Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 225

Jun 21

Monday’s Magic Word

  • Mark Schlueb of the Orlando Sentinel: “Though some commissioners predicted it would discourage people from visiting downtown Orlando, a split City Council voted today to double to $20 the parking rate for Orlando Magic games, concerts and other events at the two garages closest to the new publicly funded Amway Center. It’s the second time in less than two years the council has doubled the “event rate.” Last time, the city raised the cost of parking in most of its garages from $5 to $10 during special events. This time, the increase affects only the two garages that are most convenient to the new Amway Center: the new South Street Garage, which is connected to the arena by a pedestrian bridge, and the Church Street Garage across the street. They’ll both cost $20 when the arena opens in October. Other garages and surface lots that are farther away but still within walking distance — including lots underneath I-4 overpasses — will remain at $10 during Magic games and other events.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel catches up with Ryan Blake, scouting director for the NBA, and asks him about Jordan Crawford: “The guy’s a great athlete. He’s an explosive jumper and finisher. He needed to improve his shooting ability and he did that. Once he transferred from Indiana, he had that year off. I know he got a lot of pub from the dunk over LeBron; that just doesn’t mean anything, because you’ve got to know how to play the game. But when you’re at 20 points, five rebounds and three assists and you improve to around 40 percent from beyond the arc, you can’t ignore that.”
  • Six draft prospects worked out for the Orlando Magic earlier today, including Crawford, Devin Ebanks, Darington Hobson, Quincy Pondexter, Andy Rautins, and Greivis Vasquez.
  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel, after writing a similar article last week, insists the Magic can’t win a championship with Rashard Lewis at power forward.
  • Grant Hill, starting small forward of Dime Magazine’s ‘All-Coulda Been’ Team: “Another legit superstar who had his best years stolen by injuries. In the season before his ankle began to betray him, Hill put up 25 points, six boards and five assists per game for the Pistons and was a nightly triple-double threat. He was going to battle Kobe Bryant as the heir to Michael Jordan’s throne. Ten years later, Hill is (albeit a solid starter in the League) just making it out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time while Kobe is being fitted for his fifth championship ring.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post takes a look at the latest mock drafts for the Magic.
  • In a 30-draftee survey compiled by ESPN the Magazine, 35 percent of the players voted Dwight Howard as the player they’d want to dunk on the most.
  • If it were up to Jameer Nelson, he’d pick Dominique Jones with the 29th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft: “You always want guys with a knack for filling up the basket, and that’s something Jones [11 25-point outings last season] can do. I’m sure we’ll be put over the edge by our pick. Once he learns the pro game, DJ is a guy who could help keep us there.”
  • Dennis Tarwood of SLAM ONLINE likes Vasquez, however: “Vasquez is the most ready to play on a big stage, having been the star of the top team of the ACC and shown an ability to hit shots close-and-late. He creates his own shots and can hit from the new three-point stripe at Amway Center. He can drive and dish in a pick-and-roll offense. At 6-5, he can stand up to point guards and tangle with shooting guards. Unfortunately, this means he can easily give up shots to both groups equally well, but this is the 2010 NBA Draft. If you’re that caught up on defense from your backup from Maryland, DJ Strawberry’s available to a good home. (Which would be a first for him, sadly.)”

Jun 21

Vince Carter’s Best Game in an Orlando Magic Uniform

Jun 21

It’s Now or Never for the Orlando Magic

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After the Los Angeles Lakers won their 16th championship in franchise history — that’s a lot — against the Boston Celtics on Thursday, one of the major storylines to emerge from the aftermath of the series was the future of the C’s. Head coach Doc Rivers dropped a bombshell, as some said, in his press conference following the Game 7 loss when he stated that he didn’t think Rasheed Wallace would play in the NBA again. Of course, that’s not all.

There’s been rampant speculation with regards to Rivers’ future with the Celtics and whether or not he will coach the team beyond this year, given that he’s openly stated that he’d like to spend more time with his family and kids in Orlando. It remains to be seen what Rivers decides to do. But one thing is for sure — assistant coach Tom Thibodeau will not be on Boston’s sidelines next season, since he will be the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls.

