Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 20

Feb 12

Preview: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic
  • Date: February 12, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Grizzlies: 28-23
  • Magic: 16-37

Probable starters

Grizzlies:

  • Nick Calathes
  • Courtney Lee
  • Tayshaun Prince
  • Zach Randolph
  • Marc Gasol

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Grizzlies:

  • Pace: 89.6 (30th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 105.0 (20th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.8 (11th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.0 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.0 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.7 (17th of 30)

Read about the Grizzlies

3 Shades of Blue

Feb 11

Tuesday’s Mini-Magic Word

  • Will Arron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson, or Glen Davis — the three veterans on the roster for the Orlando Magic — be traded at the deadline on February 20?
  • Tyler Lashbrook of Orlando Pinstriped provides three takeaways from the Magic’s wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers.
  • Zach Lowe of Grantland is a big fan of Kyle O’Quinn’s beard: “It’s not ‘Look at me!’ weird like Harden’s beard-slash–marketing device, but O’Quinn may have the league’s best facial hair. His beard is somehow thick, bushy, and well groomed at the same time, and like Mike Woodson’s magical goatee, it emanates a confident masculinity. It’s just a great beard.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com details how Orlando’s second unit — the “Young Guns” — have thrived as of late.
  • Victor Oladipo is now the favorite to win Rookie of the Year according to Matt Moore of CBSSports.com. What’s changed? “Oladipo takes over Michael Carter-Wiliams on account of the Sixers’ recent struggles, MCW’s health issues, and the quality wins for Orlando (wins over Indiana and OKC that Oladipo was pivotal in). He carries the preseason cache, is the best defender of the group, and has the most responsibility.”

Feb 11

3-on-3: Evaluating the Magic’s future

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 12.16.32 PM

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic made headlines after coming back from 17-point deficits to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers in back-to-back games — teams with the two best records in the NBA. Is Orlando starting to figure things out? Our 3-on-3 team weighs in on this and more topics related to the Magic’s future.

1. What is the best way for the Magic to build a contender?

Jacob Frankel: I’m really not sure there is a best way. The Magic have committed to finding talent through the draft, but that doesn’t foreclose the option of trading that talent and picks for a proven star or using upcoming cap space to sign good players.

Spencer Lund: Without spilling over into tank mode. No fans should have to sit through awful basketball, but the law of averages necessitates some awful teams, regardless. With the current CBA, the draft and the max rookie salaries combine to form the best way to improve without becoming cap-strung and hitting a dead-end.

Andrew Lynch: On a macro-level, making good decisions and being adaptable. Planning one route is a recipe for failure. That said, champions are generally reliant on superstars, and the best way to get a superstar is the draft. Yet it’s far from a sure thing. A well-timed tank can do wonders, but perpetual losing creates an environment that sets a team back for years.

2. Can the current roster eventually become a contender?

Frankel: Absolutely. The Magic have tons of tradable young pieces, Victor Oladipo, Arron Afflalo, and a high pick in the upcoming draft. If the young guys can continue to develop, the Magic hit on their upcoming picks, and solid veterans can be signed, this could be a title contending team in a few years.

Lund: No. Not even close, but there are pieces that should stick around. Even though it’s not definitive, Vucci Mane could be a starting center on a title team. I’d like to think Tobias Harris can clean up his defense enough to start on a title contender, but that’ll take time. Same with ‘Dipo.

Lynch: To me, this question boils down to whether the young core can grow into a championship contender. I like Vucevic, Oladipo, and Harris, as well as the other “Young Guns” and I’m excited for their development. But nothing about that group screams “title.” Orlando might see their future as as Pacers-esque, with a young core that can become elite together, but their likelier path is akin to Houston, stockpiling assets to trade for a bigger name.

3. Can Arron Afflalo be part of a core that competes for a title?

Frankel: Yes, but I also think his greatest value is as a trade asset. He could work as the centerpiece of a deal along with, say, some young assets like Maurice Harkless and Kyle O’Quinn, to bring in a star — similar to what the Rockets did with Kevin Martin to get James Harden.

Lund: Afflalo is 28, and he was on the cusp of the All-Star team this year. Many felt he deserved a nod, and he’s playing some great offensive basketball in what we would consider the beginning of his prime. So yes, he can be part of a core to compete for a title down the road, but he’ll return the most if dangled in a trade before February 20.

