Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 184

Oct 25

Orlando Magic to Televise 19 Games in Spanish

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

For the first time in team history, the Orlando Magic will broadcast 17 home games and two road games in Spanish. The home games will be produced by Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida, while the road contests will be produced by the local Fox Sports regional network.

The broadcasts will be seen in both Orlando and Tampa via Bright House Networks. News 13 En Espanol, Channel 613 and 130, will televise games in Orlando, while Bay News 9 En Espanol, Channel 900 and 154, will broadcast games in Tampa. The first of 19 games televised in Spanish will be Friday, November 5 vs. New Jersey.

The home games will be called by familiar voices as Joey Colon, entering his 13th season with the Magic’s Spanish radio broadcasts, will continue with his play-by-play duties for television. Colon’s partner, Ramon Rivas will serve as the color analyst in his sixth year with the broadcast team.

The Magic also continue with their Spanish radio broadcasts announcing their partnership in mid-October with Radio Luz 1270 AM (WRLZ) as the new flagship station for all radio broadcasts. Every preseason, regular season and postseason Magic game will be broadcast on the WRLZ network. VIVA 1160 AM will also return for its second season as part of the Magic Spanish Radio Network.

In an effort to further connect to the growing Hispanic fan base in Central Florida, the Orlando Magic launched ElOrlandoMagic.com in early October. The new and improved Spanish website serves as the official source for the Hispanic community. The site features original content and coverage of the Magic including in-depth game coverage, breaking news, features, video clips, photo galleries, podcasts, press releases and team information in Spanish.

Click here for the 2010-2011 schedule.

Oct 25

Magic Basketball Featured at Hardwood Paroxysm

Photo by Terry and Rachel Dodson

Last week, Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm approached me to see if I was interested in writing a prologue of the Orlando Magic’s season for his site.

Needless to say, the decision was a no-brainer.

Here’s a snippet of what I wrote:

It’s championship or bust for the Orlando Magic. Like last year. But this year feels a little different. Yes, the Miami Heat are the proverbial elephant in the room and with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh forming like Voltron, they will be the standard bearer in the Eastern Conference much to head coach Stan Van Gundy’s chagrin. Yes, the Boston Celtics remain the litmus test for the Magic, in the sense that the C’s will continue to be a difficult matchup with their personnel. The Celtics seemingly endless supply of big men, which begins with Kendrick Perkins (when healthy), Jermaine O’Neal, and ends with Shaquille O’Neal, will push the limits with Howard when the two conference rivals face off against each other.

Kanye West once said, “no one man should have all that power.”

However, there’s one player for Orlando that has the power to change everything that happens in the East and that’s Dwight Howard.

Make sure to check out the rest of my Magic preview.

Also, keep an eye out for the remainder of HP’s “incomplete” 2010-2011 NBA previews.

Oct 25

A New and Important Update on Fran Vazquez

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Via Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel:

The [Orlando] Magic say [Fran] Vazquez — who stood them up after they drafted him in the first round in 2005 — is coming around to joining them for the 2011-12 season.

He has another year left on his contract with FC Barcelona.

“It’s more open now than it has been in the past with Fran,” Magic assistant general manager Dave Twardzik told the Sentinel.

After the Magic surprisingly picked Vazquez No. 11 — ahead of Indiana’s Danny Granger — he burned and embarrassed the club with his no-show.

He put his name in the draft, but quickly became intimidated by the moment — even after arriving in Orlando, post-draft, for media interviews.

Barely able to speak the language and fearful of the culture shock as a small-town kid, Vazquez decided to stay in his native land. His father had died and his girlfriend — now his wife — wanted no part of the NBA.

Twardzik said barriers have now been knocked down, to some degree, because Vazquez has matured and learned a bit more English.

“All that has changed in many ways,” Twardzik said.

A 6-foot-11, 230-pound power forward/center, Vazquez, 27, had a nice upside when the Magic selected him. He struggled mightily at times after signing a four-year deal with Akasuayu Girona.

