Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 203

Oct 13

Orlando Magic Host Open Practice and Select-a-Seat Event

AP Photo/John Raoux

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic will host an open practice and Select-a-Seat event this Sunday, October 17 from 11 a.m.-1:45 p.m.

From 11 a.m.-1 p.m., fans will be able to access the Amway Center to see available seats for the 2010-11 season.

Following the Select-a-Seat event, the Magic will have a 45-minute open practice for fans, featuring drills and a scrimmage, until approximately 1:45 p.m.

The event requires a ticket for admission, which can be claimed for free at the Amway Center box office or online at orlandomagic.com, elorlandomagic.com or ticketmaster.com (75-cent printing fee) while supplies last. Fans can visit amwaycenter.com for a parking map and prices.

Orlando Magic season tickets, partial plans, group and single-game Amway Center suite rental opportunities are on sale now. Ticket highlights in the new Amway Center include: 2,500 seats priced $15 or less and 7,000 seats priced $25 or less. A limited number of season tickets are available through the Orlando Magic box office by calling 407-89-MAGIC or visiting orlandomagic.com.

Oct 13

Video Highlights: Dwight Howard

There’s been a lot of chatter lately in response to a YouTube video showcasing Dwight Howard‘s workout with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston during the off-season.

It’s been a revelation, of sorts, because it shows the start of Howard undertaking a transformation that a lot of people have noticed since the Orlando Magic reconvened for training camp a few weeks ago in preparation for the regular season.

Howard’s demeanor has changed, and he’s taking a very business-like approach to everything he does. No longer is Howard acting goofy and cracking jokes. Instead, Howard is taking things seriously. Good news for Magic fans, to be sure.

Oh, and those jumpshots? Howard is making ‘em.

Oct 13

Video Analysis: The Best of Both Worlds for Rashard Lewis

Better late than never.

That phrase best describes head coach Stan Van Gundy‘s newfound commitment to playing Rashard Lewis at the small forward position this season, something he rarely did in his first three years roaming the sidelines for the Orlando Magic.

While it’s not necessarily a good idea to start Lewis at small forward, it definitely is a great idea to give him minutes at his “natural position” because the advantages he has are undeniable. There’s not many players in the NBA that can defend Lewis when he’s at the three.

Same could be said when Lewis is at power forward. See for yourself.

Oct 12

2010-2011 NBA Blog Previews: Northwest Division

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Enjoy.

