Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 211

Aug 06

More Tracy McGrady Goodness

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Not McGrady’s best game in a Magic uniform, but a great one nonetheless. Click here for Part II.

Aug 06

Shaquille O’Neal Joins Another Conference Rival

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Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Via Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel:

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.

Aug 05

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “There were about 50 foster kids in the auditorium Wednesday afternoon. David Vaughn’s story did not resonate with all of them, but hopefully a handful of faces in the crowd heard every word, and found strength in his journey sprinkled with desperation and determination. Vaughn told them about his highs as a first-round draft pick of the Orlando Magic in 1995, the $1.8 million contract, the cars and all the other extravagant toys; his lows of depression and violence, and how he ended up as a wayward husband, homeless and destitute. “It’s a great experience to share my story,” Vaughn said. David Vaughn’s comeback likely won’t be documented in Sports Illustrated or ESPN, but it is worth telling because it reflects a tenacity not often seen on the competitive fields of play.”
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “Nobody is going to be better than the Miami Heat at the two, three and four spots. But picture them playing Orlando. Jameer Nelson has the ball (guarded by Mario Chalmers) and Dwight Howard (covered by Joel Anthony) comes out to set the high pick. That is a hard-to-stop P&R combo for any team, and the undersized Anthony is really going to struggle to stop the strength of Howard rolling to the rim. LeBron, Wade and Bosh are going to have a hard time helping out because you can’t leave Orlando’s perimeter shooters (especially when J.J. Redick is in for Vince Carter). Can Orlando beat Miami this way? Can some combination of the O’Neals (Shaquille and Jermaine) along with Kendrick Perkins (when he returns from injury) do the same thing for Boston? Is there a model for beating the Heat?”
  • Chad Ford and John Hollinger of ESPN Insider update their NBA Future Power Rankings. The Magic fall from No. 3 last year to No. 7 this year: “We liked Orlando’s roster the best in March, but now the Magic don’t even have the best roster in Florida. Plus, we’re focused down the line, past this coming season, and that hurts the outlook for four of the five Magic starters. Nonetheless, this team looks stacked for the long term with Dwight Howard at center and a constellation of minor stars surrounding him. Additionally, keep an eye on young forward Ryan Anderson, who could become a better version of Troy Murphy. Orlando’s market looms as another big factor in its favor. With a new arena, a balmy climate and a dominant big man, it’s already near the top of Chris Paul’s short list of future destinations and could pop up on other players’ lists, too. The only major concern is the serious money the team is taking on. Orlando is a small market, but the team is well into the luxury tax and probably will remain that way for a while unless ownership demands a budget slashing. For now, it hasn’t, and with that, solid personnel moves under GM Otis Smith and the exacting coaching of Stan Van Gundy, the Magic get good marks for management.”
  • Dwight Howard is one of the best bargains in the league.
  • Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game drops some knowledge: “To those still clinging to what they know, I’d ask this: what’s a power forward? What characteristics link Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Rashard Lewis, Lamar Odom, Reggie Evans, Tyrus Thomas, and J.J. Hickson? Not rebounding. Not scoring. Not skill set. Not height relative to their teammates. Not even the spaces they occupy on the floor. I’m at a total loss as to the criterion that would group that bunch together, which makes the assessment “Player X isn’t a real power forward” pretty much worthless. I think I know what it means, but without the ability to define the contemporary power forward, how could I really know for sure?”
  • Here is the inspiration for Mahoney’s post, by the way. The topic is about traditional positions.

Aug 05

Mercedes-Benz Florida Dealers Ink Deal with Orlando Magic to Sponsor Premium Seating Club in Amway Center

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic announced today a new, multi-year relationship with Mercedes-Benz of South Orlando, Mercedes-Benz of Orlando, Mercedes-Benz of Melbourne and Mercedes-Benz of Daytona. Through the partnership, premium season ticket holders will have access to the all-new Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge during Magic home games in the new Amway Center. Opening in the fall of 2010, the facility, which will be owned and operated by the City of Orlando on behalf of the Central Florida community, will compete to host major national events, concerts and family shows and serve as the new home of the Orlando Magic.

Located on the Event Level of the Amway Center near the Orlando Magic locker room, the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge presents its patrons with unprecedented access to Magic players as they enter and exit the court, as well as an exclusive view of the opposing team. The space, which is over 13,000-square feet, allows members ample room to mingle while enjoying all-inclusive food and beverage and premium amenities, such as a full-service bar, seating and dining areas and visual access to both locker room areas. The Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge can be accessed only by courtside ticket holders and superstar season ticket holders in the first seven rows from the floor. [...]