Lastly, there’s reports that Nate Robinson may not return to the Celtics next year. If this was a few months ago, when Robinson was relegated to the bench a majority of the time after he was traded by the New York Knicks, that bit of information would be nothing more than a footnote. However, after Robinson’s performance in Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals and in several games during the 2010 NBA Finals, he became an important role player for Boston on the grandest stage in the league. As such, Robinson’s future with the Celtics becomes relevant news. Ray Allen will be a free agent, though he’s said many times he’d like to return to Boston.

Yes, the mainstays for the Celtics will return, like Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kendrick Perkins, and Kevin Garnett, but the future of the team is up in the air. It should be assumed, out of respect for what they accomplished in the 2010 NBA Playoffs, that Boston will remain a threat to win a title next year. However, it’s fair to question whether or not the Celtics have another amazing playoff run in them. This isn’t to state Boston can’t do it again, though.

So, what does this all mean for the Orlando Magic?

Given the state of the Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers, too, the Magic have a chance to regain supremacy in the Eastern Conference and take the steps needed to win a championship. There are things working in Orlando’s favor, and they need to take advantage of them while they still can.

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Jun 18

Friday’s Magic Word

  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Quick disclaimer: I love Orlando’s style of play. It’s an energetic, fast-paced, shoot ‘em up style that has made them one of the elite teams in the NBA. But they are not the best of the best. The Los Angeles and the Boston Celtics are better because they are more physical and they are bigger. The Celtics proved that over the course of a best-of-seven series,  they could take away Orlando’s outstanding perimeter game by playing Dwight Howard without any help defense. [...] I don’t see Matt Barnes — their toughest defender outside of Dwight Howard — coming back. That will hurt. Otis Smith, the GM with great poker face, needs to work his magic one more time and figure out how to upgrade this team. I think Rashard Lewis – untradable contract in case you forgot — would be a better fit at small forward, leaving a slot open for a more physical power forward.”
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Orlando Magic aren’t a fast-paced team. During the regular season, the Magic ranked 18th in pace.
  • These are the seven things Orlando isn’t doing during the off-season.
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “[...] for Orlando Magic fans, the most interesting question is whether Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers will return. To be fair, it’s one that guys like Marc Stein were asking hours before tipoff, but you get the idea. After an emotional postgame news conference, Rivers walked off the podium to a standing ovation from the media, which veteran reporter Chris Mannix said he’d never seen. I say Rivers is relevant to the Magic’s fans because Orlando is where he and his family make their home, and he got his head-coaching start here. Despite his coaching the hated Celtics, I get the sense that Rivers is fairly well liked around town.”
  • Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress offers his take on Fran Vazquez: The Spanish big man could start on a number of NBA teams thanks to his athleticism, shot-blocking ability and rebounding prowess. But that seems unlikely at this point, as Vazquez, Rubio’s teammate in Barcelona, is comfortable in his native country and hasn’t really been courted all that heavily by Orlando.”
  • Sandy Dover of SLAM ONLINE approves of the Magic’s new logo: “As for the Magic’s logo, while I loved the personification of actual magic in the stars and stylized fonts of the older logos, changing the type face for “ORLANDO MAGIC” does make some sense for continuity purposes, especially when you’re able to see that the logo scripts match the logo’s wordmarks. I have never particularly cared for the star that the Magic have used since 1999, but that remains, and actually with the less elaborate fonts that Orlando has now installed in the insignia, the star, as is, fits. The bolder, more straightforward scripts seems genuinely more powerful and bolder, even while it’s lost a bit of snazz and uniqueness in the process.”
  • In John Hollinger’s latest NBA franchise rankings, which he updates year-by-years, Orlando jumps up to the No. 9 spot: “The Magic have been the most consistently successful of the league’s early-’90s expansion teams, and have done it while showcasing several of the game’s biggest stars. Shaq, Penny, Tracy McGrady and Dwight Howard would be all-timers in most franchise’s pantheons; Magic fans saw all four in a span of a dozen years. [...] with the current edition having posted consecutive 59-win seasons and made the 2009 Finals, Orlando seems well poised to move up the ladder. In fact, they already have — the Magic climbed six rungs since we did this exercise a year ago.”
  • Final 2009-2010 power rankings, brought to you by Basketball-Reference.
  • Nate Robinson to Orlando? A slim possibility, according to ESPN’s Rumor Central: “For as infuriating as he can be at times, Robinson’s energy off the bench is something other teams will covet. And with plenty of money to be given out this summer, Robinson will likely find a landing spot. Don’t expect him to return to the Knicks, though. One team that could bite on Robinson? Maybe Orlando, a team that could have a backup point guard void if they don’t re-sign Jason Williams or Anthony Johnson. But the Magic will be over the cap, so this seems unlikely.”
  • This isn’t the first time that Robinson’s name and the Magic have been linked together.