Jazz: SLC DunkSalt City HoopsSBN Recap

Nuggets: Denver StiffsRoundball Mining CompanyThe Nugg DoctorSBN Recap

Thunder: Welcome to Loud CityPlanet BBallSBN Recap

Timberwolves: Canis HoopusTwolvesBlog

Blazers: Blazersedge.comSBN Recap

Recaps: All Previews

Oct 12

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “His grandmother bought him a Nerf ball game when he was a toddler. He slept with a basketball by his pillow as he got older. No wonder he has a nose for grabbing a rebound and a shooting eye to die for. And it’s no surprise that he tossed in a shot from half court after Monday’s practice — in his first try. Watching from afar, you’d swear that [Orlando] Magic forward Ryan Anderson was a natural. Far from it. You know how they say some athletes are “born” to play this or that? Anderson had a better chance of becoming a brainy guy who liked to kayak but, if pressed, could also decorate a living room. […] Anderson largely taught himself to shoot, alone in his front yard in Dorado Hills, Calif. Before basketball camps and coaches got a hold of him, he didn’t stop releasing the ball from the hip until a better eighth-grade player made fun of his shot. Obviously, Anderson didn’t forecast pro basketball in his future, given his background. […] But his friends all played and he somehow grew to 6-feet-10 (“My dad is 6-foot and my mom is 5-8. I’m the freak of the family,” he said). And he simply kept getting better at it. Still is.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “[J.J.] Redick made significant strides last season, and the Magic noticed. The team matched a front-loaded three-year, $19 million offer sheet from the Chicago Bulls to keep him. Redick has improved markedly as a defender, and he’s no longer a liability on that end of the floor. You probably wouldn’t want him defending an opponent’s best wing scorer for lengthy stretches — that’s more of Mickael Pietrus’ role — but Redick rarely gets caught out of position. No one on the roster hustles back on defense as well as he does. Redick is a superb outside shooter — he led the Magic in 3-point percentage last season — and he’s also an underrated passer. Redick’s midrange game also has progressed. According to HoopData.com, last season he made a career-best 58.8 percent of the shots he attempted between 10 and 15 feet of the basket. He remains an excellent free-throw shooter. Redick works hard to stay in shape; last year, he won the team’s “Iron Magic” award for his performance on a variety of strength, agility and conditioning tests.”
  • The Orlando Magic will host an open practice at the Amway Center on Sunday.
  • Jameer Nelson got the day off from Magic practice earlier today.
  • According to one writer, head coach Stan Van Gundy should never wear a tie.
  • Van Gundy on Ryan Anderson: “I don’t think people realize how good he is. Because he is a very good 3-point shooter people tend to look at him as a one dimensional guy, but that’s not even close to true,” Van Gundy said. “He can really put the ball on the floor, he’ll make good passes, he can score in the post and he’s an outstanding rebounder. As a rebounder, people have the wrong impression of him. [Fans] talk about our need for rebounding and I hear a lot of names come up, but right now Ryan’s our second-best rebounder behind Dwight [Howard].”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com has more on Anderson: “The impact that offseason work made on Redick and [Marcin] Gortat’s careers didn’t go unnoticed by Anderson, who entered the offseason looking to get stronger so that he could be more forceful inside and play more minutes at power forward when Rashard Lewis shifts to small forward. And all of the hard work that he has done is paying off now as Anderson has been one of the Magic’s best preseason players through training camp and three exhibition games. […] The ability to play rugged basketball and hold his own in the paint comes, of course, after a summer in which Anderson rarely took a day off and put his body through the paces. He worked out three times a day for four days a week, lifting weights in the morning, shoot hundreds of jumpers in the afternoon and then doing boxing drills to build stamina. And on the one day that he wasn’t doing those exercises, Anderson was with [Joe] Rogowski outside on the track doing 800-meter runs in the blazing summer heat.  Almost immediately, Anderson began to see results from his sessions. Once able to bench-press no more than 185 pounds, he now can do a set of four repetitions of 225 pounds. His vertical leap went up three inches and his times in the 800-meter runs dropped from 4 minutes to 3 minutes.”
  • Contrary to popular belief, Anderson is not a shooting specialist. Far from it.
  • According to a few NBA head coaches, if you hold an opponent to a field goal percentage of 45 percent or lower, the chances of winning games are high. John Schuhmann of NBA.com investigates whether this is true or not: ” Now, this is obviously a simplistic way of looking at things. For one, saying that holding opponents under 45 percent doesn’t account for how well your team does offensively. And second, there are other factors that affect how good your defense is: your opponents’ 3-point shooting, forcing turnovers, fouling, and rebounding. If you keep your opponent under 45 percent shooting, but allow them to get to the line 40 times in a game, they’re probably still going to score a lot of points. You’ve also got to control the boards, obviously. It’s possible that neither O’Brien nor Collins are versed in advanced statistics and would rather talk points per game and field goal percentage than points per possession. It’s also possible that they have autographed copies of Basketball on Paper, but prefer to keep things simple for their players and the media.”
  • Marcin Gortat spent time at the power forward position during scrimmages.
  • Hakeem Olajuwon’s positive impact on Dwight Howard. From the Associated Press: “Dwight Howard had heard it all before, people offering constructive criticism and invitations to improve his game – he never really seriously listened. Until he received a phone call from Hakeem Olajuwon. […] Olajuwon’s call, which came when the Magic were down 3-0 to the Celtics in last season’s series, pushed Howard to almost single-handedly force the series to six games. Howard shed his happy-go-lucky attitude and became a one-man wrecking crew, giving a glimpse of all that untapped offensive potential so many have craved from the NBA’s twice reigning defensive player of the year. There just wasn’t enough to show. Olajuwon, given Howard’s phone number after meeting his mother at a Magic game in Texas, met with Howard in Houston immediately after the series. The pair trained for five days during the NBA finals. They worked for three hours a day, drilled on post moves, face-up jumpers, baby hooks, pump fakes and even some of those famous “Dream” shakes. Olajuwon also stressed the need for Howard to be mentally stronger, tone down his playfulness and maintain focus.”
  • Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference predicts the NBA leaderboard.
  • Apparently, Van Gundy is still allowed to wear turtlenecks.

