Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 62

Feb 25

Monday’s Magic Word

  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “After just a short time in Orlando, Udrih – a native of Slovenia – said he can see how Vaughn and several disciples from the Spurs are building something quite special in Orlando. While the Magic (15-41) are in full-blown rebuilding mode now, Udrih said the foundation and culture being established with the Magic will eventually become something that will prove to be highly successful.”
  • Tobias Harris, newly acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks in the J.J. Redick trade, is wearing Dwight Howard’s old number.
  • Sean Highkin with a thoughtful piece at Hardwood Paroxysm on the Orlando Magic’s rebuilding process: “There are other paths back to contention, but as Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant, and LeBron himself have shown us, the best way for a small-market team to get great ad stay great is to land a transcendent, once-in-a-generation-level talent in the draft. That player doesn’t appear to be in this year’s draft, so the Magic are playing the long game and hoping for Wiggins or Jabari Parker.”
  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com: “The Magic added a couple more guys born in the ’90s that can help them down the line. But they’re obviously going to be a pushover for the next eight weeks (not that they haven’t been for the last eight weeks). Tobias Harris had a nice debut, with 14 points, six boards and three blocks against the Cavs on Saturday, but his jumper was off and 10 of the 14 points came against a garbage-time defense.”
  • The Magic have lost 16 of their last 17 games.
  • Orlando has some pieces to work with in Harris and Doron Lamb.

Feb 25

Recap: Cleveland Cavaliers 118, Orlando Magic 94

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

BOX SCORE

As with most games this season for the Orlando Magic, the final score is almost meaningless. A different roster brought about the same result. Orlando got blown out at home by a bad Cavs team, who pulled out a convincing 118-94 victory despite a relatively mundane 12-point performance by Kyrie Irving.

This game mattered because it served as our first look at what the new rotation will be for the rest of the season, as well as our first impressions of Doron Lamb, Tobias Harris, and Beno Udrih in a Magic jersey.

Of the three newcomers from the J.J. Redick trade, Harris was by far the most impressive. He was energetic at both ends of the floor, finishing with 14 points and three blocks. The battle for minutes at small forward between he and Moe Harkless, who also had a solid 13-point, five-rebound game, will be fascinating to watch going forward.

Udrih’s numbers weren’t spectacular, but he gave Jacque Vaughn a much-needed steadying hand at point guard with Jameer Nelson injured once again. As he’s been his entire career, he showed himself to be a smart passer and decision-maker.

Given Nelson’s deteriorating health, I almost prefer the idea of Udrih as a long-term “veteran leadership”/floor-general type as a backup point guard over Jameer for future seasons. Who he’d back up remains to be seen, however.

Lamb didn’t do much in his Magic debut, but he was always going to be a project. Given the hopeless nature of their schedule and roster this season, they can afford to bring him along slowly.

The two most impressive youngsters on Saturday, however, were Kyle O’Quinn and DeQuan Jones.

Jones had several monster dunks that brought a much-needed dose of energy to a Magic offense that looked lethargic most of the way. And O’Quinn continued his solid two-way play of late, finishing with six points, seven rebounds, and a block in just over 13 minutes. That last stat, the playing time, will likely increase in the coming weeks as he continues to make the case that he deserves more time.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Arron Afflalo led the Magic in scoring with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting and added three assists. With Nelson sidelined and Redick gone, look for Afflalo to become Orlando’s de-facto go-to option on offense.

X-Factor

The Cavs annihilated the Magic from beyond the arc. Cleveland shot 9-for-21 from three-point range, including 4-for-7 from C.J. Miles. The Magic, meanwhile, shot a measly 4-for-14. This is where losing J.J. Redick hurts them the most.

Defining Moment

The Magic kept it close in the first half, but Miles and Marreese Speights came out strong in the third quarter and helped Cleveland pull away. By the end of the quarter, it was already becoming a blowout and Orlando never got back in it.

Feb 23

Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: February 23, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Cavaliers: 17-37
  • Magic: 15-40

Probable starters

Cavaliers:

  • Kyrie Irving
  • Dion Waiters
  • Alonzo Gee
  • Tristan Thompson
  • Luke Zeller

Magic:

  • E’Twaun Moore
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Cavaliers:

  • Pace: 92.3 (11th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.8 (17th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.2 (28th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.5 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.9 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 108.0 (25th of 30)

Read about the Cavaliers

Cavs: The Blog

Feb 23

Recap: Memphis Grizzlies 88, Orlando Magic 82

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Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

BOX SCORE

The fact that Orlando didn’t get blown out by the Grizzlies is a testament to a few things: interior defense, good spot-up shooting, and the reckless abandon by which their perimeter players attacked the hoop.

