Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 45

Apr 18

The road ahead for the Magic

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AP Photo/John Raoux

The 30-year-old whippersnapper general manager of the Orlando Magic, Rob Hennigan, was brought in to lead the Orlando Magic brain trust in their attempt to remake the roster through draft picks, not with the usual flashy free agent signings. It’s a track similar to the one navigated by his mentors — Sam Presti in Oklahoma City and R.C. Buford in San Antonio.

There will be no Rashard Lewis signing or other overpriced free agent bluster debuting at Amway Center next year, but that’s fine because the rebuilding process begins with the ability for Hennigan and his staff to identify draft diamonds and facilitate adroit trades, which have brought his tutors in Oklahoma City and San Antonio multiple playoff berths and championships.

That could be the Magic’s future as well, because Hennigan has already proven himself to be an astute judge of talent with his acquisitions over the first year of his tenure.

Hennigan’s transactions thus far have included trading the unhappy Dwight Howard and the expiring contract of J.J. Redick for solid returns on investment, even with a cloud of initial skepticism hovering over the former. 

It doesn’t require a stretch of the imagination to believe that he’ll do the same in the 2013 draft, regardless of what the ping pong balls spit out on May 21 when the lottery takes place. Hennigan has earned the trust of the Magic fanbase by the deft way he’s handled this first post-Dwight season despite finishing with the worst record in the league (20-62).

Orlando has got some great, young talent in the frontcourt, a stable of draft picks coming over the next four or five years as part of the Howard trade, and assuming they waive Hedo, they’ll be eight figures under the cap next season. He’s effectively gotten the franchise back to the tabula rasa setting fans have wanted since Dwight first called that awkward press conference with Stan.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 18

Video: Maurice Harkless earns frequent flyer miles

Apr 18

Grades: Miami Heat 105, Orlando Magic 93

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Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

 

Miami Heat 105 Final
Recap | Box Score
93 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
9-13 FG | 2-3 FT | 1 STL | 13 REB | 20 PTS | -1

Not his usual 20-20 game against this Heat team, but Vucevic did manage to score 20 points and grab 10 rebounds before the fourth quarter. He looked really comfortable working against the undersized Udonis Haslem in the post, but the Birdman snuffed out a lazy offensive rebound putback near the end of the second quarter. It was a solid game for Vucevic, but against inferior competition.

Tobias Harris
7-16 FG | 5-11 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS | -8

On defense, Harris needs to make sure he’s not getting caught in the paint too often because it meant open 3s for Miami. He was his usual slashing self, able to get a good look in the lane a handful of times, but his defense was lackadaisical and he almost fouled out. His 5-for-11 performance rom the line would be worse if the whole team hadn’t been so bad.

Beno Udrih
5-8 FG | 2-4 FT | 3 REB | 14 AST | 13 PTS | -12

Udrih was part of the reason the Magic had 10 first half turnovers. And he got caught watching the ball a couple times defensively, with Mike Miller knocking down open 3s in the corners. He also struggled to guard Wade, but that’s to be expected. He shot the ball decently enough, but was primarily concerned with dishing the ball to his teammates.

Andrew Nicholson
6-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | -10

Nicholson only played 10 minutes, but during that brief spurt, he was 6-for-8 from the field. You got to love his hook shot, which he’s equally adept at making with both hands, but most of his buckets came during garbage time. He must’ve pissed head coach Jacque Vaughn off or something to only get 10 minutes of playing time, so that’s a demerit.

Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade shook some of the rust off that accrued during his sabbatical (to rest a sore right knee) and the Heat controlled this game from the outset. They even held Vucevic — their nemesis on the boards — in check. Wade looked explosive with the time off, and had 21 points and 10 dimes. Mike Miller chipped in with 21 by going 6-for-9 from deep.

Apr 17

Preview: Orlando Magic at Miami Heat

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Miami Heat
  • Date: April 17, 2013
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: AmericanAirlines Arena

Records

  • Magic: 20-61
  • Heat: 65-16

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Beno Udrih
  • E’Twaun Moore
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Tobias Harris
  • Nikola Vuvevic

Heat:

  • Norris Cole
  • Dwyane Wade
  • Mike Miller
  • Juwan Howard
  • Udonis Haslem

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.2 (15th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.6 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.1 (25th of 30)

Heat:

  • Pace: 90.6 (23rd of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 112.3 (2nd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 103.8 (9th of 30)

Read about the Heat

Heat Index

Apr 17

Wednesday’s Mini-Magic Word

  • A look back at Jacque Vaughn’s first season as the head coach of the Orlando Magic.
  • Maurice Harkless gets recognition for his solid rookie season.
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “It seems all but certain this will be the final regular-season day of Turkoglu’s Magic tenure. Turkoglu is one of the key players in franchise history, but at 34 years old, he doesn’t fit into the team’s long-term plans. Plus, only $6 million of his $12 million salary for next season is guaranteed. It would make financial sense for the Magic to buy-out his contract.”
  • The Magic are hoping to end the season on a positive note. They face off against the Miami Heat in tonight’s game.

