- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Orlando Magic players and coaches had better get their rest now, because NBA schedule makers gave the team a daunting dose of back-to-back games during the 2010-11 regular season. The Magic will play 20 pairs of back-to-backs, including 12 pairs in which Orlando will host the first game and then hit the road immediately for the second. Those 12 away-to-home back-to-backs are a record for the Stan Van Gundy era. The Magic never had more than six “fly-out” games in any of Van Gundy’s three previous seasons as Orlando’s coach. The NBA released its full regular-season schedule this afternoon. [...] The Magic will open their season — and play their first regular-season game at Amway Center — on Oct. 28, when they host the Washington Wizards at 8 p.m. One night later in Miami, Orlando will play its first regular-season game against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the new-look Miami Heat.”
- The top five Orlando Magic games to watch in the 2010-2011 regular season.
- Head coach Stan Van Gundy: “Look, the schedule is the schedule. It’s something I never really worry about a lot. It’s going to come out to 41 at home and 41 away. Some people are going to have some more back-to-backs than others. It’s just not something I spend any time worrying about.”
- The Magic have some tough back-to-backs on their schedule.
- Royce Young of CBSSports.com states that Orlando has one of the easiest starts to the season: “The NBA hands a gift to the Magic who get to open a new arena with a batch of home games. It gets tougher for the Magic later down the line, but to start the season, Orlando gets 8 of its first 12 at home, with most of the tough games coming into the new Amway Center. The drawback is a couple back-to-backs but no set is against two contending teams.”
- Are you ready for the Sunshine Massacre?
- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “The Magic got off easy, relatively speaking, with their road trips, which max out at five games on two separate occasions, as the release mentions. But facing the Oklahoma City Thunder on Jan. 13th, just one day after a visit to New Orleans Arena, is brutal. Worse, having to play the Lakers on March 14th one day after a game against the uptempo Phoenix Suns. And, of course, opening the season with three straight back-to-back sets isn’t appealing.”
- Zach Harper of TrueHoop conducts an exhaustive evaluation of the NBA calendar year.
- Jordan Schultz of NBA FanHouse tells you the matchups you need to know.
- Eric Woodyard of SLAM ONLINE: “In the ‘02-03 season, T-Mac became the NBA’s youngest scoring champion, averaging 32.1 buckets per game. He was also considered by many as the League’s best all-around player. Then he delivered a Jordan-esque individual performance against the Pistons in the ‘03 Playoffs dropping 31.7 points per game. Despite McGrady’s amazing antics, the Magic still failed to reach the second round of the Playoffs. Even after taking a commanding 3-1 series lead as the eighth seed against the number one seed. After McGrady’s comments prior to Game 5 in which he was quoted as saying how wonderful it was to “finally be in the position to advance to the second round,” he and his troops lost Games 5, 6 and 7 by an average of more than 20 points. Detroit would advance to the next round.”
- Quinn Peterson of SLAM ONLINE catches up with Quentin Richardson, one of the newest members of the Magic. Here’s a snippet of what Q has to say: “I’m excited. It’s a great situation on a team that has a chance to contend for a title, it’s gonna be a whole lot of hard work, but I think we’re definitely ready for it. I’m leaving here Friday (August 6) to head to Miami so I can drive up to Orlando to get started working with the coaching staff. I’ll spend the rest of my summer in Orlando working toward the goal. Also, Jameer [Nelson], he has a thing out in Philly, where he invites all of the guys out on the team, no coaches, and we work out everyday. Has has different events set up for us to hang out and bond and get close. Those are some of the things you need to do if you wanna be a championship-caliber team. I’m really excited that they already have these types of things in place, and I’m just going to that situation trying to contribute.”
- A Q/A with Mickael Pietrus.
- What can Vince Carter do for Orlando at this stage in his career?
Via the Orlando Magic:
The National Basketball Association today released its 2010-11 schedule and announced the Orlando Magic will open its 22nd season on Thursday, October 28 at the new Amway Center on Thursday, October 28 against Washington. Tip-off is 8 p.m. and the game will be nationally televised by TNT.
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. Single-game tickets will go on sale in October. A limited number of season tickets are available through the Orlando Magic Box Office by calling 407-89-MAGIC or visiting orlandomagic.com.