You can’t put enough emphasis on the importance of scoring when you just traded J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson is sitting on the bench, and you are already suffering from a handful of injuries. Orlando only played seven guys against the Grizzlies, so their offense had to come from somewhere.

The usual suspect was Arron Afflalo, who shot the ball well enough and hit some big shots with hands in his face at moments when the Grizzlies could have run away with the game.

The unusual suspect was Mo Harkless, who finished the game with 19 points. Harkless has been on a bit of a hot streak in the past few games offensively, which appears to be a direct result of the lack of scoring options that Jacque Vaughn is working with.

The Magic offense took on a whole different look in this game as well. More than 30 percent of the teams offensive production came from spot-up shooting (typically a result of the drive and dish), per Synergy. While Afflalo was the primary beneficiary of the spot-up jumper, Harkless earned his paycheck getting to the rim with a few very athletic moments. Another factor that led to such a high percentage of spot-up shooting was the range of Andrew Nicholson, who hit several long jumpers as he flashed out of the paint.

Perhaps the biggest flaw of Magic in Friday night’s game was the play of Nikola Vucevic, who fouled out early in the fourth quarter after spending most of the third quarter on the bench with foul trouble. Zach Randolph exposed Vucevic and pounded the ball straight into the paint on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter to get Vucevic to pick up his fourth and fifth fouls. That trouble came at the tail end of a 19-3 Grizzlies run that put the game out of reach for Orlando.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Despite Harkless’ 19 points and nine rebounds, Afflalo had a more complete game with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. Afflalo knocked down jumpers in the face of a streaking Grizzlies team and was probably overall more valuable than Harkless.

X-Factor

Maurice Harkless stood out in this game. For a guy who averages less than 5 points per game, this was another unexpected performance from someone who is largely considered a defensive player.

Defining Moment

After a 19-3 Grizzlies run early in the 3rd quarter, Nikola Vucevic picked up his fourth and fifth fouls in about 10 seconds. He went on to sit for the rest of the third quarter and fouled out promptly in the final period.

Feb 22

Preview: Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies
  • Date: February 22, 2013
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: FedEx Forum

Records

  • Magic: 15-39
  • Grizzlies: 35-18

Probable starters

Magic:

  • E’Twaun Moore
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Andrew Nicholson
  • Nikola Vucevic

Grizzlies:

  • Mike Conley
  • Tony Allen
  • Tayshaun Prince
  • Zach Randolph
  • Marc Gasol

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 91.6 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.0 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 108.1 (26th of 30)

Grizzlies:

  • Pace: 89.1 (28th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.5 (17th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 100.3 (2nd of 30)

Read about the Grizzlies

3 Shades of Blue

Feb 22

3-on-3 roundtable: Evaluating the J.J. Redick trade

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Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

It finally happened. After months of being the subject of trade rumors, J.J. Redick was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks alongside Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith in exchange for Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb, and Beno Udrih.

The Bucks get a player in Redick who is arguably having the best season of his career, while the Orlando Magic acquire two young players in the second-year Harris and rookie Lamb. Udrih’s contract ($7.4 million) expires at the end of the season.

Magic Basketball evaluates the Magic trading J.J. Redick to the Bucks.

Good deal or bad deal for the Magic?

Nate Drexler: Good deal for the future. Bad deal to lose such a valued piece. It’s tough to see a guy like Redick go after he’s poured it out for the city and the team, but now the Magic have five rookies and an ideal building block for the next few years.

Sean Highkin: Good deal. They didn’t get a first round pick, but if there wasn’t one to be had, they at least came away with two cheap, young talents in Doron Lamb and Tobias Harris, as well as the expiring contract of Beno Udrih, who doesn’t compromise their future flexibility whatsoever. Trading Ayon and Josh McRoberts (the latter in a separate deal) also opens up more minutes for Kyle O’Quinn and Andrew Nicholson.

Noam Schiller: Good deal. Tobias Harris may or may not develop into a good player, but he has a shot at it. The Magic weren’t getting a player with similar upside for a late first round pick and a player with upside had to be coming back from any Redick deal.

Whose outlook improves the most because of this deal?

