Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 230

Jul 06

Source: Orlando Magic to Sign Chris Duhon to a Four Year, $15 Million Contract

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Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

Otis Smith’s persistent interest and the Orlando Magic’s chance to win now helped lead Chris Duhon to reach an agreement with the defending Southeast Division champions, Duhon’s agent, Kevin Bradbury, told the Orlando Sentinel minutes ago. […]

The agreement — first reported by ESPN.com’s Chad Ford — is for $15 million over four years, Bradbury said. Teams can’t officially sign free agents to deals until 12:01 Thursday morning, and Bradbury said he expects the deal to signed and finalized on Thursday.

Chris Duhon played alongside J.J. Redick at Duke during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 college seasons.

“He’s already friends with Jameer [Nelson] and Dwight [Howard] and also J.J. from their days at Duke,” Bradbury said. ”He knows some other guys on the team, too. So, I feel that he thinks he’s a good fit. He’s coming into a situation where the team’s a winner and he’s coming into a role where he feels like he can help out.”

Tomorrow, check back for analysis on the Duhon signing.

Jul 06

Preview: Utah Jazz vs. Orlando Magic

1:00 EDT | NBA TV
53-29 @ 59-23
Pythagorean Record: 55-27 Pythagorean Record: 61-21
Pace: 93.8 (9th) Pace: 92.0 (18th)
Offensive Rating: 110.7 (8th) Offensive Rating: 111.4 (4th)
Defensive Rating: 105.0 (10th) Defensive Rating: 103.3 (3rd)
RDV Sportsplex | 2010 Orlando Pro Summer League

Jul 05

Monday’s Magic Word

  • Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel: “[Daniel] Orton admitted to coming into camp a little bit out of shape and has been working hard to get in shape. “I didn’t want to tell [Patrick Ewing] but my legs are dead I had no explosiveness right now,” Orton said. “I’m not trying to use that as an excuse, it’s the truth.” Orton said he is glad to get his first Summer League start out of the way. His brother texted him this morning asking if he was nervous. Orton told him no, but about 30 minutes later replied again that he was. Those nerves will come and go throughout the week. He’s looking forward to learning from Ewing and Dwight Howard and has been in touch with Howard periodically since he was drafted two weeks ago. Orton said Vince Carter, who watched the Magic’s game, told him to relax after his ejection.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “[Stanley] Robinson grew up in Birmingham, Ala., where he received the nickname “Sticks” as a seventh-grader because he was one of the skinniest players on his middle-school football team. Robinson felt happy that the [Orlando] Magic drafted him partly because Orlando and Birmingham are just a short plane ride away. His girlfriend, Martia Simmons, and their two daughters, 5-year-old Kamilah and 3-year-old Kelsi, still live in Alabama. Magic officials interviewed Robinson during the NBA’s predraft camp in Chicago, and during that conversation, they asked him about his leave of absence from UConn. Robinson told them he left school to pay for Kamilah’s and Kelsi’s daycare costs. Robinson never expected to spend any of his college years working in an industrial plant, sorting scrap metals and plastics and stacking aluminum rims. He worked with 11 other people, half of whom didn’t speak English. Robinson carried a small, circular magnet in his pocket and held the magnet to pieces of metal. Any scraps that attracted the magnet had to be separated from the other metals. It was mind-numbing work, but Robinson did his job well.”
  • When it comes to free agency, general manager Otis Smith is not in a rush.
  • The 2010 Orlando Pro Summer League is all work and no play.
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post recaps the Orlando Magic’s loss to the Indiana Pacers.
  • Not a good day for Daniel Orton.
  • Daniel Marks of Dime Magazine thinks Stanley Robinson has a future with the Magic: “Robinson is one of the most athletic players in the draft and could be a real steal for Orlando. Stan Van Gundy preaches defense, and Robinson has the ability to lock down guys on the perimeter. With Matt Barnes a free agent and rumors that Mickael Pietrus could be on his way out of town, Robinson should be with the Magic in November.”
  • Patrick Ewing Jr. is a player to watch at Summer League in Orlando: “Somehow, he’s already 26 years old. The former Georgetown player is taking the ol’ Little League route: if you can’t make a team, get your dad to coach and reap the benefits. All jokes aside, Ewing Jr. is an NBA athlete that a lot of people had pegged as a sleeper when he declared for the Draft. He doesn’t have many skills, but he is 6-8 and has some potential as a defensive stopper. Orlando could be a good spot for him.”
  • Dwight Howard will not play in the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey.

