used to winning games, particularly on a young team such as Orlando’s. Phoenix was the most surprisingly successful team last season, and Frye was a key contributor to that.

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Jul 25

Magic sign free agent Luke Ridnour

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have signed free agent guard Luke Ridnour, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed.

“We’re extremely excited to welcome Luke (Ridnour) and his family to Orlando,” said Hennigan. “Luke is a proven player in this league who is well-respected as a teammate and competitor. The depth and veteran experience he will provide to our backcourt will help our team continue to grow.”

Ridnour (6’2”, 175, 2/13/81) played in 61 total regular season games (14 starts) last season with both Milwaukee and Charlotte, averaging 5.0 ppg., 2.9 apg. and 1.6 rpg. in 18.7 mpg. He appeared in 36 games (12 starts) with Milwaukee, averaging 5.7 ppg., 3.4 apg. and 1.7 rpg. in 21.2 mpg. Ridnour was traded to Charlotte, along with Gary Neal, in exchange for Jeff Adrien and Ramon Sessions on Feb. 20. With Charlotte, he played in 25 games (two starts), averaging 4.0 ppg., 2.2 apg. and 1.4 rpg in 15.1 mpg. Ridnour led (or tied) the Bucks in scoring twice and in assists 12 times. He led (or tied) the Bobcats (now Hornets) in assists once. Ridnour scored in double figures a total of ten times, including a season-high 16 points on Jan. 11 at Oklahoma City. He also appeared in four playoff outings, averaging 2.5 ppg., 3.0 apg. and 1.0 rpg. in 9.0 mpg.

Originally selected by Seattle in the first round (14th overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft, Ridnour has appeared in 783 career NBA regular season games (493 starts) during his 11-year career with Seattle, Minnesota, Milwaukee and Charlotte, averaging 9.6 ppg., 4.6 apg., 2.3 rpg. and 1.01 spg. in 26.7 mpg., while shooting .862 (1,272-1,475) from the free throw line. He also played in 22 career playoff games (11 starts), averaging 7.9 ppg., 3.3 apg. and 2.4 rpg. in 24.3 mpg. Ridnour ranks eighth among active players and 28th in NBA history in career free throw percentage. He finished seventh in the NBA in total assists (550) in 2005-06.

Jul 24

Magic sign Devyn Marble

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Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have signed rookie guard Devyn Marble, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed. The draft rights to Marble (56th overall pick), along with Evan Fournier, were acquired from Denver in exchange for Arron Afflalo on June 26.

Marble (#11, 6’6”, 200, 9/21/92) played in 136 career games during four years at the University of Iowa, averaging 12.5 ppg., 3.4 rpg., 2.9 apg. and 1.29 spg. in 27.6 mpg. He ranks second on the school’s all-time games played list with 136. Marble also ranks in Hawkeyes’ history in scoring (fifth, 1,694 points), assists (sixth, 397) and steals (seventh, 176).

As a senior (2013-14), Marble played and started in 33 games, averaging 17.0 ppg., 3.6 apg., 3.2 rpg. and 1.82 spg. in 30.2 mpg. He was named First Team All-Big Ten after leading the team in scoring and ranked second in assists. Marble scored in double figures 27 times.

During his junior campaign (2012-13), Marble played and started in 37 games, averaging 15.0 ppg., 4.0 rpg., 3.0 apg. and 1.14 spg. in 30.5 mpg. He led the Hawkeyes in scoring and assists, and was named Third Team All-Big Ten.

Marble is the son of Roy Marble, a former NBA player and the all-time leading scorer in Iowa history.

Jul 22

Harris, Oladipo chosen to USA Men’s Select Team

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Orlando Magic

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

Orlando Magic players Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo were selected as two of the 13 players for the 2014 USA Men’s Select Team that will train July 28-31 with the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s National Team during its training camp in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA Basketball announced today. The squad features eight players owning USA Basketball experience, including four members of the 2013-14 NBA All-Rookie first team.

Joining Harris and Oladipo on the 2014 USA Basketball Select squad are: Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors); Trey Burke (Utah Jazz); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls); Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York Knicks); Doug McDermott (Chicago Bulls); Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets); Miles Plumlee (Phoenix Suns); Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics); Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers); and Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets).

“USA Basketball’s Select Teams are critical for getting some of the game’s brightest and most promising young players experience at the USA National Team level, and getting them into our pipeline,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball National Team managing director. “Again this summer, as was done in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012, the members of the USA Select Team will play an important role in helping prepare the USA National Team for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

“Being chosen for the Select Team is an honor and an important step in becoming involved in USA Basketball’s National Team program in the future. In the past, current national team players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, as well as many other outstanding players got their USA National Team start through the Select Team.”

Members of the USA Select Team will assemble in Las Vegas and train with the USA National Team July 28-31 (12:00-3:00 p.m. PDT). All practices will take place at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center.

The USA National Team opens its 2014 training with the Las Vegas training that concludes with the Aug. 1 (6:00 p.m. local time) 2014 USA Basketball Showcase that features a Blue-White intrasquad game at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center. Tickets for the 2014 USA Basketball Showcase start at $10, and can be purchased by calling 702-739-FANS or online at www.UNLVtickets.com.

The 2014 Select Team features five players who completed their rookie NBA season in 2013-14, three who wrapped up their second NBA season, two three-year NBA players and two players who will make their NBA debut in 2014-14.