Lynch: Afflalo can be a substantial part of a team vying for a title, but that’s different than being part of a core. At this point, Afflalo’s more of an auxiliary piece — important in everything that he provides, but not essential to the success of the squad.

Feb 10

Monday’s Magic Word

  • As the trade deadline nears, Arron Afflalo’s name keeps popping up as a player the Orlando Magic could possibly trade but only if “they get a significant talent in return.”
  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “All of a sudden, the Magic have won three straight games and are one of four teams (Denver, Portland and Toronto are the others) to have beat both the Pacers and Thunder. Let’s not hand Michael Carter-Williams the Rookie of the Year trophy just yet. Victor Oladipo has averaged 19.0 points on 60 percent shooting over the three games and made the big play setting up Tobias Harris’ game-winner.”
  • Outside of Victor Oladipo, the Magic are willing to talk trade with NBA teams according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
  • With impressive showings against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers, the two best teams their respective conferences, Oladipo is mounting a midseason push for Rookie of the Year.
  • Oladipo scored 13 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter to help Orlando beat the Pacers on Sunday.
  • The Magic’s mascot, Stuff, proposed to supermodel Kate Upton during the Thunder game on Friday. She didn’t say no.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk on Oladipo’s impact in Orlando: “His relentless aggressive, hard play is a good piece of the future for this franchise.”
  • With back-to-back wins against Oklahoma City and Indiana, are the rebuilding Magic beginning to make progress?
  • Chad Ford of ESPN Insider: “Not sure how to explain a three-game win streak that included wins over the Thunder and Pacers this weekend. The best I can offer is that with All-Star Weekend coming up, the Magic are catching a few older teams in cruise control. Victor Oladipo is playing great basketball lately, averaging 19 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in the three wins.”
  • Orlando made the biggest jump out of any NBA team in Marc Stein’s Power Rankings.
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com on Maurice Harkless’ recent strong play off the bench: “Harkless’s growth is the ultimate testament to the Magic’s process bettering their players for the greater good of the team. Harkless said he’s having the most fun he’s had in two NBA seasons, and it’s because the Magic are closer as a team than they ever have been before.”
  • The Magic aren’t tanking correctly.
  • Paul George posterized Glen Davis, but Orlando got the last laugh by beating the Pacers in a thrilling game.
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Magic’s victories over the Thunder and the Pacers marked the first time in 47 years that an NBA team at least 20 games under .500 won back-to-back games over the teams with the NBA’s two best records.”

Feb 10

Magic to honor Penny Hardaway on February 21

penny

Photo by Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

In continuation of the Orlando Magic’s 25th anniversary season-long celebration the team will honor former Magic great and four-time NBA All-Star, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, at the Magic’s February 21 matchup vs. the New York Knicks, tip-off set for 7 p.m. The night will feature a center court presentation at the end of the first quarter. Hardaway will join FOX Sports Florida’s broadcasts including Magic Live pregame show with hosts Paul Kennedy and Nick Anderson and join broadcasters David Steele and Jeff Turner for a portion of the game broadcast. He will also be featured on Magic Drive Time radio show with host Dante Marchitelli pregame at 5:30 p.m. on 740 The Game and at halftime on ESPN 580 Orlando. In addition, the first 2,500 fans will receive a collectible 8×10 photo featuring Hardaway and E’Twaun Moore. Hardaway will be available to the media at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21 in the Amway Center interview room.

“Legends Nights” is an on-going program which will honor former players/legends throughout the Magic’s Silver Season. Past honorees include Tracy McGrady, Nick Anderson, Pat Williams, Jimmy Hewitt, Dennis Scott, Pat Garrity, Jeff Turner, Sam Vincent and John Gabriel. In addition to the Magic’s “Legends Nights,” the 2013-14 season will feature the Silver Ticket Sweepstakes and Scratch Off Promotion, special appearances, game entertainment and other events throughout the season.