In addition to the entitlement of the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge, Mercedes-Benz will also have a permanent vehicle display on the Terrace Level next to the concierge area at the Amway Center, vehicle displays at Fan Fest on select dates, an in-market promotion during the season and special events sponsored by the local Mercedes-Benz dealerships: Mercedes-Benz of South Orlando, Mercedes-Benz of Orlando, Mercedes-Benz of Melbourne, and Mercedes-Benz of Daytona.

Aug 05

Orlando Magic Moms to Participate in Mothers of Professional Basketball Players (MPBP) First “Hoopin’ for Health” Charity Basketball Game in Orlando on August 7 to Benefit the United Negro College Fund

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Mothers of Professional Basketball Players (MPBP) square off against the Professional Football Players Mothers Association (PFPMA) in the first-ever “Hoopin’ for Health” Charity Basketball Game on Saturday, August 7 at 6 p.m. at Olympia High School in Orlando, Fla. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the United Negro College Fund.

The charity game will be held during the 2010 MPBP Annual Conference, scheduled for August 5-8 in Orlando, Fla. Tickets for the game are $10 and available now in advance through the UNCF Office (1080 Woodcock Road, Suite 280, Orlando, Fla. 32803) and Hope Church (Columbia Street and John Young Parkway) or at the door on game day. For additional ticket information, please call the UNCF Office at (407) 896-6940.

Orlando basketball stars Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis and former pro football stars Eddie George and Kenard Lang will serve as game referees. Former Pittsburgh great Jerome “The Bus” Bettis will provide commentary during the game.

In addition to raising money for the United Negro College Fund, both organizations are uniting in the mission to inspire women of all ages to become more active and mindful of weight related illness such as heart disease.

Aug 04

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Dwight Howard has been long fed up with the LeBron Lovefest — even before it got super-sized. The reason Dwight says he doesn’t want to answer the questions about James and the Miami Heat is not just because he’s tired of the King. It’s because if Dwight truly said what he felt about James, he’d find himself in the middle of a media mess, although he no doubt would gain some allies in Cleveland. No, best to leave that one alone. Besides, Howard can’t afford to rile up the Heat Traveling All-Stars, given he might be outnumbered. But Howard is going to have to get used to LeBronmania virtually happening in his backyard.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy on Brandon Bass: “I don’t know [if Bass will play more]. It’s as simple as that. It will depend on Brandon, number one, if he’s able to improve in some of the areas that we think he has to improve in. Then he’s got a chance of playing more. There are other factors in terms of how lineups work and things like that that may be out of his control. But the biggest thing will be if he plays better in some areas. That’s to be seen.”
  • Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com: “When I wake up on the morning of Friday, Oct. 29, I certainly don’t expect it to feel like any typical day. [...] On this atypical day, the Orlando Magic will get their first crack at the revamped Miami Heat. It will be their initial opportunity to prove they are still the more superior team in this newly-established, but rapidly evolving, Sunshine State rivalry. Since the week when LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to unite with Dwyane Wade in Miami earlier this summer, much of the chit-chatter around central Florida has been placed on this new-fangled rivalry. NBA fanatics have turned to one another and curiously asked, “Can the Magic beat the Heat?” Just two days before celebrating one of the more popular holidays in American culture, Halloween, will it be Magic or Heat fans that deliver the initial scare to their adversaries? Although the game on Oct. 29 will be in South Beach at American Airlines Arena, I expect a hefty number of Magic fans to be present. If not at the game in Miami, nonetheless, every Magic supporter will undoubtedly be in front of a television to watch this highly-anticipated showdown.”
  • Dwight Howard will make a trip to India to promote the NBA.
  • Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk has more on the topic: “Apparently, basketball is a sport a lot of people in India play in their youth but don’t really follow as they get older. Sort of how much of America treats soccer. It doesn’t seem to get the blood going in India. Cricket does, because who doesn’t love a good five-day test? Field hockey, badminton and of course soccer are popular. But basketball has a long way to go. Sending Dwight Howard there is the first step. But this is going to be a longer, harder struggle than it has been in China. There are no players from India in the NBA (it’s doubtful there are any ready for major Division I college ball). It is going to take many years of sending players, hosting clinics, finding ways to put the game at its highest levels in front of people.”
  • Marc Stein of ESPN.com: “The season’s first TNT Thursday will be recorded as certifiably historic in Orlando, where the Magic will play their first-ever game at the Amway Center against John Wall’s Washington Wizards. You can’t help but wonder, though, whether the league’s mythical scheduling computer spit out Washington as the first visitor to Orlando’s new building just in case the Wiz and Magic decide to resuscitate those trade talks headlined by Gilbert Arenas and Vince Carter over the next six weeks or so. Wall’s debut against Arenas? Tantalizing thought.”
  • Austin Burton of Dime Magazine: “Orlando at Miami (Oct. 29, ESPN) — Although the rest of the schedule hasn’t been released, I’m thinking this will be the home debut of the Super-Friends. This will also be the first meeting in what should be a fierce cross-state rivalry for the next decade. Dwight Howard has been working on his post moves with Hakeem Olajuwon this summer, and will try to break some out against the team that’s hi-jacked all of his hype in the state of Florida. Dwight and Chris Bosh have always had a competitive, high-scoring rivalry, and LeBron has his own scores to settle with the Magic.”

