- John Schuhmann of NBA.com: The Magic have won six of their last seven at home, scoring 107.1 points per 100 possessions, but have lost 15 straight on the road, scoring just 93.6. So when they play in Philadelphia on Wednesday, something has got to give. With Glen Davis gone, Tobias Harris has moved to power forward and totaled 50 points on 17-for-26 shooting (9-for-9 in the restricted area) in two games over the weekend.”
- Buying out Big Baby’s contract will pay dividends for Orlando.
- The Magic are average at home (14-15), but horrendous on the road (3-26).
- What’s the latest tank rank report on Orlando? Chad Ford of ESPN Insider has the goods.
- Victor Oladipo became the first Magic rookie since Penny Hardaway to post multiple 20-point, 10-assist games. Not bad company.
- A list of players that played 20 minutes or less in a Magic uniform.
- Zach Harper of CBSSports.com on Orlando’s oddness: “The Magic have just been confusing this season. They’re just competitive enough while still being fairly overmatched in most games. They didn’t trade away Arron Afflalo and will end up saving a few bucks on Glen Davis with his buyout after not moving him at the deadline. They won three straight games a couple weeks ago with two of those victories happening against the Pacers and Thunder. They’ve followed that up with losing four out of their last five, including losses to the Bucks and Cavs. Their win was an overtime victory over the Knicks.”
- E’Twaun Moore talks about his patented floater and the work he’s put in to make that type of shot with consistency.
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel with news on two players expected to sign 10-day contracts with the Magic: “The Magic expect to formally sign 6-foot-6 swingman Adonis Thomas and 7-foot big man Dewayne Dedmon to 10-day deals on Tuesday. The team wanted to wait to sign both players in order to prevent their 10-day clocks from beginning on Monday.”
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young
4-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 STL | 4 REB | 11 PTS | -13
Not the best game for Vucevic. The only silver lining is that he didn’t get outplayed by his counterpart Jonas Valanciunas. Vucevic did get outplayed by his teammate Kyle O’Quinn, however. O’Quinn had 10 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Although Vucevic is a better player than O’Quinn, he’s not the better passer. That much was obvious versus Toronto, as O’Quinn had some beautiful assists.
10-15 FG | 7-8 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 28 PTS | -14
With Arron Afflalo out (ankle), someone had to step up and assume his role as the Magic’s primary scorer. That man was Harris, who is quickly validating Orlando’s decision to make him the full-time power forward after buying out Glen Davis’ contract. Harris could do little wrong against the Raptors. He got to the rim with ease. His jump shot was falling. But it wasn’t enough.
7-15 FG | 1-3 3P | 4 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | -2
Moore was the only other Magic player, aside from Harris, that had any sort of success offensively. It seemed like Moore couldn’t miss a floater, though he didn’t have the same success with his jump shot. Nevertheless, he played one of his better games of the regular season and came two points shy of matching his career-high in points (18).
4-13 FG | 2-3 3P | 5 STL | 4 REB | 11 PTS | -22
After terrorizing the New York Knicks on Friday, Oladipo was subdued by the Raptors’ defense (a top 10 unit in the NBA). Oladipo tried time and again to score by driving to the basket, but he was constantly stonewalled by Toronto’s bigs. They made it difficult for Oladipo to convert layups, using their collective length to block or alter his attempts.
There was no bigger All-Star snub in the Eastern Conference than Kyle Lowry. He’s been the best point guard in the East and he proved it against Orlando with a scintillating offensive performance, in which he was drilling 3s and getting to the free throw line at will. Lowry finished with 28 points (7-for-13 shooting from the floor), including 17 in the third quarter.
- Teams: Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors
- Date: February 23, 2014
- Time: 6:00 p.m.
- Television: Fox Sports Florida
- Arena: Air Canada Centre
- Magic: 17-40
- Raptors: 30-25
- Jameer Nelson
- Victor Oladipo
- Maurice Harkless
- Tobias Harris
- Nikola Vucevic
- Kyle Lowry
- DeMar DeRozan
- Terrence Ross
- Amir Johnson
- Jonas Valanciunas
- Pace: 93.7 (16th of 30)
- Offensive Rating: 101.4 (27th of 30)
- Defensive Rating: 106.8 (17th of 30)
- Pace: 92.0 (24th of 30)
- Offensive Rating: 107.2 (10th of 30)
- Defensive Rating: 104.1 (8th of 30)
Read about the Raptors
AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
11-18 FG | 6-9 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 32 PTS | -9
It’s been a while since Afflalo scored 30-plus points. You have to go back to the first month of the season to find a game where he scored that many. Afflalo’s finest moments were his 14-point first quarter, and his clutch shooting in the fourth quarter and both overtimes. Unfortunately for Afflalo, his night was cut short when he sprained his right ankle late in double-overtime.
