Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 197

Sep 07

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “I assure you I have a perfectly legitimate reason for not listing this performance as the best of [Dwight] Howard‘s career. But before we get to that game, let’s first appreciate all Howard did on this particular night. Really. 45 and 19 is a heckuva line, even before considering the blocks. And he did it against Emeka Okafor, who rated 10th in the entire league in points-per-possession allowed that season, according to Synergy Sports Technology. And as the final score indicates, Orlando needed what he gave it that night. This game was close throughout, with Charlotte holding a six-point lead after the third quarter and neither team leading by more than nine points. In addition to scoring 11 of Orlando’s 27 fourth-quarter points, he gave the Magic something that didn’t show up in the stat-sheet: a bone-crushing screen on the Bobcats’ Gerald Wallace on the Magic’s final possession of regulation, which freed J.J. Redick to sink the game-tying three-pointer.”
  • Why is Mickael Pietrus a bad free-throw shooter? Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook investigates: “The reason is because jump shooters spend all game shooting jump shots, that when they go to the line to take set shots, everything gets thrown off.  After watching some clips of Mickael Pietrus shooting both threes and free throws, my theory was proved correct.”
  • How will the 2011 NBA All-Star Game look?
  • Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference takes a look at league continuity. It’s a fascinating read: “What’s the takeaway from this? Well, for one thing, the mid-to-late 1990s (and, to a lesser extent, the 2000s-2010s) were a great time for NBA job security and continuity among players. Both methods show that if you were an active player during that era, there was better than a 50-50 minute-weighted chance you’d be drawing an NBA playcheck 5 years later. As for the reasons why this was the case, anecdotally we saw stars enter the league earlier (often from high school) and enjoy more staying power thanks to modern medical practices that were absent from the league’s earlier periods. But perhaps the biggest factor was simply expansion: the NBA went from 23 teams in 1988 to 29 in 1996, providing nearly 100 new jobs to fill (and maintain) that didn’t exist in the past.”
  • Trey Kerby of Ball Don’t Lie: “NBA teams love getting new arenas. Not only do they look beautiful, they also bring in a whole lot of money. Whether it be from fans wanting to check out the new digs or increased ticket prices, new stadiums are a serious revenue stream. Not to mention, state-of-the-art basketball facilities really help in free agent recruiting. Basically, a new stadium is baller status. However, when a team builds a stadium, there are a whole lot of moving pieces that need to be checked out. Imagine the home inspection on a new house, then multiply that by exactly 92,048. Quite intense, especially the bathrooms. Cool segue, I know, but if you put 20,000 people in a concrete box there better be a bunch of functioning toilets, lest things get zoological. The Orlando Magic understand all of this, so they’re putting together a really fun day for local children at their new Amway Arena.”
  • Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse has more on the Orlando Magic’s “potty party promotion.”

Sep 07

Orlando Magic Name Adonal Foyle Director of Player Development

Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic have named Adonal Foyle as director of player development, President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith announced today. In his role, Foyle will provide support for the overall development of the players, act as a conduit between players and management, and give assistance to the basketball operations department.

Originally selected by Golden State in the first round (eighth overall) of the 1997 NBA Draft, Foyle (6’10”, 270, 3/9/75) appeared in 733 regular season games during his 13-year NBA career with Golden State, Orlando and Memphis, averaging 4.1 ppg., 4.7 rpg. and 1.63 blkpg. in 17.8 minpg. Foyle remains Golden State’s all-time franchise leader in blocked shots with 1,140. He spent the final three seasons of his professional career with the Magic before retiring in August 2010.