Orlando opens training camp on September 28 at the Amway Center. The Magic’s complete schedule is available through their official website: orlandomagic.com. The entire NBA schedule can be found on the league’s official website: NBA.com.
Orlando has 22 national television games scheduled. The Magic will appear five times on ABC, eight times on ESPN and nine times on TNT. The national TV slate is punctuated by a Christmas Day contest vs. Boston on ABC (2:30 p.m. tip). Orlando will play for the third consecutive time on Christmas Day and eighth overall (4-3 in those outings, including a loss last Christmas vs. Boston). The Magic will also appear seven times on NBATV.
The Magic’s local broadcast schedule will be released at a later date.
Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images
Here’s another installment of the Magic Basketball Mailbag.
Is this year “THE year” for Orlando to win it all? Won’t one season of gelling and next year’s mid-level exception make Miami unstoppable?
It’s way too early to tell.
There are too many variables involved.
The Miami Heat could be unstoppable as the years go by, but there’s no way to be sure at this point in time. That being said, this year is probably the Magic’s best chance to beat the Heat considering their roster is at its infant stages. Even then, that didn’t stop the Boston Celtics from winning it all in 2008 under similar circumstances. Plus, the Celtics still have to be dealt with in the Eastern Conference. Oh yeah, and then there’s the Los Angeles Lakers.
It’d be a mistake to label Orlando as title favorites because they’re not, but they do have a chance.
For the Magic, that’s all that matters.
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Marcin Gortat should be in good playing shape when he reports to Orlando Magic training camp in late September. The 6-foot-11 center is spending this month playing for Poland’s national team as it attempts to qualify for the 2011 EuroBasket tournament. Poland lost to Bulgaria 74-70 on Sunday in Sofia, which is Bulgaria’s capital city. Gortat scored 10 points, collected 12 rebounds and blocked two shots in the defeat. The loss dropped Poland to 1-2 in its qualifying group, which also includes Belgium, Bulgaria, Georgia and Portugal. Each team will play a total of eight games this month.”
- Does Jeff Van Gundy have a hidden agenda against the Miami Heat?
- Dwight Howard has landed in India.
- Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com: “I decided to conduct a mathematical analysis to determine who would win a game between the all-time best Orlando Magic against the all-time best Miami Heat. Although we can never truly know what the results would be if these two hypothetical squads clashed on the court, I simulated the outcome by using a number of statistical and scientific variables. Some of the math included, for example, career averages with the Magic and/or Heat and performance expectancy against certain opponents. Some of the data was based on personal judgment. [...] I, subsequently, simulated a box score which includes point, rebound, assist and blocked shot totals for each player. I also added shooting lines from the field, 3-point range and free throw line. Keep in mind, this was just for fun. I was not trying to prove any legitimate points. It would be extraordinary if we actually witnessed a contest between these two outstanding teams, however.”
- Jeremy Bauman of SLAM ONLINE: “[Daniel] Orton will barely see the court this year in game time situations. The Magic have a deep and talented frontcourt with Dwight Howard, Marcin Gortat, Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson, not to mention that they often play Rashard Lewis at the 4-spot. Kentucky is going to seem a world away for Mr. Orton. The key for him will be to learn and get better for the future and not think about playing time.”
- Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook takes a look at Rashard Lewis’ shooting form.
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images
We kick off our third annual Summer Forecast series with the conference that has created so much commotion in the past few weeks.
Since the Los Angeles Lakers completed their second straight championship run, the NBA has been all about the East, with six of the top seven free agents signing with Eastern Conference teams, including a certain triumvirate in Miami.
To look ahead at the 2010-11 season and beyond, we asked 93 of ESPN’s best basketball minds for their forecasts, including contributors from ESPN television and radio, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Insider, ESPN Stats & Information, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Multimedia, ESPN Fantasy, ESPN Interactive Games, ESPN DB and ESPN.com.
Here’s what was said about the Orlando Magic, who are projected to finish 56-26 and second in the Eastern Conference behind the Miami Heat (five games, to be exact):
The Magic stumbled vs. the Celtics in the East finals, but this is much the same team that won five series the past two postseasons. Orlando might have some magical maneuvers left, perhaps shipping out Vince Carter and/or finding a way to get Chris Paul. Until then, given Miami’s summer, Orlando reverts to dangerous sleeper status.
