Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 218

Aug 16

For J.J. Redick, It’s All About Efficiency

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Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

One of the major storylines in a rather uneventful off-season (aside from the Chris Paul rumors) for the Orlando Magic was when general manager Otis Smith elected to match the Chicago Bulls’ offer sheet and re-sign J.J. Redick to a three year, $20 million contract. Not too long ago, Redick was seen as a bust after being selected No. 11 in the 2006 NBA Draft and struggling to crack head coach Stan Van Gundy‘s rotation for nearly two seasons. But after hard work and perseverance, Redick has developed a niche with the Magic.

The niche?

An efficient shooter.

There’s no question that Redick had a breakout season with Orlando, but it seems like some people are overlooking how efficient he was offensively. Redick was one of the most efficient players on offense in the NBA last year. Yes, there are those that are aware that Redick posted career-high numbers across the board. Yet it seems like there are those that are missing the grand scheme of things when it comes to what Redick was able to accomplish with a defined role and consistent minutes. Though it needs to be stated that Redick earned his playing time.

Efficiency is the name of the game in basketball and there weren’t many players in the league that were as efficient as Redick on offense in 2010.

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Aug 13

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Justin Verrier of ESPN.com: “Defense wins championships. But MVPs? Not often. Such is the plight of [Dwight] Howard, who has won consecutive defensive player of the year trophies and compiled more blocks than a Lego warehouse the past two seasons but has been shut out from a top-three spot in the official MVP voting. The big culprit: his offensive game. To be fair, D-12’s repertoire of post moves has grown, but his points-per-game average actually dipped last season (from 20.6 to 18.3) as he battled foul trouble and hack-a-Howard tactics. Howard is so dominant on D that he’ll be a perennial MVP candidate, but he will never get the votes if he can’t stay on the court or make free throws.”
  • Kyle Weidie of Truth About It makes the case for the Orlando Magic as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference: “After the Miami Heat, obviously, it will be the Orlando Magic battling for Eastern Conference supremacy … in front of the Celtics, and definitely in front of the Bulls, Hawks and Bucks. Why you ask? Well, let’s start with the depth. There’s not much turnover from last season’s 59-win team — they added a more solid backup guard in Chris Duhon, along with veteran Quentin Richardson and rookie Daniel Orton, and really only lost Matt Barnes. Jameer Nelson continues to be a leader by hosting his teammates for workouts in Philadelphia. And don’t forget that coach Stan Van Gundy signed a contract extension through 2012-13 (that constancy thing). Did I mention that Dwight Howard has been working with Hakeem Olajuwon this summer? The East has been warned. As Orlando continues to grow as a unit, while Miami tries to Frankenstein a three-headed monster and surrounding parts and Boston hires extra trainers to keep loose ligaments intact, best believe that the Magic will be in the picture to make the NBA Finals.”
  • Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass as goons? Austin Burton of Dime Magazine explains: “Another pick for the future. Now that the Magic have first-round pick Daniel Orton to develop as a legit backup for Dwight Howard, Bass and Gortat can become the NBA’s Acolyte Protection Agency. They should even go all-out and wear black gloves when they check into a game. Dwight has needed an enforcer (or two) for a while now.”
  • The last person that needs an “enforcer” is Dwight Howard.
  • Remember the 1996 Summer Olympic team?
  • What would happen if the Boston Celtics had each player in the prime of their careers? Marc Normandin of Basketball Prospectus takes a look: “Just picture the options on offense each play—you have Allen or Pierce setting up the play, and either of them is a threat from range. Pierce was the best in the league at penetrating and drawing a foul, and both players are excellent free throw shooters. The 2007-08 Celtics were a force and champions with those two and Garnett shooting in close—now picture Shaq up the middle alongside Garnett, all four players younger and on fresher legs, and you wonder how anyone would have been able to defend them consistently.”

Aug 13

AmwayCenter.com Re-Launches

Via the Orlando Magic:

AmwayCenter.com, the official one-stop shop for information regarding the new Amway Center, has been officially re-launched, the Orlando Magic announced today. The new website includes everything Central Florida residents and beyond need to know about the new facility, which is scheduled to open in October and will compete to host major national events, concerts and family shows.