Aug 04

T-Mac’s Zenith: When the Basketball Court Was His Oyster

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Seriously. Some of these shots by Tracy McGrady are flat-out absurd. Note the reverse layup.

Aug 04

An Addendum to Tracy McGrady’s Career, Featuring Grant Hill

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Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images

Given that today’s topic at Magic Basketball centers around Tracy McGrady, I wanted to shed light on a post I wrote at Orlando Pinstriped Post nearly a year and a half ago. I’ve written thousands of posts since I started covering the Orlando Magic almost two years ago, and this is one of my all-time favorite pieces because it pertains to Grant Hill and the ‘what if?’ scenario.

Here’s a snippet:

Grant Hill.

For Orlando Magic fans, the mere utterance of the name naturally provokes a myriad of emotions to come out. However, there is one emotion that I want to capture. Curiosity.

By definition, curiosity is the state of wanting to learn more about something.

In the case of Hill, I’ve been curious of one thing. What if Hill was completely healthy during his tenure in Orlando. What would the end result be, for both him and the team? I always thought of the scenario in my brain, but I could never come up with any type of empirical data “on paper” to see how things would have played out for the Magic (mea culpa). Sure, I knew that the team would improve its performance on the court with a healthy, in-his-prime Grant Hill paired with a budding superstar in Tracy McGrady, but by how much? What could have Orlando fans expected to see from their squad? When the Magic front office invested in both Hill & McGrady, what could the maximum returns have been?

Well, I can say that I am able to provide answers to all those questions.

Click here to read the rest.

Aug 04

The Tracy McGrady manifesto

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Reuters/John C. Hillery

A picture is worth a thousand words.

In this case, it’s a photo of failure and unfortunately for Tracy McGrady, it’s perhaps the lasting image of his time with the Orlando Magic. The players sitting next to McGrady, aside from Darrell Armstrong, are none other than Pat Garrity and Shawn Kemp — each embodying the word that defined the McGrady era in Orlando for three seasons until the bottom fell out in 2004. Average, if not worse.

And no Grant Hill.

McGrady will forever be criticized as someone that didn’t lead “his” team past the first round of the playoffs, even though the Magic were always the underdogs and never the favorites in each of their matchups (granted, the first round series against the Charlotte Hornets in 2002 was a toss-up).

This isn’t about the Houston Rockets, mind you. This is about Orlando and this is about McGrady playing in his hometown. This is about a player that did everything humanly possible to make the Magic a competitive squad, despite a supporting cast that was a joke and the lack of help from Hill due to his injuries.

Given McGrady’s situation, it seems like people forget how good he was in his prime. McGrady was a top five player in the league with Orlando, without a doubt, and Magic fans were truly blessed to witness him at his zenith. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but McGrady knew how to put on a show.

How good was McGrady and how bad was his supporting cast?

Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 03

Orlando Magic to Open 2010-11 Regular Season on October 28 vs. Washington Wizards at Amway Center

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

The National Basketball Association tonight released a number of highlight games for the upcoming 2010-11 season. The games, announced on NBA TV, are the nationally televised games for opening week, Christmas Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The Orlando Magic will open the 2010-11 regular season 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.

Other games involving the Magic announced tonight are:

  • Friday, October 29 @ Miami (8 p.m., ESPN)
  • Saturday, December 25 vs. Boston (2:30 p.m., ABC)
  • Monday, January 17 @ Boston (8 p.m., TNT)

Orlando’s game on December 25 marks its third consecutive appearance on Christmas Day and eighth overall. The entire 2010-11 regular season schedule will be announced by the NBA on Tuesday, August 10.

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