Harris played in 61 games (36 starts) last season with the Magic, averaging a career-high 14.6 ppg., a career-best 7.0 rpg. and 1.3 apg. in 30.3 mpg., while shooting .807 (197-244) from the free throw line. He led (or tied) the Magic in scoring 13 times and in rebounding 16 times.

Oladipo was named to the 2013-14 NBA All-Rookie First Team. He appeared in 80 games (44 starts) with the Magic, averaging 13.8 ppg., 4.1 rpg., 4.1 apg. and a team-high 1.61 spg. in 31.1 mpg. He was tied for 15th in the NBA in steals. Oladipo was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Month for both December 2013 and February 2014, and became just the second rookie in Orlando history with 1,000+ points, 300+ assists and 100+ steals in a season (Hardaway).

Jul 16

Magic to sign free agent Luke Ridnour

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

In need of a third point guard, the Orlando Magic are in the process of finalizing a free-agent deal with veteran Luke Ridnour, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.

Ridnour, 33, has played for four NBA franchises. He began the 2013-14 season with the Milwaukee Bucks, but he was dealt at the trade deadline to the Charlotte Bobcats.

Ridnour appeared in 61 games last season for the Bucks and Bobcats and averaged 5.0 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 18.7 minutes per game.

Once Ridnour is signed, the Magic will have 14 players under contract, a number that doesn’t include the team’s unsigned second-round draft pick, swingman Devyn Marble.

Jul 14

Magic acquire two second round picks

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have acquired two future second round draft picks (2015, 2016), cash considerations and the contract of forward Anthony Randolph from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the draft rights to forward Milovan Rakovic, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today. In addition, Orlando intends to waive Randolph.

The draft rights to Rakovic (6’10”, 280, 2/19/85) were acquired by Orlando, along with cash considerations, from Dallas in exchange for the draft rights to Reyshawn Terry on June 28, 2007. He has played his entire professional career overseas.

Jul 14

Magic sign free agent Channing Frye

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Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have signed free agent forward Channing Frye, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed.

“We’re extremely excited to welcome Channing (Frye) and his family to Orlando,” said Hennigan. “Channing’s character, competitiveness, veteran experience, and leadership ability are valuable additions to our developing team. His ability to stretch the floor and play sound team defense are also ways in which we envision Channing helping our team moving forward.”

Frye (6’11”, 255, 5/17/83) played and started in all 82 games last season with Phoenix, averaging 11.1 ppg., 5.1 rpg. and 1.2 apg. in 28.2 mpg., while shooting .370 (160-432) from three-point range. He became the ninth player in Suns history to start all 82 games in a regular season. Frye led (or tied) the team in scoring five times and in rebounding six times. He scored in double figures 57 times and had 20+ points 11 times, including a season-high 30 points on Jan. 19 vs. Denver.

Originally selected by New York in the first round (eighth overall) of the 2005 NBA Draft, Frye has appeared in 582 career NBA regular season games (340 starts) during his eight-year career with New York, Portland and Phoenix, averaging 9.9 ppg., 5.2 rpg. and 1.0 apg. in 24.5 mpg., while shooting .385 (614-1,596) from three-point range. He also played in 20 career playoff games, averaging 7.2 ppg. and 4.7 rpg. in 23.5 mpg. Frye, who missed the entire 2012-13 campaign due to a dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart), was named to the 2005-06 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Jul 11

Grades: Orlando Magic 96, Detroit Pistons 87

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Photo by Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

 

Orlando Magic 96 Final
Recap | Box Score
87 Detroit Pistons

Victor Oladipo
7-17 FG | 7-10 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 22 PTS | +12

‘Dipo bullied his way to the rim and played great defense. Despite forcing a few contested jump shots early on, as the morning progressed, he seemed to allow the game to come to him a bit more. He also had a few shaky passes and one particularly uncharacteristic turnover, but that can be expected when you’re playing at 8 AM.

Elfrid Payton
5-9 FG | 7-8 FT | 4 REB | 8 AST | 18 PTS | +9

Payton was tremendous, showing off everything he has to offer as a player. He hounded opposing guards on defense, and displayed a solid array of offensive skills on the other end. Not only was he finding teammates and showing off fantastic court vision (like his alley-oop feed to Oladipo), but he was creating for himself, having yet another efficient game offensively.

Devyn Marble
7-12 FG | 2-4 FT | 1 STL | 5 REB | 16 PTS | +4

Marble continues to look increasingly comfortable on the floor, spotting up and knocking down his open looks. He did force some shots and occasionally failed to make passes to open teammates, but he rebounded well and was solid on the defensive end. There’s no question he’ll get invited to the Magic’s training camp — he has a good shot to make the roster.

Aaron Gordon
4-9 FG | 4-8 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | -3

Gordon continued to display the type of versatility that the Magic expect from him, bringing the ball up the floor in transition and being involved in a lot of pick-and-rolls, both as the screener and as the ballhandler. He had himself a quiet game, though, despite putting up decent numbers across the board. He was also was the only starter to post a negative plus/minus.

Detroit Pistons

It was a poor showing on the Pistons’ part, led by a sub-par shooting outing from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12 points on 4-for-13 shooting). To their credit, they didn’t hang their heads and went on a big run in the fourth quarter to bring their deficit back to as little as seven, after having been down 26 points early in the game.

Jul 11

Video: A Payton-to-Oladipo alley-oop sighting

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