New features found on Amway Center.com will include:

  • Comprehensive information regarding everything from the facility’s upcoming acts to an A-to-Z guide that will provide fans with everything they need to know about the building.
  • The opportunity for patrons to purchase tickets to upcoming events right on the website.
  • A level-by-level description of each concourse, including a detailed description of all the restaurants, bars, concessions and entertainment areas.
  • An interactive events calendar and updates on all of the upcoming concerts, shows and events taking place at the building that provides detailed visuals for visitors.
  • Videos and a live on-location web cam that provides the latest construction updates on the building, along with photo galleries and social media updates on the Amway Center.
  • Detailed information on directions to the Amway Center and parking information for events.
  • A full section on how to book your event at the Amway Center along with detailed hospitality information; In addition, AmwayCenter.com also provides promoters information they need to book concerts and shows in the building.
  • Information regarding the Amway Center’s LEED Certification and ADA accessibility information.

Aug 13

Dwight Howard Still Hard at Work

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Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

[Dwight] Howard traveled to India to help promote the NBA and the game of basketball. League officials regard India’s population of nearly 1.2 billion people as a vast untapped market, and they hope Howard’s star power and megawatt smile will help generate interest in the sport.

Two summers ago, the NBA held its first event in India, a Basketball Without Borders instructional camp. Last December, the league launched NBA.com/India, a website with some content in Hindi. In April, the NBA started its first community basketball league in the country. […]

Howard will spend a few more days in India, then travel to China for the second time this summer.

Bryan Meyer, a trainer based in Altamonte Springs, accompanied Howard on the trip.

Howard said he worked out for 2 1/2 hours Thursday. He did conditioning work with Meyer and practiced on a basketball court, performing the drills he worked on earlier this summer with former Houston Rockets all-star Hakeem Olajuwon.

Once in a while, someone will criticize Dwight Howard for spending too much time on extracurricular activities and not devoting enough attention on improving himself as a basketball player. However, despite the fact that Howard is halfway around the globe, he’s working on his game.

The criticism for Howard will never end, it seems like. For years, many people — not only Magic fans — hoped and prayed that Howard would work with Hakeem Olajuwon to improve his low post game. But now that Howard is doing just that, working with Olajuwon and trying to get better on the low block, it’s not good enough for everyone.

Go figure.

Nevertheless, next season is going to be an important one for Howard.

After breaking through against Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace (now retired) in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals versus the Boston Celtics, the table is set for Howard to wreak havoc on the rest of the league. Especially with Perkins sidelined indefinitely and Yao Ming’s health in question — two players that have had the most success defensively against Howard in the past.

There’s no one that can stop Howard except himself. Howard is putting in the work during the off-season, and soon the public will see the fruits of his labor.