Drexler: Jacque Vaughn so long as he can keep his job. This is, believe it or not, an ideal situation for a coach. The future is bright with the potential to free up some cap space and some promising rookies in the lineup. Now comes the key moment — can the Magic build on this? Vaughn has to be hopeful.

Highkin: The Bucks. Redick and Mike Dunleavy might be a little redundant, but J.J.’s having a stellar year and gives the Bucks another perimeter threat who’s also a solid defender and ballhandler as they gear up for a playoff push.

Schiller: Andrew Nicholson. Between moving Ayon and the Josh McRoberts-Hakim Warrick trade, there are now very few bigs to take away the rookie’s minutes. (Now watch Jacque Vaughn go ahead and give Warrick 30 minutes a night.)

Whose outlook declines the most because of this deal?

Drexler: Probably J.J. Redick. For all the work he’s put in and the improvements he’s made, it can’t be awe-inspiring to get traded to another sub-par franchise. Redick would have been an ideal piece for a contender and he knows it. It’s hard to be a winner when you just can’t win.

Highkin: It’s a wash. The Magic probably weren’t going to re-sign Redick anyway and they were already plenty terrible with him on the team. They aren’t going to get better this season from this deal, but Rob Hennigan’s rebuilding plan continues to fall into place.

Schiller: There isn’t too much downside here — the Magic weren’t winning a lot of games anyway — but a guy who could see his touches decline is Jameer Nelson. He’s a better player than Beno Udrih, but not by much, and if Udrih goes on a late push towards getting a better contract this summer, he might steal some of Jameer’s control of the offense.

Feb 22

Did the Magic get enough for J.J. Redick?

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Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

The one big move that most fans and analysts expected the Magic to make before Thursday’s trade deadline came down to the wire, but general manager Rob Hennigan sent J.J. Redick to the Milwaukee Bucks, along with Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith, in return for Beno Udrih, Doron Lamb, and Tobias Harris. He also traded Josh McRoberts to the Bobcats in a separate deal for Hakim Warrick, who will likely be waived.

Redick was one of the longest-tenured members of the Magic and one of just three players (along with Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson) remaining from the 2008-09 team that went to the Finals. He was the Magic’s best player this season, but his upcoming free agency and the dollars he will undoubtedly command on the open market made this move something of an inevitability. And the return the Magic got on him is solid to say the least.

Losing Redick will hurt the Magic in the short term. He was having a fantastic season and was Orlando’s most consistent scoring threat. But the fact of the matter is this: the Magic’s win-loss record is extremely low on the list of priorities for the organization this season. They’re going to be in the lottery regardless of whether Redick is on the roster or not. Developing the young talent under Jacque Vaughn is a much more pressing issue than the number of games they win.

The Magic were reportedly looking for three things in any prospective Redick deal: expiring contracts, young talent, and picks. Hennigan hit on two of those three bullet points.

As the deadline drew closer, teams grew hesitant to give up a first round draft pick for Redick, which is understandable in light of the new CBA’s luxury-tax penalties. It will cost anywhere between $7-$10 million to re-sign Redick in the offseason and teams aren’t inclined to give up cheap, controllable talent either as a rental or to offset the deal Redick will inevitably get.

Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 22

Reactions to the Magic trading away J.J. Redick

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AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.

