Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 89

Oct 23

Magic waive Christian Eyenga and Armon Johnson

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have waived guard-forward Christian Eyenga and guard Armon Johnson, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

Eyenga (6’5”, 210, 6/22/89) did not play in any of Orlando’s six preseason outings. He was acquired by the Magic from the L.A. Lakers as part of a four-team, 12-player deal on Aug. 10. Johnson (6’3”, 195, 2/23/89) played in five preseason games with Orlando, averaging 3.2 ppg., 1.6 rpg. and 1.2 apg. in 13.0 mpg. He was signed as a free agent on Sep. 28.

Oct 21

Recap: Orlando Magic 104, San Antonio Spurs 100

AP Photo/John Raoux

BOX SCORE

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from Sunday night is how legitimate Andrew Nicholson looked. The kid has all the tools. His footwork is sound, his court vision is above-average, and he is as deliberate as he is patient. The guy flat out executes and he’s not scared.

As is the case with most teams, when Orlando can attack and keep the pace up, they find success. Attacking options are few and far between, but Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick carried much of that load on Sunday. When those two put the ball on the floor and went towards the basket, things happened. The other thing that Nelson and Redick gave to the lineup was a sense of calmness. The Magic, at times, get a little carried away with ball movement and “happy feet.” Those two veterans have the ability to slow things down.

It’s horrifying to think what this Magic team looks like when both Redick and Nelson are on the bench. Not only are they the veteran leaders, but they are the only guys on the court who can slow things down for Orlando and seemingly the only guys who can attack with any confidence. For the most part, Redick and Nelson platooned and things worked out well for them. There were a few moments when E’Twaun Moore became the primary ballhandler. Yikes.

Regardless of who is doing it, however, back-cutting and off-ball movement were the keys to the Magic’s win. Since Orlando lacks star power and big-time post players, they require a five-man effort in moving without the ball, rotating the ball with pace, and running the floor well. When they can do that, they will find some success this year. The back-cutting, high-velocity offense is a lot of fun to watch when it’s clicking, but it appears as if it’s going to require this team to be pretty consistently deep rotation-wise, which is still a concern.

Sunday was a great look at a new breed of Magic basketball, no longer relying on the three-ball as heavily as it once did. The first 28 points were scored inside the three-point line and it wasn’t until the second quarter until Moore opened things up with a triple.

Similarly, Orlando’s defense will remain a key to finding success on the basketball court. They were strong on their rotations and had active hands (especially in the post) against the Spurs. Those situations create transition opportunities and allow guys like Moore, Redick, and Nelson to really push the ball. Luckily for them, they have guys like Gustavo Ayon and Andrew Nicholson, who really run the floor well for big men.

E’Twaun Moore had a strong first half and for a few moments looked like a legitimate perimeter threat, especially as he caught the ball on a kickout started by a Redick or Nelson drive. Moore regressed, though, in the second half.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Andrew Nicholson. The rookie shined once again (18 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the floor). More importantly, the young kid looked like he belonged on the floor at all times. He rebounded well, picked his spots, and executed within the offense.

X-Factor

Glen Davis. Davis is an often unmentioned spark in so many places and it’s often forgotten that he is capable of creating his own shot, finding mismatches, and stepping confidently into open looks.

Oct 21

Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic

Essentials

  • Teams: San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic
  • Date: October 21, 2012
  • Time: 6:00 p.m.
  • Television: NBA TV
  • Arena: Amway Center

Records

  • Spurs: 50-16
  • Magic: 37-29

Probable starters

Spurs:

  • Tony Parker
  • Danny Green
  • Kawhi Leonard
  • Tim Duncan
  • Boris Diaw

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • J.J. Redick
  • DeQuan Jones
  • Glen Davis
  • Nikola Vucevic

Advanced stats

Spurs:

  • Pace: 92.9 (7th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 110.9 (1st of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 103.2 (10th of 30)

Magic:

  • Pace: 89.0 (29th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 105.0 (15th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.1 (12th of 30)

Read about the Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell

Oct 09

Magic sign Chris Johnson

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have signed free agent forward Chris Johnson, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed.

Johnson (6’6”, 201, 4/29/90) played in 138 career games during four years at the University of Dayton, averaging 10.6 ppg., 6.1 rpg. and 1.1 apg. in 24.9 mpg. He was named the 2010 NIT Most Valuable Player and was a four-time Atlantic 10 Conference honoree during his collegiate career. Johnson was waived by the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 7.

Oct 08

Recap: New Orleans Hornets 85, Orlando Magic 80 (Mexico City)

AP Photo/Christian Palma

BOX SCORE

If you’re a Magic fan and you didn’t watch the game, it’s easy to look at the final score, see that the Orlando Magic lost, and shrug your shoulders in a display of indifference.

With Stan Van Gundy sipping Diet Pepsi somewhere without an NBA head coaching gig, Dwight Howard taking his flatulent talents to the City of Angels, and Ryan Anderson playing small forward for the New Orleans Hornets (wait, what?), it’s no secret that the Magic are projected to have one of the worst records in the league this season. Without the presence of one of the best coaches in the NBA, a top five player, and a premiere stretch four, wins are going to be hard to come by for Orlando. That much is certain.

But the Magic’s loss against the Hornets wasn’t because of a lack of talent (it should be noted that guys like Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington did not play). It was a matter of circumstance.