7-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 15 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | -7
Vucevic is lucky that the Magic won this game because he would have been the goat had they lost. He botched two potential game-winning shots at the end of regulation and the first overtime. The first was a wild running hook and the second was a point-blank layup. But Orlando came away victorious, so Vucevic escapes the wrath of Magic fans.
11-23 FG | 6-6 FT | 9 REB | 14 AST | 30 PTS | +20
The battle for MVP between Kevin Durant and LeBron James is heating up, and so is the race for Rookie of the Year between Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams. Oladipo went on a rampage against the Knicks. He dished out a career-high 14 assists (including a sweet dime to Maurice Harkless for a layup). He matched Carmelo Anthony point-for-point in the overtime periods. Oladipo was brilliant.
7-11 FG | 8-8 FT | 1 BLK | 8 REB | 22 PTS | -4
In the first game of the post-Glen Davis era, Harris got the start at power forward and quickly reminded everyone why he’s so lethal at that position — at least offensively — with his 22-point, 8-rebound performance. The lone negative is that Melo systematically dismembered Harris on defense. It got so bad that head coach Jacque Vaughn was forced to use Harkless to slow Melo down in the second half.
|New York Knicks
New York couldn’t have asked for more. Melo scored 44 points. The much-maligned Raymond Felton had one of his better games in recent weeks. And yet the Knicks lost. How? Their defense failed them. They allowed the Magic, a team that ranks 27th in Offensive Rating, to score 129 points. The more the losses pile up for New York, the bleaker their playoff hopes look.
- Teams: New York Knicks at Orlando Magic
- Date: February 21, 2014
- Time: 7:00 p.m.
- Television: Fox Sports Florida
- Arena: Amway Center
- Knicks: 21-33
- Magic: 16-40
- Raymond Felton
- Pablo Prigioni
- J.R. Smith
- Carmelo Anthony
- Tyson Chandler
- Jameer Nelson
- Victor Oladipo
- Arron Afflalo
- Tobias Harris
- Nikola Vucevic
- Pace: 90.4 (29th of 30)
- Offensive Rating: 106.6 (12th of 30)
- Defensive Rating: 108.4 (24th of 30)
- Pace: 93.8 (16th of 30)
- Offensive Rating: 101.0 (27th of 30)
- Defensive Rating: 106.7 (17th of 30)
Read about the Knicks
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
According to Yahoo! Sports, the Magic and Glen Davis reached a buyout agreement that would allow Davis to join a contender. Our writers weigh in on the aftermath of the buyout deal.
1. Good deal for the Magic?
Jacob Frankel: Yes. The primary motivation for this deal is to open up time for the young guys while not having to deal with the antics from Davis. There’s now about 30 minutes a game that can be redistributed among Andrew Nicholson, Tobias Harris, and Kyle O’Quinn.
Spencer Lund: Yes. They needed to cut ties with their up-and-down Shrek. The overlap between Big Baby and Tobias Harris is why we still don’t really know if Harris can be a starter on a playoff team, since he’s always fluctuating between forward spots. The moodiness in the locker room is an awful ailment to expose to the young guys.
Andrew Lynch: Yes. As good a deal as paying someone a tidy sum to play elsewhere can be. Orlando absolutely needed to rid themselves of Davis’ attitude before he dragged the locker room any further into the morass. And with Davis gone, the future is without a doubt now for the young bigs.
2. Good deal for the Glen Davis?
Frankel: Yes. This works out well for Davis, too. He won’t have to deal with playing sparingly on a bad team and will likely be signed by a contender. Yahoo! Sports reported a possible reunion with Doc Rivers in Los Angeles, and he could work nicely as a third big for the Clippers.
Lund: Yes. He needs to be a in a winning situation. The plunge from the Ubuntu Celtics to the last couple years in Orlando has been difficult on him. He was never a primary offensive force, more like a tertiary scoring option. But now he might be re-united with his old coach, or land with any number of contenders.