Jul 05

Recap: Indiana Pacers 86, Orlando Magic 77

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AP Photo/John Raoux

BOX SCORE

The Indiana Pacers were able to defeat the Orlando Magic by the score of 86-77 on the first day of the 2010 Orlando Pro Summer League. Lance Stephenson — the Pacers’ second round pick — was spectacular, as he finished the game with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting, four rebounds, and three assists. Indiana’s lottery pick, Paul George, had a quiet day, with 12 points and four rebounds. The Magic were led by Jeff Adrien, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds in roughly 20 minutes of action. Patrick Ewing Jr. had 17 points for Orlando, but it took him 15 shots to get to that total.

The Pacers jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter and the Magic never seriously threatened in the game, despite being able to stay within striking distance throughout.

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Jul 05

Preview: Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic

3:00 EDT | NBA TV
32-50 @ 59-23
Pythagorean Record: 33-49 Pythagorean Record: 61-21
Pace: 97.1 (2nd) Pace: 92.0 (18th)
Offensive Rating: 103.7 (26th) Offensive Rating: 111.4 (4th)
Defensive Rating: 106.8 (14th) Defensive Rating: 103.3 (3rd)
RDV Sportsplex | 2010 Orlando Pro Summer League

Jul 05

Interview with Glenn Logan of A Sea of Blue

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Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Today marks the first day of the 2010 Orlando Pro Summer League and with it comes the start of life in the pros for Orlando Magic rookie Daniel Orton, a center from the University of Kentucky that was selected with the No. 29 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. For the next five days, Orton will get a chance to showcase his skills against fellow rookies and NBA players, as well as play in front of coaches, scouts, and team personnel.

Not many Magic fans know about Orton, which is why I sought out Glenn Logan from A Sea of Blue — a site that covers Kentucky Wildcats basketball and other sports — to provide insight about him. Orton was one of five players from Kentucky to be selected in the first round of the draft, yet less is known about him compared to his teammates like John Wall and others.

Why is that? Logan will explain.

A few days ago, I was able to ask Logan a few questions about Orton and what he might be able to bring to the table for the Magic as he begins his NBA career.

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Understandably, not many people know much about Daniel Orton as a player, given that he played limited minutes at Kentucky. However, when Orton did play, what were his strengths and weaknesses on the court?

Strengths: Rebounding and post defense — Daniel Orton is a big body, and he knows how to use it inside. Orton can get deep position and really lean on smaller players. As a rebounder, he averaged 7.8% defensive and 8.2% offensive rebounds for the team in only 6.5 minutes per game.

But where Orton really excelled is in defense. Despite his limited minutes, Orton got almost 20% of the team’s blocks. DeMarcus Cousins, by way of comparison, played 3 times as many minutes and got 24% of the team’s blocks.

Weaknesses: Offense and experience — Orton was a serviceable inside player, but he managed a true shooting % of only 53%. Compare that to 58% by Cousins and 60% by Patrick Patterson, and you can see that he wasn’t a very efficient offensive player.

Orton was capable of getting deep position and displayed good but not great footwork. He has a very soft touch and good hands, and has range out to 20 feet, but he almost never shot anything other than a layup at Kentucky, because Calipari wanted him in the role of a true center. Orton does have power forward skills, and has a surprisingly good handle for a man his size.

Orton has very little experience playing high level basketball, as his 6 minutes per game will attest.

Orton does not have is explosiveness or quickness, but he is much more agile than you might suspect. He can get off the floor very well (better than Cousins), and has excellent upper and lower body strength. Orton is coachable and intelligent.

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Jul 03

There’s a Reason Why the Orlando Magic Like C.J. Watson

Jul 03

Free Agent Notebook, Day 3: Matt Barnes, C.J. Watson, and More

To better make sense of the madness that is free agency, especially considering their historical ramifications within the framework of the NBA, I’m going to aggregate any facts and rumors that pertain to the Orlando Magic into a notebook-type post. The posts will be constructed daily at 12:00 PM EDT and updated throughout the day. Make sure to check back when updates are made available. I’ll post a time-stamp at the beginning of the posts to make it easier for you, the reader, to know about the latest news. I’ll make notifications on Twitter, too. As the free agent period begins to wind down and the Magic fill out their roster, the notebooks will be posted sporadically — every few days or so. I know my friend and former colleague, Ben Q. Rock, is doing a similar thing at Orlando Pinstriped Post (without the updates, I believe) so I’ll try to mix things up as much as possible to avoid redundancy.

Also, if you happen to come across any free agent or trade news related to the Magic, feel free to pass it along in the comments section and you’ll get a hat tip in the post for the scoop.

With that said, let’s get to it.

UPDATED as of 9:59 PM EDT.

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Jul 03

Some Brief Thoughts on Chris Paul

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Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Sam Amick of NBA FanHouse:

He’s not a free agent, and he’s certainly far from free.