His stock is apparently up again with Barcelona, according to overseas reports, especially as a defender and shot-blocker.

This is encouraging news.

Of course, there are Magic fans that could care less about Fran Vazquez but why have that attitude when he is someone that could help the team? Sure, the Orlando Magic have a bit of a logjam at the forward and center positions but at the very least, Vazquez is another asset for general manager Otis Smith. And if there’s something that Smith likes, it’s assets.

For those that are unaware of Vazquez’ skill-set, he’s like Marcin Gortat in a lot of ways. Gortat is a bigger body, of course, but both are big men that thrive on pick and rolls offensively as well as do an excellent job of defending (particularly in the shot blocking department) and rebounding the basketball. If there’s some downsides, it’s that Vazquez — at the age of 27 — is older than Gortat and offers a redundant skill-set. That being said, especially in this era of the NBA, a team can never be lacking for skilled big men and that’s a luxury the Magic already have. It could be an even greater luxury if Daniel Orton develops in the next few years.

Theoretically speaking, if Vazquez does come overseas next season and proves to be a capable player, Smith could make the economical decision of trading Gortat for a position of greater need or as part of a package to acquire a star. The catch is that Orlando would likely have to negotiate a new deal with Vazquez because he probably wouldn’t accept being paid on the league’s rookie scale. The good news, however, is that Vazquez’s contract would presumably be cheaper than Gortat’s. Maybe all this talk is for naught and Vazquez doesn’t play with the Magic in 2012, but it should be seen as a good sign that this discussion is taking place.

For years, the possibility of Vazquez playing in the NBA wasn’t even talked about.

Now it is.

And that’s a step forward.

Oct 25

Mini-Playbook: The “Horns” Set

Photo by Fernando Medina

Tweaks and adjustments.

For the Orlando Magic, tweaks and adjustments have been made not only with the roster but also with strategy. This season, head coach Stan Van Gundy has made a commitment to make the Magic’s offense less predictable, and the results — even if it was pre-season — have been good.

There’s a lot of new wrinkles offensively for Orlando, but one of them has been the insertion of the “Horns” set. In short, two big men stand at both elbows on the court and set screens for the wing player with the basketball. The play design has lots of potential for success because of the diversity of options. Examples will be provided in a second.

The main attraction of the “Horns” set, however, is that it solves some of the spacing problems the Magic have when Rashard Lewis is at small forward and Brandon Bass is at power forward.

Because Bass is not a stretch four in the mold of Lewis or Ryan Anderson, it’s been difficult for Orlando’s offense to operate seamlessly as it usually does because he doesn’t have three-point range. As such, there were times last year when the Magic would get bogged down offensively because no plays were designed to take into account Bass’ skill-set, which centers around an efficient mid-range game.

That problem has been solved, somewhat.

