Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images
Hawks: Peachtree Hoops
Recaps: All Previews
Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images
Hawks: Peachtree Hoops
Recaps: All Previews
Here’s Part II of my roundtable discussion (click here for Part I). In this segment, different Orlando Magic writers talk about Dwight Howard‘s evolution on offense with the help of Hakeem Olajuwon, and more.
What will it take for opposing players to respect Howard’s jumpshot just enough and as such, alter the way they defend him?
Melnick: Howard has to have more confidence in his shot and just shoot his jumper more often. Anyone who has been to a Magic practice has seen Howard make the shot fairly consistently. Up until now, Howard hasn’t had the confidence to consistently take the shot. If Howard begins to shoot more and more, his confidence is going to grow. Defenders will have to respect that shot and that will allow Howard to use his superior athleticism to blow by his opponents like he does when he faces slower defenders. We saw a glimpse of this in Orlando’s first preseason game when Howard utilized a spin move to get easy looks against Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets.
Robbins: I’m not sure. I think Howard is so effective on the inside, that it would take a lot for opposing teams to significantly alter the way they defend him because if he gets the least bit of space down there, he’s unstoppable. He’s already next to unstoppable and the only way to really stop him when he’s close to the basket is to foul him. He’s got to show that he can hit that 12-15 foot jumper with regularity, with a very solid regularity, for them to leave the hoop. Certainly we saw Yao Ming respect that jumper in the first pre-season game. If you recall, Dwight hit a pair of those mid-range jumpers in the game’s first six minute and then Dwight used a pump-fake to get Yao to commit for a great drive to the hoop. I don’t know if other centers will play Dwight that way. I think Yao is rather immobile, so we’ll see what happens. Time will tell with that.
Rock: He has to start hitting them, which can’t happen unless he takes them, which can’t happen until he feels comfortable taking them, which can’t happen until he takes a few hundred per day. He’s accomplished the last two parts. Let’s see if he can continue progressing. Until then, we have the memory of his sinking two jumpers over Yao Ming, and then driving by him for a score when Yao honored his shot, this preseason to hold onto.
Rossman-Reich: They may never fully respect Howard’s jump shot. After all, what would you rather give up? A 12-foot jumper from Howard or a dunk or a 5-foot hook shot that leaves Howard in good position for the offensive rebound. But to get teams to really respect it, he has got to come out with it early in the season and early in games and make two, maybe three per game. It sounds extreme, but, again, what kind of shot would you have Howard rather shoot? He has got to really be killing teams with his jumper before teams start to defend it the way Howard can take advantage of it.
Savage: To me, it’s simple. He’s got to make them. It’s as simple as that. I think the key for Howard is take a few early on in the game, be confident with them, knock them down. If he takes them early on in the game and establishes that, it’s going to carry over to the later periods. As we saw when the Magic played the Rockets against Yao Ming, Dwight Howard took a few early shots early in the game, knocked them down, Yao Ming stepped up, and then he started blowing past him. I think that’s the key. If he can knock a few of those down in the first quarter, opposing defenses are going to start playing up on him and then he can use the advantage of switching back-and-forth and exploding past people and using his biggest asset, which is scoring within the circle.
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
To continue Magic Basketball’s preview of the 2010-2011 season for the Orlando Magic, I gathered writers that cover them on a day-to-day basis. Each writer, except for one, has media access with the Magic and offers an authoritative voice concerning the team.
So, without further ado, here are the participants:
Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel
Dan Savage, OrlandoMagic.com
Ben Q. Rock, Orlando Pinstriped Post
Andrew Melnick, Howard the Dunk
Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily
Each individual provided his opinion on which team in the Eastern Conference — between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat — is a bigger obstacle for the Magic, Ryan Anderson‘s role on the team, and more
Which team concerns you more — the Boston Celtics or the Miami Heat?
Andrew Melnick: This is tough because both teams will present a lot of problems. The Celtics have added a few nice pieces and look very deep but I think this year’s Magic team is better equipped to handle them. Before media day, the Magic had a lengthy meeting (somewhere around three to three-and-a-half hours) and based on the comments from several players, toughness — both mental and physical — is being stressed this season. I think the Magic, through losing to the Celtics last year, are better equipped to deal with them this year. Dwight Howard’s performance in the second half of the series also backs up that statement. He is learning to play differently against different big men (i.e. using finesse against the powerful Kendrick Perkins).