Oct 12

Magic Basketball Mailbag, 10/12/10

Photobucket

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Here’s another installment of the Magic Basketball Mailbag.

_______

With Vince Carter declining and an inconsistent Rashard Lewis coming off a down year, will the Magic get enough scoring from the wings to compete for a championship?

In my opinion? Yes.

It’ll be tough because of his age but as Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus pointed out in his chat on Friday, Vince Carter has a chance to have a bounce-back year this season. There are a number of factors as to why this may be the case.

First, Carter in his second season in head coach Stan Van Gundy‘s system so the continuity and familiarity is there for him when it comes to his role in the offense for the Orlando Magic. At this stage in his career, Carter knows that he’s no longer the primary scoring option. That designation goes to Dwight Howard, as it should. Second, with Van Gundy making a concerted effort to install more post-up opportunities in the Magic’s playbook, that should allow Carter to utilize his low post skills and get some easy buckets with his back to the basket against smaller guards. Third, Carter realizes — because his teammates told him — that he needs to be more aggressive and attack the basket with regularity. I know it’s pre-season and things can change in a hurry, but Carter has altered his approach offensively and is making a more concerted effort to get into the paint. It hasn’t translated to more free-throw attempts, but it has gotten him easier looks at the rim.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 12

Vince Carter’s Shooting the Lights Out Against the Indiana Pacers

Oct 12

An Update on Kay Kellogg, a Friend of Dwight Howard

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Via Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel:

Mama Kay’s real name is Kay Kellogg. You might remember her from this column. She is 62, dying of cancer and had just a single item on her bucket list. Her one dying wish was to meet her hero, Dwight [Howard], before she passed away.

Dwight found out about it and visited her home a few weeks ago. He was scheduled to stay for 30 minutes, but ended up staying a couple of hours because the two fast friends talked and laughed so much that they lost track of time. […]

But before Dwight left her home that day a few weeks ago, she told him to say a prayer for her so that she could live long enough to see him play the first game in the new arena Sunday night. You see, she has been diagnosed with the advanced stages of Multiple Myeloma, an inoperable, incurable form of cancer that destroys the blood plasma in the bone marrow. She was given only a month or two to live.

Well, guess who was in the brand new Amway Center Sunday night, sitting there courtside courtesy of the Magic. wearing her favorite No. 12 Dwight Howard jersey and rooting her team on to a 54-point victory over the New Orleans Hornets? Mama Kay, that’s who. And you should have seen the look on Dwight’s face when he saw her.

“She told me, ‘I made it!’ ” Howard said with a joyful smile splashed across his face. “She was just so excited to be here and I was just so excited to see her.”

Give this story a read.

Oct 11

Amway Center Grand Opening Gala Raises $300,000 for Commission on Homelessness

Photo taken by Fernando Medina

Via the Orlando Magic:

On Saturday, October 9, Grammy Award winning artist James Taylor and the legendary Boston Pops directed by Keith Lockhart performed at the Amway Center Grand Opening Gala, which raised $300,000 for the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness (CFCH). The CFCH is a public/private partnership of community leaders to implement Ten2End, which is a ten year plan to end homelessness in Central Florida in the next decade. The mission of the CFCH is to continually assess and address the economic and social impact of homelessness on communities within Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando in the furtherance of its goal to end homelessness in the region within ten years.

Also announced and in celebration of the opening of the new Amway Center, volunteers from Amway and the Orlando Magic will partner to build a new KaBOOM! playground for the Orlando community. The playground will be built on April 8, 2011, in one day.

“Amway strives to make a difference in every community where we do business, and our involvement with the Amway Center is no exception,” said Amway Vice President Dana Boals. “We’re excited about this opportunity to partner with the Magic to revitalize the Parramore community and create a positive change for children.”