Let’s take a look.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 22

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “This was an NBA walk-through that actually was a walk-through. The Orlando Magic did not do any running during their shootaround this morning at the St. Pete Times Forum because the court was too slippery. [...] The Magic are scheduled to face the Miami Heat here at 7:30 p.m. [Stan] Van Gundy said he would have kept his team at its hotel this morning and held a walk-through in a ballroom if he had known the court was so slippery. St. Pete Times Forum spokesman Bill Wickett said the court’s slickness was not caused by condensation from the ice underneath the wood. Instead, he said the basketball court had been stored for a long time and was cleaned after last night’s Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game. The spokesman said the court had not dried before the Magic arrived at the arena.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Regardless of what’s motivating [Vince] Carter, one thing is clear: it’s working. To great effect. Yet Carter’s attitude adjustment isn’t the only factor that appears to have contributed to is success. Indeed, the Magic are deploying him differently than they did last season, using him less as a facilitator and more as a jump-shooter. More specifically, data from Synergy Sports Technology show that Carter’s pick-and-roll involvement has dropped from 48.7 percent of his overall plays in 2009/10 to 34.4 percent this preseason. As a result of playing off the ball, he’s able to take more in-rhythm shots off the catch (33.9 percent), and fewer contested ones off the bounce (21 percent). On the downside, his assist numbers have taken a dive, which his incredible efficiency mitigates.”
  • Dwight Howard and Marvel Comics team up for a rare collaboration.
  • Ball Don’t Lie previews the Orlando Magic. A must-read: “The only thing stopping Orlando is smart play down crucial stretches of playoff games, and this means the first quarter as much as it does the fourth. Because the fourth quarter is rarely crucial when you lose the first. Jameer Nelson needs to lead his team offensively, Rashard Lewis needs to get back to where he was during the 2009 playoffs, and coach Stan Van Gundy will have to get the most out of what is easily the deepest team in the NBA. Championship, or bust. No other way to put it.”
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward looks at the good and bad of the pre-season for the Magic. There’s not a lot of the latter: “Everything. The Magic are undefeated and outscoring opponents by a ludicrous 25 points per game.”
  • Rashard Lewis is one of the worst shot blockers in the NBA.
  • An opposing scout provides his take on Orlando for Sports Illustrated: “I don’t see Orlando being on the same level as Boston or Miami in the East, and a lot of it has to do with having Vince Carter as their go-to scorer. He can do it on certain nights, but I don’t think they can depend on him consistently in the playoffs. When he is doing most of the scoring and shooting, it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the team and what they’re all about. Defensively, Carter doesn’t help them either. The problem is they brought in Carter to replace Hedo Turkoglu, who played a big role for them going to the Finals two seasons ago. They ran many sets with Turkoglu handling the ball in pick-and-roll situations as if he was a point guard. He could post up, he could play both forward positions, he could handle the ball and he was so versatile — not a great shooter but he made big shots and plays — and most of all he was a matchup problem for everybody. Carter doesn’t create those mismatches, and their other players don’t flourish around him the way they did around Turkoglu a couple of years ago.”
  • Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated: “They appear to be third in line behind Miami and Boston, but Orlando will demand the respect of opponents by winning close to 60 games. No one thought much of the Magic two years ago either, and then they went to the Finals. They’ve kept their team intact, which gives them an advantage in teamwork over the Heat, and they’ve shown no interest whatsoever in ceding anything to Miami. The two Florida contenders will be on their way to developing the East’s best rivalry if they succeed in beating each other when they meet twice in the opening month.”
  • Howard empathizes with LeBron James and the hateful tweets he’s received.
  • ESPN previews the Magic, as well, and a lot of their criticisms are off-based (more on this later). Take it away, Chris Broussard: “Dwight Howard will be better and make a serious case for MVP, but the Magic as a whole are declining. They’ll still win lots of games, but with Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis just another year older, they’re heading in the wrong direction. Bottom line: they should’ve paid Hedo!”
  • And lastly, NBA FanHouse previews the men in blue. Tom Ziller and Bethlehem Shoals provide a sound and accurate depiction of the forgotten contender in the Eastern Conference: “I’m fully convinced that having Patrick Ewing, the king of great but somehow disappointing centers, as an assistant coach has dragged Dwight Howard’s name unnecessarily through the mud. Like death and taxes, you can always count on a louse or two pointing out Howard’s flaws without acknowledging his amazing feats. Feats like winning three straight rebounding titles before turning 25. Like leading the league in blocks and rebounds two straight years. Like missing a whopping three games in six seasons. Howard doesn’t have Hakeem’s smooth or Duncan’s craft; he’s just a heap of muscles and a giant set of hands. So, like Ewing and even David Robinson, he’s discounted as a player not committed to getting better, to not being the man. Bull pucky. This is the best big man in the game today, an heir to Hakeem and Duncan in terms of impact on a game, any game. How quickly we forget that Howard’s team has beaten LeBron and the Celtics already.”
  • Seriously. Read and re-read the previews of Orlando by Ball Don’t Lie and NBA FanHouse.

Oct 22

Preview: Orlando Magic at Miami Heat

Editor’s note: Game has been canceled due to poor playing conditions.