  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider: “From the Magic’s perspective this decision was much more straightforward. Orlando knew Redick would likely leave as an unrestricted free agent and wanted to get value for him before then. The Magic reportedly had multiple offers of late first-round picks and decided instead to go with Harris, the No. 19 pick in 2011 and a prospect with more upside than anyone Orlando could have gotten with one of those late first-rounders.”
  • Mike Prada of SB Nation: “The grade on this deal mostly depends on what you think of Harris. He was starting and playing decently earlier in the year, then weirdly got buried in the small forward rotation. Part of the issue was that it was a numbers game in Milwaukee. He originally played only because Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was hurt and Mike Dunleavy was better off the bench. Once Mbah a Moute got healthy, there was nowhere for Harris to go. Harris lacks shooting range, but when paired with the right combo forward, his athleticism, defense and post game can be valuable. That might be a sneaky pickup for Orlando.”
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie: “Lamb has struggled, significantly, this year. Harris is a good player and still only 20, but hardly a game-changer in terms of young assets. Still, considering the team’s needs in the backcourt as the season winds down, the goodwill toward Redick, and the potential behind Harris, this was a fine move for the Magic.”
  • D.J. Foster of ProBasketballTalk: “Harris should get playing time on a young Orlando team that will be much more patient with him than Scott Skiles or Jim Boylan was. At just 20 years old, Harris has the potential to be a very solid rotation player in the future.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “Redick, a 28-year-old shooting guard, will become an unrestricted free agent in July, and Magic officials were leery of tying up millions of dollars long term on a complementary player such as Redick. Hennigan and his colleagues also feared Redick would sign elsewhere and leave the franchise with no assets in return. [...] Hennigan said the Magic spoke with about a dozen teams in recent days, and he said the team had some chances to receive a late first-round pick. But Harris was the 19th overall pick in 2011, and Magic officials believe Harris and Lamb have upside. They’re also inexpensive.”
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “Magic faithful obviously lose a fan favorite in J.J. and an asset in the community. Even more than that, they lose a solid, self-made player who developed into one of the top sixth men in the league, if not a quality starter who can do more than shoot. Great qualities, right? All those attributes describes the perfect player who fits into the Magic’s new mission statement. But J.J. was too costly to keep, in the Magic’s eyes, although I still contend letting a good player get away might haunt the team.”
  • Ben Golliver of The Point Forward: “If there’s one totally under-the-radar player moved on Thursday that can emerge into a real player by shifting locales and being given a larger opportunity, it would be Harris. Included as one of the pieces Milwaukee sent to Orlando in exchange for Redick, Harris has good size for a wing and posted decent per-minute numbers in a limited role for the Bucks. Milwaukee simply had too many veteran options in front of him; in Orlando, coach Jacque Vaughn should be delighted to give Harris the opportunity to showcase his talents.”
  • Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com: “Now with Tobias Harris, a 20-year-old with boundless potential to emerge into a valuable player, on board and with Nikola Vucevic, Andrew Nicholson and Maurice Harkless still in the infantile stages of their development, Orlando has accumulated a slew of budding young players to build around. And, of course, the Magic will harvest a high draft pick in June’s NBA Draft this year and perhaps next year as well when an alleged star-studded draft class is unveiled. But what will really separate Orlando from most other rebuilding teams is the amount of salary cap space it will have to stock up on free agents in two to three years.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “While losing Redick will assuredly be painful to Magic fans that had fallen in love with the hard-working shooting guard, the franchise has made clear its intentions to build over this season and next with young players while stockpiling salary cap dollars. The hope is to have the salary cap space following the 2013-14 season to lure one, if not two, marquee free agents to the Magic. Pair those players with a foundation of talented young players already in the fold and to come in the next two NBA Drafts, and Orlando hopes to have a championship-ready roster after next season.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Several factors came into play Thursday. Ultimately, the Magic’s goals as they rebuild are to soundly manage the salary cap and to add players ‘who are about the right things,’ to use Hennigan’s term. The Magic want “to create something that’s sustainable,” and Thursday’s moves help them in that respect, according to Hennigan.”
  • Tom Ziller of SB Nation: “Yep, this was the rare trade that helps both teams. The Magic took a pending free agent not on their timeline and a mid-rung big man and swapped them out for two prospects and a neat point guard who is surprisingly fun to watch. Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb might end up irrelevant, but this is a classic case of maximizing your dice rolls, something all young teams should try to do.”

Feb 21

Magic acquire Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb, and Beno Udrih from Milwaukee; Hakim Warrick from Charlotte

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have acquired forward Tobias Harris, guard Doron Lamb and guard Beno Udrih from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard J.J. Redick, forward-center Gustavo Ayón and guard Ish Smith, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today. In addition, the Magic acquired forward Hakim Warrick and cash considerations from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for forward Josh McRoberts. The Magic intend to waive Warrick.

“Tobias (Harris) and Doron (Lamb) are two young players who complement our current roster and have tremendous potential to grow with us,” Hennigan said. “Tobias is a versatile forward that can play both forward positions, while Doron is a combo guard who helps fortify our backcourt with his shooting and ball-handling ability. Beno (Udrih) is a proven point guard who adds veteran leadership and experience to our team.”

“J.J. (Redick) was a great contributor to the Orlando Magic during his time with our organization, both on the court and in the community. We wish him, Gustavo (Ayón), Ish (Smith) and Josh (McRoberts) the best of luck in the future.”

Feb 21

Milwaukee Bucks acquire J.J. Redick

Via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

With the prospect of losing guard J.J. Redick to free agency this summer the Orlando Magic traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Bucks sent the Magic Doron Lamb, Tobias Harris and Beno Udrih for Redick. Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith were sent to Milwaukee as part of the deal for Redick.

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