Born on March 9, 1975, Foyle grew up on the small island of Canouan (population 1,000 and 3.5 x 1.25 miles in size) and did not play organized basketball until the age of 16. During his time in the NBA, he was extremely active off the court. In the summer of 2001, Foyle founded “Democracy Matters,” a non-profit political organization that encourages grass-roots involvement in the campaign finance reform movement. Democracy Matters currently has more than 70 chapters on college, university and high school campuses in 23 different states. In 2006, he established the Kerosene Lamp Foundation, named after the type of light Foyle used to study at night on an island with no electricity, with the goal of empowering youth of the Eastern Caribbean and the United States to take control of their future. All of Foyle’s off-the-court activities can be found on his personal website – www.adonalfoyle.com.

Foyle has been inducted into both the Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame and the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America Hall of Fame. He also served as first vice president of the National Basketball Players Association.

Sep 07

Are the Orlando Magic Being Overlooked?

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Via Sekou Smith of the NBA’s Hang Time Blog:

Magic fans have been pounding the HT inbox this summer arguing that their team is being left out of the conversation of title contenders this season. And they’re probably right. Most of the insiders we’ve spoken with this summer don’t hold the Magic in the same regard they did this time a year ago, when they were the reigning Eastern Conference champions and still smarting from that ’09 Finals defeat to the Lakers.

They still have the nucleus of a team that won 59 games, finished second to Cleveland in the East and had the second best overall record in the entire league. Dwight Howard is a year older and better, as is Jameer Nelson, and there aren’t any chemistry concerns for Stan Van Gundy, who won’t have to refer to the periodic table the way Doc Rivers and Erik Spoelstra will in Boston and Miami, respectively.

An underdog tag could be exactly what the Magic need to motivate them this season. And of all the teams in the East that could play spoiler to a potential Heat-Celtics battle for the top spot, no one seems better equipped to do so than Orlando.

This is a topic that will surely be revisited in the future.

Sep 07

Revisiting the Topic of the Orlando Magic’s Biggest Rival

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Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Nearly a week ago, Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post ventured into the topic of rivals for the Orlando Magic. It’s a fascinating subject that has gained steam since the Miami Heat acquired LeBron James and Chris Bosh in free agency, pairing them with Dwyane Wade to form like Voltron.

The Heat, of course, are a divisional and an in-state rival of the Magic.

The term “rival” comes up far too often in sports, I believe. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have a storied, decades-long rivalry, and play in the same division, for instance, but the Yankees are a cut above the Red Sox right now; the Tampa Bay Rays pose a more immediate threat to their chances of repeating as World Series champions than the Red Sox do. In a rivalry, what I look for is competitors at roughly the same level, preferably among the elite. I mean, the L.A. Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves might have bad blood stemming from the Timberwolves’ hilarious tanking effort to avoid having to deal a draft pick to the Clippers, but because neither of those teams matters much in the NBA landscape, you’ll have a hard time convincing me I should care.

In this particular write-up at OPP, three teams were considered as Orlando’s biggest rival — Miami, as well as the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. These are squads that have a recent history with Orlando, in some way, shape, or form.

A poll was conducted and — at the time — out of 680 votes, 52 percent of the people voted the Celtics as the lead villain in the Magic’s story. It make sense, given that Orlando and Boston have gone toe-to-toe in the past several years.

The Magic and Celtics are linked pretty tightly since both franchises made major moves in 2007. In Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, Boston infamously added two Hall-of-Famers, while the Magic brought head coach Stan Van Gundy and Rashard Lewis. Though they didn’t meet in the postseason that year–the Celtics dispatched the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals, one round after the Pistons sent the Magic home–they’ve had some memorable battles in the ensuing seasons. [...] As far as competitiveness is concerned, it’s hard to get much closer than the Magic and the Celtics have been since 2007. In the 24 meetings (counting the postseason) between the teams in that span, the Celtics have scored 2206 points to the Magic’s 2197. A one-possession margin decided six of those 24 games. When the two teams play, you really ought to tune in.

My vote would be for the Heat, more so because the stakes have never been higher between two teams from the state of Florida that will be vying for a championship in the same division, let alone the same conference. To me, the storyline is more compelling with Miami. There’s no question that the Celtics are a rival for the Magic, but it’s the Heat.

