Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 56

May 22

Orlando Magic ‘win’ the second pick

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Photo by Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

“With Pat Williams at the helm, did you really think the Orlando Magic were going to lose the ping pong battle? Williams is like a talisman next to a rabbit’s foot in the pocket of a voodoo priest simultaneously sticking pins in makeshift dolls of the other 13 teams.”

That’s when I jinxed the Magic. Those were the opening 44 words of the 500 or so I wrote thinking there was no way the Magic, your Magic, weren’t getting the top pick.

Then that pesky Gilbert boy with the glasses — like he lives across the BQE from me in Williamsburg — and the ho-hum Cleveland Cavaliers, aka we’re getting to the playoffs next near bro, got the pick. No, I kid. That dude is awesome.

But the rest of the Cleveland contingent decked out in annoying bow ties got all Hootie and Blowfish after Cleveland grabbed the top spot, and it became abundantly clear Dan Gilbert never taught his kids the proper respect in a place of such revelry. There’s an etiquette, and if you don’t think Kevin Love and Damian Lillard weren’t throwing shade their way, you weren’t paying attention.

I’d like to talk about the hand tattoos on the boy?, man?, sitting next to Gilbert (older son?, nephew outta Juvie?), but we’ll leave that for the fellas over here. Congrats guys, now [insert something mean about Kyrie Irving getting injured more than his Uncle Drew iteration].

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May 21

Magic get No. 2 pick in 2013 NBA Draft

Via John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com:

The Orlando Magic have become so synonymous with having lottery luck that when their number wasn’t called for the top pick in Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery, it was a surprise for almost everyone in attendance at the NBA’s Times Square Studios.

The Magic went into the lottery process armed with the best odds at winning the top selection at 25 percent, but they fell to the No. 2 spot in the draft order for the June 27 NBA Draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the lottery and will pick first overall, while the Washington Wizards will pick third.

Apr 19

5-on-5: Orlando Magic team awards

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Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

With the season over for the Orlando Magic, it’s time to hand out team awards. We asked our panel to hand in their picks for the 2012-13 season.

1. Who’s the 2012-13 most valuable player?

Evan Dunlap, Orlando Pinstriped Post: Nikola Vucevic. He played nearly 300 more minutes than anyone else on Orlando’s roster, and he’s arguably its most talented player. Those two facts give him MVP almost by default. He has a long way to go as a player, particularly defensively, but his rebounding at both ends of the floor shores up one of the four factors, at least.

Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports: Nikola Vucevic. He’s emerged as a legit starting-caliber center and rebounding machine. Outside of J.J. Redick, who was traded at the deadline, Vucevic’s consistency was unrivaled on the Magic’s roster.

Nate Drexler, Magic Basketball: Nikola Vucevic. He was by far and away the best player on this roster (team-leading 17.8 PER). We don’t have a Wins Above Replacement stat running in the NBA yet (WARP comes closest), but just take a look at Vucevic’s Win Shares and you’ll see that there is really no argument here.

Spencer Lund, Magic Basketball: J.J. Redick. His value is directly quantifiable, due to his expiring contract, which got the Magic the excellent Harris, an overlooked Lamb, who shot over 47 percent from 3-point range in 24 games, and a solid back-up in Beno. Harris alone gets Redick the MVP.

Noam Schiller, Magic Basketball: Nikola Vucevic. Arron Afflalo has a case for the team’s best player, but Vucevic gave the most value. His emergence as an elite rebounder alone makes him a long term starter, with room to grow. To a rebuilding squad, that’s value.

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Apr 18

Thursday’s Mini-Magic Word

  • Tobias Harris is one of the NBA’s top 50 most valuable assets (listed at No. 42) according to Bill Simmons of Grantland: “Harris has been a revelation: 6-foot-8, plays inside and outside, shoots 3s, rebounds.”
  • If the Orlando Magic win the 2013 draft lottery, can they afford to take the risk by selecting Nerlens Noel (who’s recovering from a torn ACL) with the top overall pick?
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “The combination of Orlando’s loss Wednesday in Miami and Charlotte’s home win meant that the Magic will have the best odds at getting the top overall pick in the June 27 NBA Draft. The draft order will be determined on May 21 in the NBA’s lottery system. The Magic will have 250 combinations in the draft lottery or a 25 percent shot at getting the top overall selection. They have a 21.5 percent shot at the No. 2 pick, a 17.8 percent shot at No. 3 and 35.7 percent odds at the No. 4 slot. Because they have the NBA’s worst record, the Magic can fall no lower than the fourth pick in the draft.”
  • The Magic finish the regular season by ranking dead last in USA TODAY’s power rankings.

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.

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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.
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