The Miami Heat offer a completely different challenge. Not only do they have three All-Stars and arguably the two best players in basketball but all of three of them have absolutely torched the Magic throughout their careers. In fact, Dwyane Wade averages more points against the Magic (29.9 ppg) than he does against any other team. Chris Bosh (23.2 ppg, 10.0 rpg) and LeBron James (28.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 6.4 apg) have put up huge numbers as well.
I don’t see how the Magic can consistently deal with all three of these players on the defensive end (well, I don’t see how anyone can) and with Wade and James defending the perimeter, it’s going to make life very difficult for Orlando’s shooters and drivers.
The Heat also put pretty good talent around their big three, including sharpshooter and former Rookie of the Year (while with the Magic) Mike Miller.
Dwight Howard should be able to handle all of the Miami’s big men but with James and Wade constantly penetrating, it’s going to be quite difficult for Howard to stay out of trouble – he’s going to have to be extremely careful and pick his battles.
Stan Van Gundy, how could you?
How could you not pencil in a single [Orlando] Magic starter Thursday night?
Now I realize it was a preseason game and players need nights off.
But all of them?
No Dwight [Howard], Vince [Carter], Jameer [Nelson], Rashard [Lewis] or [Quentin Richardson] in the lineup.
The Magic trotted out Marcin Gortat, J.J. Redick, Chris Duhon, Ryan Anderson and Mickael Pietrus. […]
Again, what was shocking is that this was so un-Van Gundy. He wants to win every game, preseason to postseason. I mean, the Magic had a 17-game preseason winning streak at stake.
“It’s a legitimate gripe,” Van Gundy told me when I asked what he would say to fans who purchased seats. “I understand if people were upset.”
Immediately after the game, Van Gundy said he wanted to see his back-ups perform as a group, which is why he started them all. […]
Fifteen minutes after I left Van Gundy, he called my cell.
“It’s been bugging me,” he said. “I want to say I’m sorry and I was wrong. I thought I reasoned it through, but I can’t justify it. If it was the first game that somebody came out to see, you bring your kids … I’d be upset, too.
“I won’t do it again.”
If there’s one thing you need to know about head coach Stan Van Gundy, is that he’s not afraid to own up to his mistakes when he’s wrong.
That’s an admirable trait for anyone, let alone a coach in the NBA.
Photo by Fernando Medina
|adj. +/-||net +/-||stat. +/-||PER||WARP||Win Shares/48|
Via Fox Sports Florida:
FOX Sports Florida premieres this season’s “Orlando Magic Preseason Special” Monday, October 18, at 6:30pm and 9:30pm ET immediately prior to and following the regional sports network’s coverage of the Magic @ Hawks preseason game. Highlights include:
- Paul Kennedy hosts the half-hour show from the new Amway Center
- Recap of the sights and sounds of 10/10/10
- Otis Smith talks about the Magic offseason additions
- David Steele interviews Stan Van Gundy and they talk about new wrinkles in the Magic approach this season
- Dante Marchitelli chatted with Dwight Howard recently and they talked about his summer workouts with Hakeem Olajuwon (fans won’t want to miss his impersonation of Hakeem). They also talk about some advice Dwight received from an NBA great this summer that has him more focused than ever.
- Matt Guokas joins Paul to break down the Beasts of the East.
Airdates on FOX Sports Florida: 10/18, 6:30p & 9:30pm; 10/20, 1:30pm; 10/23, 6:30pm; and 10/24, 12:30pm ET.
Airdates on Sun Sports: 10/20, 6:30 & 9:30pm; 10/21, 5:30pm; 10/23, 2pm; 10/25, 6:30pm; 10/26, 3:30pm & 10/28, 10am ET.
DISH Network Update: DISH Network still not offering FOX Sports Florida or Sun Sports to their customers since allowing agreement to expire. DISH is not actively negotiating with Fox. Unfortunately, we don’t expect a deal anytime soon.
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.