Jun 18

Interview with Dante & Galante, Part II

Here’s Part II of my interview (click here for Part I) with Dante Marchitelli and George Galante, the duo aptly known as “Dante & Galante.” In this segment, Dante and George reveal their future as announcers of the Orlando Pro Summer League.

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Doing the Dante & Galante show for two years, what has that experience been like for you guys?

Dante Marchitelli: It’s been great, man. It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve been doing it for a couple of years, and it just started with the idea of giving the players a different route than their standard interview. Just the opportunity to show the lighter side and their personalities, right?

George Galante: Yeah, for me, I didn’t have any broadcasting experience at all, so I would like to think that hopefully in year two, Dante wasn’t carrying [the load] as much as he had to in year one. But it’s been great, it’s been a lot of fun.

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Jun 18

This Stan Van Gundy T-Shirt Can Be Yours

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This is why the internet exists.

For $15, you can buy this phenomenal Stan Van Gundy tee. Courtesy of Berry Villegas.

Jun 17

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Here’s another guy to scratch off the Orlando Magic wish list: Dwyane Wade. He’s staying in Miami. It’s always hard to read the tea leaves when dealing with pampered egos who want more and more and more, but D-Wade seems genuinely engaged in South Florida. Here’s what Miami Heat teammate Udonis Haslem said recently: “I don’t know what he’s thinking but I would hope he would stay in Miami. “And I think he will.” Wade is said to be lobbying with some of his high profile friends and free agents to get them to sign with the Miami Heat to make a championship run.”
  • Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com reminisces on the NBA Draft and WWE Royal Rumble: “[...] the NBA Draft and Royal Rumble share a distinct relationship when it comes to looking ahead to the future. Much of the time, like it was for the Orlando Magic in 1992 and 2004 when they drafted Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard in each of those years with the first overall pick, the draft has a large influence in determining which NBA franchises will be championship contenders over the next decade. In WWE, the winner of the Royal Rumble gets an automatic shot at the title at WrestleMania. As a result, each event allows us to familiarize ourselves will eventual contenders. I love this concept. I adore the architecture of sports entertainment. It’s why everyone is so obsessed with this summer’s free agency. Everyone craves the thought of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or any of the other marquee free agents playing for their team.”
  • For those that are complaining about the new Orlando Magic logo, here’s a list of logos that are worse. Props to the Orlando Sentinel for the compilation.
  • Ben Q. Rock examines the trade assets that general manager Otis Smith has at his disposal and accurately explains the ever-confusing nature of the trade exception: “To be clear, a trade exception can’t be combined with another salary for matching purposes; the Magic can’t deal [Brandon] Bass (at $4 million) and the exception (at $6.864 million) for a player making $10.864 million. No, as Smith likes to say, ‘you don’t trade exceptions; you fill them.’ Exceptions allow teams to absorb salaries less than or equal to their value. The Magic can thus fill their exception with a player making roughly the mid-level without giving up anything for that player. Of course, they still have to pay his salary and the corresponding luxury tax hit, but purely from a roster standpoint (and not from a financial one), it’s getting something for nothing. The question Smith has to ask when it comes to using the exception is, ‘Is this player, who will still cost my ownership money, going to put us over the top?’ ”
  • Is Dwight Howard like the character ‘Kevin’ in the film “Up”?
  • Fox Sports Florida provides a preview of their Magic Postseason TV Special.