The predictions have only just started.
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images
The [Orlando] Magic have absolutely no shot at competing with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat.
And neither does anybody else (except maybe the Lakers).
That’s not me talking; that’s Jeff Van Gundy, brother of Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. [...]
“They (Heat) will break the single-season win record [of 72],” Jeff Van Gundy told the Herald. “And I think they have a legit shot at the Lakers’ 33-game [winning] streak [in 1971-72], as well. And only the Lakers have even a remote shot at beating them in a playoff series. They will never lose two games in a row this year.”
It’s easy to proclaim Jeff Van Gundy’s statements as crazy but when looking past some of his statements, he could be potentially correct that the Orlando Magic have little to no shot competing against the Miami Heat. This isn’t to suggest that the Heat will be invincible, given that they haven’t stepped on the court together yet and no one knows what will happen until the games are played, but many smart people project them to be a very good team next season.
Historically good? It’s way too early to tell.
One way or the other, the Magic will have their work cut out for them next year in the Eastern Conference — not only against the Heat but also against the Boston Celtics. That’s the reality of the situation. Nevertheless, people will get an early glimpse at how Orlando will stack up against Miami when they face off against each other on October 29 at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Then maybe everyone can start putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
Only three months to go.
- Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com: “While most NBA players spend time on vacation with family and friends, participate in worldwide basketball camps and charity events and prepare for training camp by expending energy in the weight room, some are in still in serious competition on the hardwood. Marcin Gortat, for example, is one of them. Aside from his ultimate goal of helping the Orlando Magic capture their first NBA championship, the Polish Hammer is in the midst of trying to lead his home country to EuroBasket 2011. After a disappointing opening qualifying game against Georgia on Monday, Poland rebounded to earn a convincing 86-64 triumph over Portugal on Thursday. Gortat registered a game-high 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and added 11 rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot.”
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Dwight Howard may have the nickname Superman, but even his busy summer plans can be altered by an unexpected detour. Howard’s participation in the current Basketball without Borders camp in Senegal has been cancelled, an NBA official told the Orlando Sentinel this morning. Howard’s flight from Washington, D.C., to Senegal was cancelled Thursday night and, therefore, there would have been no way for the Orlando Magic center to arrive in Senegal any earlier than Saturday morning.”
- Marcin Gortat throwing it down with authority in a EuroBasket qualifier.
- Eric Freeman of The Baseline: “So, just to be clear, O’Neal should have gone to Orlando because it would have been a nice bookend to his career. Somehow, he wouldn’t have been an over-the-hill hired gun there, even though he would have seen even less minutes than he will in Boston with Howard and Marcin Gortat already on the roster. Because he needed to be a mentor to Howard? Is Shaq really the guy you want mentoring anyone, especially considering his issues with conditioning throughout his career? Plus, would the Magic even want him? Shaq would be a distraction and need minutes that the Magic don’t have in their frontcourt as is. The last thing they need is another high-profile player who needs at least 15 minutes per game. They’d be much better off playing Gortat and Brandon Bass instead. In Boston, Shaq will at least be on a veteran team where he clearly fits into a role. It may have been a nice story to see him return to Orlando and help them win a championship, but that’s an extreme long shot and something that Shaq has never shown himself to be capable of. He’s not good at playing the classy veteran who’s just thankful to be back where it all started.”
- Get to know more about NBA zone defenses.
Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Shaquille O’Neal’s career should have had the perfect fairytale ending.
He should be finishing his NBA career where he started it all those years ago — right here in Orlando, trying to help the Magic win that elusive championship.
He could have gone out as a hero here. He could have been a mentor and a backup to Dwight Howard. He could have announced his retirement at the end of a ticker-tape parade in the city he and his mother still call home.
Instead, he will end his career as an over-the-hill hired gun in Boston, where he was signed for a minimum salary by the Celtics — a big, burly insurance policy mostly to provide six fouls against Howard and the Lakers’ big men. [...]
Now that he’s in Boston, you just wonder how long it will take Shaq to say something disparaging about Bill Russell or irk coach Doc Rivers with his selfishness and laziness. Prediction: The Celtics may be happy Shaq is coming to town, but they will be even happier when he leaves town in two years.