7:30 EDT | ESPN
59-23 @ 47-35
Pythagorean Record: 61-21 Pythagorean Record: 48-34
Pace: 92.0 (18th) Pace: 89.6 (28th)
Offensive Rating: 111.4 (4th) Offensive Rating: 106.6 (19th)
Defensive Rating: 103.3 (3rd) Defensive Rating: 104.1 (6th)
St. Pete Times Forum | 2010-2011 NBA Preseason

Oct 22

Magic Basketball Featured at the Basketball-Reference Blog

Photo by Fernando Medina

This year, I was asked by Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference to provide a very quick preview of the Orlando Magic for the BBR Blog. It should be unveiled in the next few days or so.

Here’s a snippet of what I wrote:

Coming off a disappointing series against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Orlando Magic are on a mission to right the wrongs from last season. Dwight Howard put it upon himself to work out with Hakeem Olajuwon during the summer in Houston for a week in hopes of improving his low-post game, and the early returns have been positive. Vince Carter worked out furiously in the off-season to become stronger and more conditioned for the long road ahead and as a result, shaved off almost four percent off his body fat. As such, Carter is looking spry and has an extra pep to his step.

Make sure to check out the other previews.

There’s a lot of excellent insight from the NBA blogosphere. Take a look.

Oct 21

Vince Carter’s Jumpshot In Its Purest Form

Oct 21

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “You don’t have to watch hours of game tape or pore over pages of statistics to produce a scouting report on Jameer Nelson. The book on the diminutive Orlando Magic co-captain is simple: He’s a scoring point guard who looks for his own shot as often as he looks to pass. Wednesday night didn’t change that perception, but it showed that Nelson can help the Magic even when his own shot doesn’t fall. Nelson bedeviled the Dallas Mavericks by dishing out 10 assists in the 101-76 exhibition victory. [...] Nelson, who made just one of his eight shot attempts, impacted the game immediately. Six of his assists came in the game’s first six minutes. He fed Quentin Richardson for a 3-pointer for Orlando’s first basket. Twice, his passes set Dwight Howard up for easy dunks. His ability to drive — and force defenses to account for his shot — helped lead to a pair of treys from Vince Carter and a midrange jumper from Rashard Lewis.”
  • More from Robbins: “The Magic waived Robinson after their 101-76 win Wednesday night over the Dallas Mavericks. The team already has an abundance of wing players, and with Quentin Richardson, Mickael Pietrus, Vince Carter and J.J. Redick in the fold, the team didn’t need to keep the small forward out of UConn. With the team well into luxury tax territory, finances might have played a role in the decision. Robinson signed a non-guaranteed contract worth $473,604, but the dollar-for-dollar tax meant the team would have had to pay another $473,604 if Robinson had stuck with the team and his contract became guaranteed.”
  • Vince Carter needs to continue to be aggressive.
  • Head coach Rick Carlisle is impressed with the Orlando Magic.
  • Right now, the Magic are hitting on all cylinders.
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “We may not have seen the last of Robinson in a Magic uniform, however, though this much is purely speculation on my part. A new NBA D-League rule stipulates that the last three players cut from NBA training-camp rosters prior to the D-League Draft on November 1st will be allocated to that NBA team’s D-League affiliate. This rule means that Robinson’s D-League rights will belong to the New Mexico Thunderbirds, the Magic’s affiliate.”
  • According to Scott Carefoot of The Basketball Jones, Orlando is the best team in the NBA that no one is talking about: “Orlando started out slow this preseason with single-digit wins over Houston and Indiana, but then they kicked into high gear with a 54-point win over the Hornets, a 13-point win over the Bobcats, a 38-point win over the Bulls, a 29-point win over the Hawks, and last night’s 25-point win over the Mavericks. Those are monster wins over quality competition. This raises that question: What the hell is going on down in Orlando? Defense is happening, my friends. The Magic are shooting 49.8 percent from the field after seven preseason games while they’ve held their opponents to 35 percent shooting. Thirty-five percent! That’s like playing against an entire team of Rafer Alstons every game! It’s common knowledge that two-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard is the backbone of the team that finished third in Defensive Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) last season and first in that category the season before. But this season, it looks like the entire team has bought in to the importance of playing hard on D. Yes, even Vince Carter.?