It’s personal on a number of levels.

Sep 03

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Let us not get it twisted: Miami’s goal this summer was to play catch-up with the [Orlando] Magic, Boston Celtics, L.A. Lakers, and the rest of the league’s elite. Orlando’s core players were already in place. In Dwyane Wade, Miami had but one. That’s a huge distinction. Remember, the Magic made over their roster in 2007 with the addition of Rashard Lewis, using the salary-cap space that freed up once Grant Hill’s contract expired. They further adjusted it last summer by trading for Vince Carter. Given their salary structure, and the constraints the NBA salary cap imposes, there’s no way they could have reasonably expected to land a premiere free agent this summer. Instead, they split the mid-level exception on [Chris] Duhon and [Quentin] Richardson, drafted Daniel Orton, re-signed Jason Williams, and called it a summer. In more abstract terms, they added two rotation players, drafted a project, and retained a third-stringer. Minor tweaks to an already elite roster.”
  • Want to learn more about pace? Click here.
  • Apparently, Chris Duhon is set to earn $1.5 million more than he should.
  • Tom Haberstroh of Hardwood Paroxysm quantifies shot selection by position: “We want to outgrow the conventions of traditional positions but let’s see if we can observe divisions in the first place.  Hoopdata breaks down shot types into 5 buckets: at the rim (layups and dunks), <10 feet, 10-15 feet, 16-23 feet, and 3-point shots.  Here’s how the five positions look, in terms of percentage of shots in each location.  So what does a point guard’s shot makeup look like compared to a shooting guard? Where do we see the biggest disparities between positions?”
  • More Rashard Lewis highlights.

Sep 03

One of Rashard Lewis’ Best Game in an Orlando Magic Uniform

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Lewis was a monster in Game 2 of the 2009 NBA Finals — 34 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists.

Sep 03

Fact or Fiction: Rashard Lewis Should Start at Small Forward

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Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Fact or Fiction presents both sides of key issues the Orlando Magic will face in the upcoming season.

Statement
The Orlando Magic need to shift Rashard Lewis to the small forward position and run a “more traditional” scheme if they want to be able to advance to the NBA Finals and win.

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Fact
Want to spark a debate?

Mention the name ‘Rashard Lewis’ to Magic fans and it’s like pouring gasoline on a fire. Aside from Brandon Bass, there’s not another player for the Orlando Magic — maybe Dwight Howard — that brings so much intense discussion to the table than Lewis.

It’s true that Lewis struggled a bit offensively against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The Magic were unable to advance to the NBA Finals for a second consecutive year, partly because Lewis was neutralized by Kevin Garnett — one of the best defenders in league history. And the fact of the matter is that Orlando has yet to win a championship with Lewis at the power forward position. It’s been three seasons, and the Magic have ultimately come up empty-handed in the playoffs. This isn’t to say that it’s impossible for Orlando to win the “gold ball” with Lewis at power forward. It just hasn’t happened.

Those are some of the facts.

If Orlando was able to acquire a premiere power forward then yes, moving Lewis to small forward wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Maybe, then, change can come.

It wouldn’t mean that everyone in the debate would be satisfied, though.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 02

Drano “Royal Flush” Set For September 8

Via the Orlando Magic:

The new Amway Center in downtown Orlando meets another milestone as the traditional “Royal Flush” will be held September 8, 2010 beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the construction site (corner of Church Street and Hughey). Drano is sponsoring the event.

The purpose of the Drano “Royal Flush” event is to observe sanitary sewer flows, water consumption and pressure in and around the arena. Approximately 443 toilets will be flushed simultaneously; there are 18 men’s and 19 women’s restrooms in the new Amway Center, compared to just four of each in the old facility.

Orlando Magic President Alex Martins, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and more than 150 people will take part in the event, including fourth and fifth grade students from Nap Ford Community School.