Hardaway was selected by the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 1993 NBA Draft (third pick overall), but was traded along with three future first-round picks to the Magic for the rights to first overall pick Chris Webber. He played six seasons for Orlando from 1993-1999 averaging 19.0 ppg., 6.3 apg. 4.7 rpg. and 1.9 spg. in 37.2 mpg. The four-time NBA All-Star (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998) was twice selected to the All-NBA First Team (1995, 1996). Hardaway ranks on the Magic’s all-time franchise list in points (7,018, seventh), steals (718, third), assists (2,343, fourth), blocked shots (191, ninth), rebounds (1,752, ninth), field goals made (2,542, sixth) and minutes played (13,721, seventh).

Feb 09

Grades: Orlando Magic 93, Indiana Pacers 92

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AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Orlando Magic 93 Final
Recap | Box Score
92 Indiana Pacers

Arron Afflalo
3-10 FG | 1-3 3P | 3 REB | 1 AST | 7 PTS | -11

Nikola Vucevic
6-16 FG | 7-8 FT | 2 STL | 13 REB | 19 PTS | -5

Victor Oladipo
8-18 FG | 6-7 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 23 PTS | +3

Tobias Harris
5-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | +10

Indiana Pacers

Feb 09

Preview: Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: February 9, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Pacers: 39-10
  • Magic: 15-37

Probable starters

Pacers:

  • George Hill
  • Lance Stephenson
  • Paul George
  • David West
  • Roy Hibbert

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Pacers:

  • Pace: 93.4 (18th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 105.1 (19th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 93.4 (1st of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.0 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.1 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.8 (17th of 30)

Read about the Pacers

8 Points, 9 Seconds

Feb 08

Grades: Orlando Magic 103, Oklahoma City Thunder 102

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Orlando Magic 103 Final
Recap | Box Score
102 Oklahoma City Thunder

Arron Afflalo
3-11 FG | 9-10 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 16 PTS | -9

Nothing came easy for Afflalo on offense, given that he was being checked by Thabo Sefolosha — one of the better wing defenders in the NBA. Afflalo had to work for his points, but he got them nonetheless by getting to the free throw line (9-for-10). That being said, Sefolosha deserves credit for using his length to disrupt Afflalo all night long.

Nikola Vucevic
4-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | 0

Vucevic had a modest game. He managed to get a double-double, despite struggling to make jump shots, layups, and putbacks (basically everything). The latter of the two had more to do with Serge Ibaka’s interior defense than anything else. Ibaka didn’t block any of Vucevic’s shot, but he disrupted quite a few of them. That’s why Ibaka is an elite defender.

Tobias Harris
6-17 FG | 6-6 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 18 PTS | +1

Wow. What a magical comeback (pun intended). It was Harris’ game-winning dunk, on a fast break no less, that gave Orlando an improbable, upset win over the Thunder — the best team in the Western Conference. Was it a better moment than when Darrell Armstrong stole an inbounds pass and made a game-winning layup against the Philadelphia 76ers in 1999? Take your pick. There’s no wrong answer.

Victor Oladipo
5-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 14 PTS | +10

Although Harris was (rightfully) the hero of the game, Oladipo was the architect of Orlando’s come-from-behind victory. He corralled the rebound and triggered the fast break that led to Harris’ game-winning dunk. But even before that, Oladipo and the rest of the “Young Guns” helped erase OKC’s lead in the fourth quarter that led to the penultimate play. It was a fearless effort from the rookie.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Depending on how the Thunder’s season plays out in their quest for the No. 1 seed in the West, they may regret letting this one slip away. Despite excellent performances from Kevin Durant (29 points, 12 assists, five rebounds) and Serge Ibaka (26 points, six rebounds, five blocks), Oklahoma City blew a 17-point lead to a Magic squad they should have beaten.

Feb 07

Video: Magic beat Thunder on game-winning dunk

Feb 07

Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder at Orlando Magic
  • Date: February 7, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Thunder: 40-11
  • Magic: 14-37

Probable starters

Thunder:

  • Reggie Jackson
  • Thabo Sefolosha
  • Kevin Durant
  • Serge Ibaka
  • Kendrick Perkins

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Tobias Harris
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Thunder:

  • Pace: 95.1 (10th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 109.9 (5th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 101.9 (4th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 94.1 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.8 (26th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.7 (18th of 30)

Read about the Thunder

Daily Thunder

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