But Chris Paul is possibly this: the summer’s next storyline.

It often goes that way when a rising star is stuck with a team on the decline, and the signs are strong that the fifth-year pro wants out. He means it when he says he loves New Orleans, and those who know him say it’s not his style to demand a trade in the city that adores him back, but the continuing ownership uncertainty and bleak organizational outlook are clearly an irritant to the three-time All-Star.

“(Paul’s frustration) is very real, very real,” said a source close to Paul. “He doesn’t see them putting a (championship-caliber) team together.” […]

New Orleans already turned down aggressive proposals from Portland and New Jersey, according to sources, and FanHouse reported on talks with Orlando that were denied by general manager Otis Smith days before additional reports surfaced about his pursuit of Paul.

Paul has three years and a combined $49 million left on his contract, with the final season a player option. It is believed any hopeful suitor would have to take center Emeka Okafor back in a possible deal, thus relieving the cap- and cash-strapped Hornets of his contract worth an astounding $52.1 million over the next four years.

With free agency just a few days old, most of the attention from the mainstream media and the blogosphere has been focused on the three amigos — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. They are the crown jewels of the 2010 free agent class, and everyone is eagerly following their every move. However, there is — at his best — a top five player and the best point guard in the NBA lurking in the shadows. An enigma, in terms of his availability, among the transparent.

That person, of course, is Chris Paul.

James, Wade, and Bosh have control over their destinies and the ability to write their futures as they see it. Paul, on the other hand, does not have that power … not yet, at least. Paul is bound by the max contract extension he signed with the New Orleans Hornets in 2008 after leading a team that was one win away from reaching the Western Conference Finals. However, two years have passed since the Hornets’ memorable run and things have changed. New Orleans isn’t winning and the vultures are circling as an ownership change, which might ultimately decide Paul’s fate, is on the fritz and may not happen. Plus, Paul is becoming very vocal about wanting to win, whether it’s with the Hornets or with another team.

With reports that the Orlando Magic have inquired about Paul and Dwight Howard hoping that general manager Otis Smith can acquire the all-world point guard, free agency is becoming more interesting by the day. Magic fans are whetting their appetite whenever any relevant news about Paul’s future shows up on the internet. The idea of a player of Paul’s caliber possibly being available is a fascinating secondary narrative to the main story surrounding James, Wade, and Bosh.

The odds of Paul being traded are slim to none but as the weeks go by, it’s a story that people will continue to latch onto.

Jul 02

What About Brandon Bass?

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel:

What happens if the [Orlando] Magic trade Marcin Gortat, presumably to get an upgrade at power forward and move Rashard Lewis to small forward?

Who the heck is going to be the Magic backup center?

It’s not going to be Daniel Orton. He was barely a presence at the University of Kentucky last season. He is looking at “redshirt” year in the NBA. Adonal Foyle is likely to retire.

I don’t see anyone who fits the bill, with the possible exception of Brad Miller, who could command Orlando’s mid-level exception. The Boston Celtics are reportedly targeting Miller to replace Rasheed Wallace.

The answer to that question might be Brandon Bass, believe it or not, the diminutive power forward that received little playing time this year yet ironically won over the hearts of Magic fans in the process.

Before arriving to the Orlando Magic as a free agent last season, Bass played back-up center for the Dallas Mavericks and the arrangement worked out okay. Or as well as you could expect it to work out at least, having an undersized power forward play at center. Part of the reason that Bass can get away with playing the center position is that he makes up for his lack of height with his athleticism and strength. Bass is just as strong as other centers but more importantly, he’s quicker than them which can partially make up the fact that they have a size advantage over him.

But as was the case with the Mavericks, Bass gets in trouble defensively when trying to execute defensive schemes and rotations. This is not a new development by any means for Bass, who has struggled on defense the past several years. Plus, Bass is a below-average defensive rebounder — his defensive rebound percentage of 12.6 percent was less than the league average of 14.4 percent this year. If Bass were to play center and let’s say, Rashard Lewis, was at power forward, the Magic would get pummeled on the boards. The only way Orlando could alleviate the problem, somewhat, would to have a strong rebounder like Matt Barnes at small forward, who could do his best to make up for the discrepancy. However, it’s looking less likely that Barnes will return to the Magic, so that option may not be available.

There’s no question that Bass would have his advantages on offense, given that his mid-range shooting is his greatest strength as a player and he also does well with offensive rebounds. Yet his weaknesses with defending, where he acts more on instinct than anything else, and rebounding the basketball undermine Bass’ ability to play more than spot minutes at center.

If Marcin Gortat is traded, Diaz’s question is a valid one.

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