The new playground will provide hundreds of children in the Parramore area with a safe place to play. The playground will be the fifth built by KaBOOM! and the Magic, and the 11th built by KaBOOM! and Amway.

Oct 11

Monday’s Magic Word

  • Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic possess more depth than perhaps any other team in the NBA. That’s a great thing for the coaches and fans. For a couple of players who won’t make the nightly rotation – not so much. With the Magic playing Rashard Lewis at the three and the four – which is “a good thing to do,” Stan Van Gundy said – the team will trot out a nine-man rotation on many nights.That means two of the following players will likely receive DNP-CDs on some games: Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass, Quentin Richardson, J.J. Redick and Mickael Pietrus. Every one of those players would qualify for the rotation on pretty much any other NBA team. All of them, except of course for Redick, played significant minutes on their previous squads. And a couple of them won’t be playing every night this season for the Magic.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic are working to make themselves less predictable when the 2011 playoffs arrive. The team already has posted-up more — and with more players — this preseason. They’re also running some sets through the elbow in which the players will have the freedom to create. […] Van Gundy wants his team to have more flexibility as the year goes on, even on the defensive end of the court. In practice today, the team did a lot of zone defense work. The Magic worked on it in past years, but Van Gundy said players knew that Van Gundy would rarely use it during games. That could change this year.”
  • The Orlando Sentinel next player preview is up. The subject? Mickael Pietrus.
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post with some post-game locker room observations after the Orlando Magic thrashed the New Orleans Hornets by the score of 135-81 at the Amway Center: “The Magic’s new locker room is, as you might imagine from a $480 million building, immaculate. It’s circular, with high ceilings and a gargantuan Magic logo in the carpet at the center of the floor. Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson have the cushiest arrangements, as the lockers on either side of theirs are empty, allowing them to spread out. From a practical standpoint, it also means media types can crowd around the team co-captains without blocking another player’s locker, a situation which cropped up all too often in the old Amway Arena locker room. Andrew Melnick of Howard the Dunk and I agree that the visiting team’s locker room at Amway Center is a tremendous upgrade over the Magic’s locker room at Amway Arena, which should give a decent idea of how nice the host’s locker room is. Still photography is not allowed in the locker room, which is why I’m stumbling all over myself trying to describe it.”
  • Ken Berger of CBSSports.com revisits the Vince Carter-for-Gilbert Arenas trade rumor: “Significant progress was made toward that end this past summer with Orlando, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. The framework of a trade that would’ve sent Arenas to the Magic with Vince Carter going to the Wizards was arranged, with GM Otis Smith being one of the few executives in the league willing to contemplate such a deal because of his personal relationship with Arenas. In the end, it was the cost that killed the deal; Arenas has four years and $80.1 million left on his contract, which amounts to two years and $44 million more than Carter.”
  • According to John Schuhmann of NBA.com, the Magic have a chance to lead the NBA in offensive efficiency this season: “The Magic replaced Matt Barnes, a 32 percent 3-point shooter last season, with Quentin Richardson, who shot 40 percent with the Heat. They might actually have Jameer Nelson for a full season. And Dwight Howard, still just 24 years old, should continue to improve his post game.”
  • Orlando has the best pre-season team ever.
  • Do you believe in Magic?
  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus explains the SCHOENE projection system: “We first introduced SCHOENE to project the results of the 2008-09 NBA season. While the player projection aspect is not entirely unique–ESPN Insider’s John Hollinger independently developed a similar projection system–SCHOENE goes a step further by beginning to consider team context. For each team, player usage rates are adjusted (along with efficiency) to replicate the interactions between players in divvying up offensive possessions. Another adjustment handles defensive rebounding because of the tendency for good rebounders to cannibalize defensive boards from their teammates and vice versa. While SCHOENE’s default output is per-possession or per-shot rate stats, it also incorporates team pace to produce complete, realistic stat lines for each player. This is especially useful for creating fantasy projections, since a player’s per-game averages will depend in part upon the pace at which his team plays. Finally, SCHOENE brings it all together to create team stat lines, unprecedented for an NBA projection system. This gives us an idea not only of a bottom-line projection for each team’s win-loss record but also how they will get there and projected strengths and weaknesses.”
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