Lynch: Yes. Davis gets a lump payment, and a ticket out of town and away from the rebuilding process with the Magic. He’ll likely end up with a contender, play a few minutes in the postseason, and tell everyone how miserable he was in Orlando — without realizing he was such a big part of the problem.
3. Which Magic player benefits the most from Davis’ absence?
Frankel: Kyle O’Quinn. He’s been playing more and more of late, and we saw him reap the benefits of not being constrained by Davis’ presence. He’s excellent in the pick-and-roll because of his feathery finishing and passing touch, and he even has flashed a solid midrange game, a great asset for a 6-foot-10 guy.
Lund: Tobias Harris. He’s the slinky wing-forward to Davis’ bruising forward-center in a league that’s becoming position-less. Harris has struggled this year, but he showed enough last year that he deserves heavy rotation minutes to figure out just what the Magic picked up in that Redick deal exactly a year ago at deadline time. Davis’ departure expedites our knowledge of Harris.
Lynch: Andrew Nicholson. Tobias Harris and Kyle O’Quinn will still get more minutes than Nicholson, but Big Baby’s departure means that Nicholson actually gets to see the floor. He’s averaged 10 minutes per game after falling out of the rotation in December. That number should double in March and April.
Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images
The tie that binds has been severed in Orlando, as the Magic agreed to a buyout with the much-maligned power forward Glen Davis after the trade deadline had passed. Big Baby was under contract for $6.4 million this season and was set to earn $6.6 million next season.
Although the details of the buyout were not disclosed, it’s clear that no price was too steep to free this young team from the cloud that Davis had cast over the organization.
All in all, Davis is a fine basketball player. He’s not very efficient on offense, largely due to his propensity for the long twos that drove Magic fans insane in recent years, but he’s a solid defensive player.
When he’s happy, he certainly has value, and a contender such as the Los Angeles Clippers will look to add Davis for frontcourt depth and whatever nebulous “championship experience” he might bring from his time with former coach Doc Rivers in Boston.
The issue for Davis and Orlando? He’s been anything but content with the losing and, at times, aimless progress of a rebuild. His stint with the Celtics, along with his first year in Orlando, conditioned Big Baby to a certain level of success. When the bottom fell out, he was in no condition to play the good soldier.
That by no means excuses everything that’s gone wrong for Davis as a member of the Magic, however. Quite the contrary. A player with his exposure to the necessity of veteran leadership and locker room chemistry should have been capable of instilling the right mindset and work ethic in the younger players. Instead, Davis has been a tempest inside a volcano inside a pressure cooker, ready to explode on keyboards and sulk on the hardwood.
Yet coach Jacque Vaughn had to make the best of a bad situation, and that often involved playing Davis. If Big Baby seemed a malcontent while garnering regular minutes, the thought of his destructive wake had he been benched clearly chilled the imagination of the Magic organization. The threat of a full scale mutiny, coupled with young bigs still learning the nuances of playing professionally, meant far more minutes for Davis than would seem wise for a team in Orlando’s position.
Such risk is now a thing of the past, and Davis’ departure opens the door wide and clear for the likes of Tobias Harris, Kyle O’Quinn, and Andrew Nicholson. With an additional 30 minutes per game to go around, those three have the most to gain in terms of playing time, growth and exposure.
Vaughn’s trust in veterans means more minutes for Jason Maxiell, in all likelihood, too, so it won’t be all youth movements and summer daises in Orlando.
But the present is about the future for the Magic, and the more they learn about how their three young bigs fit into their plans going forward, the better off they’ll be. Can Harris handle an increased workload at power forward, or is he better off playing the three? How effective can O’Quinn be if he, in turn, can focus on being a backup center full-time? And can Nicholson just get some damn minutes, please?
With Davis’s buyout, there’s no longer any excuse to prolong finding out. Orlando is officially in a new era. For now, it’ll look a lot like the past year or two — development of young talent, some rough times, and eyes toward the horizon. But don’t let the superficial similarities fool you — in the land of the Magic, 2014 is the first year After Davis.
Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images
The Orlando Magic have reached an agreement on a contract buyout with forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis, sources told Yahoo Sports. [...]
Magic officials want to start giving more playing time to their young corps of forwards, including Andrew Nicholson, and were concerned with how Davis would handle a diminished role.
Davis, 28, is being paid $6.4 million this season and $6.6 million next season. The 6-foot-9, 289-pounder averaged 12.1 points and 6.3 rebounds this season for Orlando.
Davis would have to clear waivers following a buyout to become an unrestricted free agent.