The Orlando Magic is the developer of the Amway Center which will compete to host major national events, concerts and family shows and serve as the new home of the Orlando Magic. Opening in the fall of 2010, the facility will be owned and operated by the City of Orlando on behalf of the Central Florida community.

The Amway Center was designed to reflect the character of the community, meet the goals of the users and build on the legacy of sports and entertainment in Orlando.

The building’s exterior features a modern blend of glass and metal materials, along with ever-changing graphics via a monumental wall along one façade. A 180-foot tall tower will serve as a beacon amid the downtown skyline.

At 875,000 square feet, the new arena is almost triple the size of the current Amway Arena (367,000 square feet). The building features a sustainable, environmentally-friendly design, unmatched technology, featuring 1,100 digital monitors and the largest, high-definition scoreboard in an NBA venue, and multiple premium amenities available to all patrons in the building. Every level of ticket buyer will have access to: the Budweiser Bar and Food Court, Club Restaurant, Nutrilite Magic Fan Experience and Orlando on Demand, Kid’s Zone and multiple indoor-outdoor spaces which celebrate Florida’s climate.

Sep 02

The Future Appears Bright for Chris Duhon

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Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

Via Marc Normandin of Basketball Prospectus:

Chris Duhon was a replacement-level player last season with the New York Knicks, but there is reason to believe he can improve on that. He will be the backup point guard behind Jameer Nelson in Orlando, and is projected to see improvements to both his Offensive Rating (from 106.3 to 107.2) and his Defensive Rating (down to 106.8 from 107.2). Duhon is projected for 3.3 WARP—using Tom Haberstroh’s reference point of $2M per win in this offseason’s market, Duhon is making about half as much money as he could be worth this season. [...]

SCHOENE sees increased usage in Orlando and shooting that more closely resembles Duhon’s 2008-09 than his previous campaign—it’s easy to see why he will improve. The roster around him is significantly different than what he was playing with in New York thanks to Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, and Vince Carter, three scorers whom Duhon can feed. There will be less pressure on Duhon from the opposing team’s defense because of the presence of this trio, and having someone who can stretch the defense like J.J. Redick on the second unit also bodes well for his game. Context is important when projecting performance, and moving from a team that didn’t win 30 games to one that reached the conference finals is a significant contextual leap.

That’s good news for Chris Duhon.

Last season, Jason Williams pumped out a WARP of 2.1 so if Duhon can come close or exceed that number, it bodes well for the Orlando Magic. Granted, Williams was good value because he was (and still is) signed to the veteran’s minimum but the point remains.

Relative to his contract, the Magic may have found another bargain in Duhon.

Sep 02

Grading the Orlando Magic’s D-League Usage

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

I’m a little late on this one.

Recently, I was asked by Matt Hubert of D-League Digest — as well as other writers in the TrueHoop Network — to grade the usage of the D-League for the team I cover as part of the collective. In my particular case, I chimed in on the Orlando Magic.

Here what I wrote:

Orlando Magic: F

The reasoning is simple — the Orlando Magic have little use for the D-League, given that they are one of the elite teams in the NBA. Some might say that the cupboard of talent for the Magic is overflowing, since head coach Stan Van Gundy could go 12-deep with the roster if he wanted to. Right now, rookie Daniel Orton is the 13th man for Orlando and there’s no guarantee that his peer, Stanley Robinson, will make the team after training camp is completed. Essentially, there’s no room for call-ups and things of that ilk. These aren’t your Golden State Warriors.

The Magic have been affiliated with three D-League teams in the past couple of years and have made a whopping total of zero moves during that timeframe. The last D-League transaction took place in December 2007, when Marcin Gortat was called up from the Anaheim Arsenal. That’s it. For general manager Otis Smith, he sees little use in the D-League because he feels that players like Orton and Robinson benefit more from a higher level of competition in practices, while learning various schemes directly from Van Gundy. All in all, it’s an organizational philosophy.

It’s harsh but honest criticism.

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