  • Want to hear Dwight Howard sing?
  • Check out USA Today’s excellent infographic about the Amway Center.
  • Mike Prada of SB Nation: “The watchability issue with Howard is that you always find yourself wishing his post moves were more defined. It’s unfair to say he has no post moves, because it’s much harder to be a post player in 2010 than 1995, but good teams certainly figured out how to limit his impact. Since we all love great post players, it’s frustrating. If his offseason work with Hakeem Olajuwon pays off in any way, it eliminates the most frustrating thing about watching the Magic.”
  • The Magic are not in the business to trade anyone on the roster right now.
  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “Orlando has been incredibly dominant in the preseason, winning its seven games by an average of 25 points. Using a standard statistical formula for expected wins, Orlando’s preseason point differential translates to 81-1 record over an 82-game season. So which game will they lose? OK. So the Magic probably won’t break the ’95-96 Bulls’ record of 72 wins. But Orlando’s dominant preseason is a reminder that they were statistically the best team last season, outscoring their opponents by 9.3 points per 100 possessions (Cleveland ranked second at +7.3). The playoffs were — and are — a different story, but this team is primed to be a regular-season juggernaut again.”
  • Rashard Lewis thinks that Howard has a good chance to win the MVP award this season.
  • Zach Lowe of The Point Forward: “The easy choice for the deepest team, and the Magic should be deep — their payroll is hovering around $95 million, right there with the Lakers for the league’s highest salary. The Magic have 11 legit rotation players, and one of Stan Van Gundy‘s biggest challenges will be sorting out minutes between a quality of group of forwards while deciding how often he wants to play Rashard Lewis at small forward. With Brandon Bass giving Orlando quality preseason minutes, it looks as if all 11 guys have bought into the system.”
  • Many NBA scouts think it’ll be the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.
  • Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated says Orlando is nothing “more than a fabulous regular-season team.” Okay, so we’re going to base that comment off ONE playoff series last season against a team that matched up extremely well with the Magic?
  • Should the Magic trade for Gilbert Arenas? Ric Bucher of ESPN Insider thinks so: “I don’t know if Arenas can be the difference-maker. But I do know the Magic need to make a move and take their best shot at a title right now. If Arenas shows he’s the ol’ Gil in a couple of months, then the market opens up more and maybe they don’t get him, because the Wizards assuredly would prefer to move him out West. And then the Magic are toast as far as title hopes this year. Let’s face it, Vince for Hedo (and Courtney Lee) turned out to be a bad deal. They needed Carter to be Vinsane and he just played like one of the guys.”
  • Please read the Gilbert Arenas conundrum.

Oct 21

Dwight Howard Hosts Album Release Party for Launch of His Debut Album “Shoot for the Stars”

Photo by PacificCoastNews.com

Via the Orlando Magic:

WHO: Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard, Joey Fatone, Lil Shawn & Obie, Orlando Magic Dancers and STUFF the Magic’s Mascot.

WHAT: Dwight Howard will host an album release party celebrating the debut of his first album, Shoot For The Stars, which launches on October 26th from Razor & Tie / KIDZ BOP. Howard will be joined by Joey Fatone, Lil Shawn & Obie, Orlando Magic Dancers and STUFF the Magic’s Mascot to officially launch his album. The event will feature a question and answer segment with Howard and Fatone, an autograph session and samplings of the album’s music.

The full-length CD includes MVP worthy recordings of popular arena anthems and classic hits, plus the original song, “Shoot For The Stars,” which encourages his young fans to pursue their dreams. A portion of the CD’s proceed go to benefit BETA Center, the Orlando based organization whose mission is to provide kids and parents with the knowledge and support needed for strong and healthy families.

The event is by invitation only and is not open to the public.

WHEN: Saturday, October 23, 2010, 4 – 6 p.m.

Page 184 of 245« First...102030...182183184185186...190200210...Last »