Apr 16

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • The Orlando Magic got shellacked by the Chicago Bulls in last night’s game.
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Vucevic has become one of the NBA’s most dominant and consistent rebounders in just his second NBA season. Harris has evolved into a go-to scorer capable of a couple of 30-point games and nine 20-point games since joining the Magic in late February. Then, there’s Harkless, who at 19 years old, has already guarded a Who’s Who of NBA stars and seems to be making strides offensively from night to night. Add in the promise of first-round pick Andrew Nicholson and scrappy rookies Doron Lamb, Kyle O’Quinn and Jones and it’s easy to see why the Magic feel that brighter days are ahead for the franchise as their young players continue to blossom.”
  • Maurice Harkless gets the Most Improved Player award among rookies this season.
  • In the same link, David Thorpe of ESPN Insider names Harkless and Andrew Nicholson to his All-Rookie Second team.
  • Take a look at the top plays of the season for the Magic.

Apr 16

Video: Nikola Vucevic with the steal and slam

Apr 16

Grades: Chicago Bulls 102, Orlando Magic 84

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AP Photo/John Raoux

 

Chicago Bulls 102 Final
Recap | Box Score
84 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
6-13 FG | 5-6 FT | 3 STL | 14 REB | 17 PTS | -25

Tobias Harris
8-17 FG | 4-7 FT | 4 REB | 4 AST | 20 PTS | -15

Maurice Harkless
6-12 FG | 4-7 FT | 2 STL | 5 REB | 16 PTS | -18

Kyle O’Quinn
3-6 FG | 2-4 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +2

Chicago Bulls

Apr 15

Preview: Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic
  • Date: April 15, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Bulls: 43-37
  • Magic: 20-60

Probable starters

Bulls:

  • Kirk Hinrich
  • Marco Belinelli
  • Jimmy Butler
  • Luol Deng
  • Carlos Boozer

Magic:

  • Beno Udrih
  • E’Twaun Moore
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Tobias Harris
  • Nikola Vuvevic

Advanced stats

Bulls:

  • Pace: 89.4 (27th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 103.3 (23rd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 103.2 (7th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 92.2 (14th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.7 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.0 (25th of 30)

Read about the Bulls

Bulls by the Horns

Apr 15

Monday’s Magic Word

  • David Aldridge of NBA.com selects Nikola Vucevic as his choice for Most Improved Player: “Vucevic gets the nod for doubling his points and rebounds over his rookie season in Philadelphia. Traded south as part of the Dwight Howard-Andrew Bynum-Andre Iguodala four-team deal, Vucevic is second in the league in rebounding (11.9 rpg, behind only Howard) and is shooting 51.7 percent for the otherwise woeful Magic. Vucevic grabbed a season-high 29 boards with 20 points for the Magic against Miami in December, and has 44 double-doubles, tied for third in the league.”
  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com on the Orlando Magic: “Believe it or not, after their first 25 games, these Magic were 12-13 and ranked sixth defensively. That was a long time ago and since then, they’ve played (and defended) their way into a guaranteed top-five pick. It will take more than that to get them back to respectability, but this is the path they chose, which is certainly better than having traded for Andrew Bynum (but maybe not Brook Lopez).”
  • Tobias Harris and Maurice Harkless have shown flashes of promise in the eyes of ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.
  • Harris says that the Magic’s goal next season should be to make the playoffs, but with a loaded 2014 draft coming up, that may not be such a good idea.
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com praises Magic fans for coming out and supporting the team in a rebuilding year: “Despite the 20-60 record, Orlando still ranks 15th in the NBA in home attendance at 17,602 fans a night. To put that into perspective, Orlando’s average home attendance is better than that of six teams headed to the playoffs – Atlanta, Brooklyn, Houston, Indiana, Memphis and Milwaukee.”
  • Head coach Jacque Vaughn earns a “C+” for the job he’s done coaching this season.
  • Sean Highkin of USA TODAY Sports is excited that Orlando will be wearing throwback jerseys for select games next season in honor of the franchise’s 25-year anniversary.
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