Aug 12

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Dwight Howard has been in India for less than four full days, but he already has a list of memories he won’t forget anytime soon. The Orlando Magic center has fulfilled a lifelong dream by seeing tigers. He has visited a butterfly park. He has met appreciative children who want to learn about basketball. Thursday afternoon, after a plane flight from Bangalore to Delhi, he saw a mother on a sidewalk with her baby and her 4-year-old sitting nearby. Howard said the mother was either cleaning or resurfacing the pavement as the older child watched over the baby. […] Howard traveled to India to help promote the NBA and the game of basketball. League officials regard India’s population of nearly 1.2 billion people as a vast untapped market, and they hope Howard’s star power and megawatt smile will help generate interest in the sport.”
  • Scott Stanchak of NBA.com conducts a Q/A with Dwight Howard.
  • Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com wants you to vote on what is the best NBA occasion of the year? Here’s what Cohen wrote about the NBA Finals: “After a grueling, bloodthirsty regular season and another month and a half of cutthroat playoff action, there may be nothing more electrifying than the start of the NBA Finals. While players on all 28 other teams are out golfing, fishing, in the weight room preparing for next season or in the tropical islands on vacation, the few players remaining are battling to claim the ultimate prize. Following months of analyzing the field and trying to determine which two teams will reach the championship round, it’s very stirring to finally see the best two teams square off in front of just about every NBA fan.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post provides commentary on whether or not former Magic rookie Courtney Lee is approaching “journeyman” status in the league.
  • Tom Ziller of NBA FanHouse: “To be a journeyman implies that there’s no place for a player anywhere, that he’s a mercenary for hire (Kevin Willis) or, less generously, a vital cog in only the Trade Machine dynamics of the modern NBA (Devean George). Lee fits neither definition; he’s a good, young player any team would love to have, but who keeps getting dealt in bigger-picture trades as an asset (not as salary cap fluff). It has to bug Lee, because, for one, always being traded is no way to build demand, and building demand is the entire goal of a rookie on his first contract. Second, it’s annoying to move and to have to meet new co-workers, learn a new system, figure out how to deal with a new coach. It’s clearly far less optimal than staying in one place and being allowed to improve organically.”
  • Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook breaks down the pick and roll.
  • Rey Jefferson of Dime Magazine thinks J.J. Redick is poised for a breakout season: “More minutes (with the departure of Matt Barnes), more money and for the Orlando Magic, more production. There were times in the playoffs when Stan Van Gundy had Redick on the court during the most important moments of big games, causing Vince Carter to sit the bench. After the Magic matched Chicago’s $19 million offer sheet for Redick in free agency, he knows the team values him.”
  • Redick had his “breakout season” last year but hey, maybe he can do better.

Aug 12

It’s Going to Cost Money to See the Miami Heat in Person

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Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

You can still buy tickets to attend the Orlando Magic‘s regular-season road opener Oct. 29 against the Miami Heat, but it likely will cost you a hefty sum thanks to the presence of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Heat roster.

A spokesperson for the online broker StubHub said tickets to the game — the Heat’s regular-season home opener — already are selling for an average price of $760.

Search engine FanSnap.com listed this morning that the average Magic at Heat ticket price for Oct. 29 was $806, according to a a SunSentinel.com report.

There will be additional opportunities for some fans to buy cheaper Heat-Magic tickets for the Oct. 29 game in the days and weeks ahead. […]

The online ticket broker says its hottest preseason ticket is for the Magic-Heat game on Oct. 22 in Tampa at the St. Pete Times Forum, with tickets selling for $101 on average.

Better get your wallet out.

Aug 12

A Common Enemy for the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Via George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel:

The Miami Heat have been disparaged as a bunch of privileged prima-donnas, intent on destroying the spirit of fair play in professional sports.

LeBron, D-Wade , Chris Bosh and their gophers will break all NBA records, glom onto our TV screens every night, celebrate titles with bikini babes on South Beach. They are the alpha dogs. We are the fire hydrants. The forecast calls for constant drizzle.

Doc Rivers doesn’t see it that way. […]

He laughs at all the swipes and the slights, and the suggestions that the Heat are ruining the game. What’s the problem? Doc embraces the Axis of Evil (my words, not his) as astute businessmen.

“If you were a businessman who could buy two other companies to form what would be a dominant company, what businessman wouldn’t do that?” he said. “That’s what LeBron did. I have no problem with that. It just makes it more challenging for us, the [Orlando] Magic and everybody else.

“It’s puts a bull’s eye on them. Well, everybody wants to beat the Celtics, too. You want the pressure, You don’t want to run from it.”

Good for Doc.

No whining, no complaints, no whispers of collusion. It would be good for everybody else to follow his lead.

The backlash against the Miami Heat has gotten a little out of hand, but it is what it is.

One thing is for certain — the Orlando Magic and the Boston Celtics aren’t going to bow down to the Heat. Just ask Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo. Yes, Miami has the potential to be a very good team next season. But the Magic and the Celtics are the last two Eastern Conference champions and they will give the Heat a run for their money, make no mistake about it.

There’s a great chance that Miami will finish the regular season with the best record in the East but as Orlando and Boston has proven the last two years, the only thing that matters is the playoffs. Nevertheless, it’s refreshing that head coach Doc Rivers embraces the challenge. Likewise with head coach Stan Van Gundy. That’s why they are two of the best coaches in the NBA for a reason.