Jun 17

Interview with Dante & Galante, Part I

Photo by Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

To the locals that reside in the City Beautiful or even in the blogosphere, Dante and Galante are names that carry significance.

They are the infamous broadcast duo that have been the voices of the Orlando Pro Summer League the past two years, calling games, making jokes, and reading e-mails on live internet streams. Their wit and humor, as well as their humble and down-to-earth nature, gained them a cult following and eventually led to the creation of “Magic Overtime with Dante & Galante” — a show that offers a unique look at coaches, players, and personalities, and is aired on OrlandoMagic.com and Sun Sports. The fellas wrapped up their second season a little over a week ago.

And their official titles? Dante Marchitelli is the Radio Manager for the Orlando Magic, George Galante is the Director of Communications, and both of them have been with the franchise for over 10 years. It’s safe to say they’ve been through a lot with the Magic, both the ups and the downs.

Whenever I’ve covered games, practices, or press conferences in Orlando, I’ve chatted with Dante and George plenty of times and they’re two of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. As such, given their openness and willingness to talk, it wasn’t too hard to arrange this interview.

Each of them provide their take on the series between the Magic and the Boston Celtics, as well as make sense of the mainstream media’s treatment of Dwight Howard, and more.

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What do you think the Orlando Magic need to do to get over the hump and win a championship?

George Galante: I really think we’re right there, and the more I watch the Lakers/Celtics series, the more angry I get because I really feel like this was a year that was a wasted opportunity. Dante and I have been here for a long time, where the window was not only shut but it was sealed and dead-bolted and there was no way that you were going to get in. Now that the window has been open for us the last two or three years, to see how brief that time can be, you really need to take advantage of your opportunities. The more I watch the Lakers/Celtics series, the more angry I get that I really feel like we were the better team and we let an opportunity slip away. That’s not to take anything away from Boston. However, I think we just let an opportunity go by that we’re going to look back on in a couple years and be really ticked off about.

Dante Marchitelli: I don’t disagree with Otis [Smith], either. I don’t think you blow up the team. You’re right there. You went to the Finals two years ago, you went to the Eastern Conference Finals this year … if you win one of your first two games, you win the series. You lose a Game 6 and come home to win a Game 7, so you’re right there. Whatever the reason was that you couldn’t win one of those two games, you got to make a couple of tweaks this year and you hope that you’ve done enough to do that next year.

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Jun 16

Before Dwight Howard, There Was Shaquille O’Neal

Jun 16

Magic Postseason TV Special Premieres Saturday

Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Via Fox Sports Florida:

All-new TV show, “Southern Ford Dealers Orlando Magic Postseason Special,” premieres statewide on Sun Sports Saturday, 6/19 – the Orlando Magic postseason special includes player and media interviews and gives viewers an unparalleled glimpse into the team’s 2009-2010 season.

  • Paul Kennedy recaps the Orlando Magic’s playoff run into the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • Sun Sports & FOX Sports Florida’s Magic announcers, David Steele and Matt Guokas, take a look at all the positives from the team’s second consecutive 59-win season.
  • The show includes a feature on Center Dwight Howard’s remarkable season in which he was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and led the league in blocks and rebounds.
  • Whit Watson goes 1-on-1 with Magic GM Otis Smith to get his thoughts on this past season, and what is in store for the team’s future.
  • Viewers will get a sneak peek at the progress of the new Amway Center, which will open its doors for the first time starting with the 2010-2011 season.
  • The show will also feature a countdown of the Top 5 Magic Moments from the 2009-2010 season
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