After three quarters, Orlando was up 66-54 and in total control of the game. That’s because the Magic’s starters severely outplayed New Orleans’ starting lineup. And Orlando did it primarily by playing a hybrid brand of basketball offensively.

Head coach Jacque Vaughn wants to play an up-tempo style while allowing the players to be creative on offense (i.e. not call plays every single possession, which is a direct contrast from the Van Gundy days). And that was reflected on the court, as the Magic played with a bit more pace and flow than what is usually seen from them. But remnants of Van Gundy’s philosophy still remain offensively (such as Vaughn’s desire for player and ball movement), as Orlando ran pick-and-roll sets and initiated plays from the elbows (“Horns” set). It was interesting to watch the game unfold and see two different philosophies play out on the floor in unison with each other.

Aside from the fact that Orlando’s second unit coughed up a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter to lose the game, not much else can be taken away from the Magic’s first preseason tilt. Apart from Gustavo Ayon’s performance.

Ayon, playing in his home country of Mexico, impressed in his Magic debut. Starting at center, Ayon played to his strengths. He did a good job of scoring in pick-and-rolls, running the middle of the floor in transition, and passing out of the high post. His defense was generally solid but then again, his primary assignment was dreadful (Robin Lopez was -22 in roughly 22 minutes of playing time) so take that observation with a grain of salt.

Ayon is no Dwight. He’s not a once-in-a-generation type of center built like a Greek god. He’s merely a fundamentally-sound center and a good player. And that’s okay.

MVP (Most Valuable Player)

Before Orlando let the game slip away in the fourth quarter (getting outscored by 17 in the period), Ayon set the tone early with his energy and effort. He finished with 12 points and six rebounds.

LVP (Least Valuable Player)

It’s one thing to be underwhelming (Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers), it’s another thing to struggle (Anderson), but to look like you don’t belong in an NBA uniform? Like Lopez did? That’s bad.

Oct 07

Preview: Orlando Magic at New Orleans Hornets (Mexico City)

Essentials

  • Teams: Orlando Magic at New Orleans Hornets
  • Date: October 7, 2012
  • Time: 2:30 p.m.
  • Television: NBA TV
  • Arena: Mexico City Arena

Records

  • Magic: 37-29
  • Hornets: 21-45

Probable starters

Magic:

  • Jameer Nelson
  • J.J. Redick
  • Hedo Turkoglu
  • Glen Davis
  • Gustavo Ayon

Hornets:

  • Greivis Vasquez
  • Anthony Rivers
  • Al-Farouq Aminu
  • Anthony Davis
  • Robin Lopez

Advanced stats

Magic:

  • Pace: 89.0 (29th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 105.0 (15th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.1 (12th of 30)

Hornets:

  • Pace: 88.3 (30th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 100.9 (28th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 105.1 (15th of 30)

Read about the Hornets

Hornets247

Sep 29

Magic sign Armon Johnson and DeQuan Jones

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic will hold their 2012 training camp at the Amway Center in Orlando, beginning Tuesday, October 2. In addition, the Magic have signed free agents Armon Johnson (#1, 6-3, 195, 2/23/89, Nevada) and DeQuan Jones (#20, 6-8, 221, 6/20/90, Miami-FL). The roster currently stands at 19 players.

Sep 06

Magic sign E’Twaun Moore

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have signed free agent guard E’Twaun Moore, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed.

Moore (6’4”, 191, 2/25/89) played in 38 games during his rookie campaign last season with Boston, averaging 2.9 ppg. in 8.7 mpg. He scored a career-high 16 points, including four three-pointers on Jan. 26 at Orlando. Moore also appeared in nine playoff outings.

Aug 31

Dwight Week Recap

August 27

August 28

August 29

August 30

August 31

Aug 31

Retire Dwight Howard’s jersey in Orlando?

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Six months ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find a lot of people within the Magic fan base that did not want Dwight Howard’s jersey retired. Yes, at that point in time, Dwight had already made known his desire to be traded, with the Brooklyn Nets at the top of his wish list.

But this was before Dwight chose to opt in, then opt out, then opt in again at the March 15 trade deadline when the Orlando Magic needed to know from him whether he was going to waive his early termination option and stay for one more year beyond the 2011-2012 season (backing away from their original stance of wanting to know if he was going to commit long-term) or be forced to trade him.

This was also before Stan Van Gundy, on April 6, spilled the beans and let the public know before the Magic’s regular season game against the New York Knicks (which aired on TNT, heightening already-heightened drama surrounding the team) that Dwight wanted him fired.

In other words, Dwight hadn’t turned nearly every Magic fan against him just yet. Many of them were sympathetic to him wanting to join a better team, in fact.

Fast-forward to today and if asked the question, “would you retire Dwight’s jersey?” a majority of the Magic fan base would answer “no.” That’s because all the goodwill that Dwight built up over the years in Orlando was destroyed in a matter of months because he was indecisive about wanting to stay or leave, all the while undermining Van Gundy. But when stepping back and taking an objective look at Dwight’s career with the Magic, should he be denied the honor of having his jersey retired?

With the help of a jersey retirement formula created by Ben Golliver of Blazer’s Edge, we can come up with a verdict.

Read the rest of this entry »

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