Van Gundy and Rivers rise to the occasion when an obstacle is in front of them.

In this case, it’s the Heat.

The great thing about the 2010-2011 NBA regular season schedule is that fans are going to have the opportunity to see how the Celtics (sans Kendrick Perkins) and the Magic stack up against the SuperFriends in the opening week — in a span of three days.

That’s going to be exciting.

Aug 11

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “My friend Ben Q. Rock […] argues the [Orlando] Magic’s efforts to acquire Chris Paul from New Orleans “may soon take a major hit” because the Hornets parted with Collison, a potential point guard of the future. I disagree because that presupposes the Magic had a reasonable chance of obtaining Paul in the first place. I don’t think any team, let alone the Magic, had a chance to obtain Paul. I’ve argued for a while that the Hornets would be crazy to trade away their franchise player while he has two more seasons left on his contract. Simply put, Paul just doesn’t have any leverage to force a deal because of his contract situation and because he’s not the type of person who would become a team cancer. All that said, you can bet that the Paul speculation will heat up again if the Hornets start their 2010-11 badly.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “The Orlando Magic’s efforts to acquire Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets may soon take a major hit as the Hornets have traded Darren Collison, Paul’s backup and a rookie sensation last season, to the Indiana Pacers as part of a four-team, five-player trade, which Chad Ford first reported. Additionally, the Hornets will take on Houston Rockets swingman Trevor Ariza, who would join Emeka Okafor as a Paul running-mate with a long-term contract. The Pacers will receive Hornets swingman James Posey as well.”
  • Learn more about effective field-goal percentage.
  • Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference takes a look at roster turnover.
  • UPDATE: I make a cameo appearance on TrueHoop.

Aug 11

Orlando Magic to Open Amway Center with Preseason Game on October 10 vs. New Orleans Hornets

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic will host their first preseason game at the new Amway Center on Sunday, October 10 against New Orleans.  Tip-off is 6 p.m.  The Magic will begin the preseason against Houston at State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas on Tuesday, October 5, which will be televised by Sun Sports.  Orlando will play a total of eight preseason games, including four at Amway Center (others are October 14 vs. Charlotte, October 16 vs. Chicago and October 20 vs. Dallas).  Three other games will also be televised by Sun Sports or FOX Sports Florida.

The Magic will also play four preseason games on the road, including October 22 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida against the Miami Heat, which will be nationally televised by ESPN.  Orlando’s other road outings will be October 8 @ Indiana and October 18 @ Atlanta.

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.  The Magic’s broadcast schedule will be released at a later date.  Orlando opens its regular season on October 28 at home against Washington (8 p.m. tip, TNT).

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Aug 11

Superman vs. the SuperFriends

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Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

The [Orlando] 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 Magic will face the Heat three additional times: in Orlando on Nov. 24, in Orlando on Feb. 3 and in Miami on March 3. All four of Orlando’s games against Miami will be televised nationally.

October 29, November 24, February 3, and March 3.

Circle those dates because that’s when the Orlando Magic will face off against the Miami Heat in the regular season. Yes, there are 78 other games on the schedule that mean something — some more than others — but there’s no question that when the Magic and the Heat go toe-to-toe with each other, it’s going to be an event.

Many people are hoping that the matchups will live up to the hype.

Everyone keeps mentioning that Dwight Howard should have a field day going up against the likes of Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Juwan Howard, Jamaal Magloire, and whoever else that wants to volunteer. Yes, that’s true. And Orlando’s 4-out/1-in offensive system (at first glance) appears to matchup relatively well against Miami, given that Rashard Lewis has historically had good success against Chris Bosh at the power forward position, given his ability to spread the floor. Can’t forget about Jameer Nelson in the 1/5 pick and roll with Howard, either.

But who on the Magic is going to stop LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Bosh?

That question has been addressed in the past, but it’s going to be left somewhat unanswered until the games start to count. The wait couldn’t be any longer, it seems like.

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