Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 91

Jun 28

Magic select Andrew Nicholson in first round of 2012 NBA Draft

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic selected forward Andrew Nicholson in the first round (19th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft.

Nicholson (6’9”, 250, 12/8/89) appeared in 123 career games at St. Bonaventure University, averaging 17.1 ppg., 7.2 rpg. and 1.98 bpg. in 29.9 mpg. and shot .575 (809-1,407) from the field during his collegiate career. He earned All-Atlantic 10 Conference honors all four seasons and was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year as a senior in 2011-12. Nicholson also earned All-American honors by The Associated Press in 2011-12. Nicholson led the Bonnies in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots for three straight seasons (2009-12).

“We are excited to have Andrew (Nicholson) join our Orlando Magic family,” said General Manager Rob Hennigan. “We feel he embodies the types of values that will put him in a position to achieve success here. He’s a humble, high character player, who’s committed to working hard and playing within a team concept. We are intrigued by his cerebral, instinctual approach to the game.”

Jun 28

Earl Clark opts out

Via Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD:

Earl Clark has opted out of the final year of his contract with the Orlando Magic, sources confirm. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent.

Jun 28

Magic extend qualifying offer to Ryan Anderson

Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have extended a qualifying offer to forward Ryan Anderson, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed.

By extending a qualifying offer to Anderson prior to the June 30 deadline, Orlando owns the right to match any offer sheet he may sign with another team. Anderson will become a restricted free agent on July 1.

Anderson (6’10”, 240, 5/6/88) played and started in 61 games last season with the Magic, averaging career-highs of 16.1 ppg. and 7.7 rpg. in 32.2 mpg. He shot .393 (166-422) from three-point range and .877 (150-171) from the free throw line. Anderson led the NBA in both three point field goals made and attempted, and captured the 2011-12 NBA Most Improved Player award.

Jun 25

Scott Perry named Magic assistant general manager

Via Chris Broussard of ESPN.com:

New Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan made his first hire Monday, bringing Scott Perry to Orlando from the Detroit Pistons, according to league sources.

Perry, who will be the Magic’s assistant general manager, had worked with the Pistons for the past four years under Joe Dumars as the club’s vice president of basketball operations.

Jun 20

Rob Hennigan named Magic general manager

Photo taken by Fernando Medina.

Via Orlando Magic press release:

Rob Hennigan, who spent the past eight years with two of the NBA’s most successful franchises, has been named General Manager, Orlando Magic Chief Executive Officer Alex Martins announced today.

“It is with great enthusiasm and optimism that we announce Rob Hennigan as our new General Manager,” said Martins. “Rob is an astute strategist and evaluator of talent who comes to the Magic family from two championship-level organizations. We feel he is an outstanding fit and the right choice to lead our Basketball Operations team in achieving our championship goals.”

Hennigan spent the past four seasons with Oklahoma City, including the last two seasons as the Thunder’s assistant general manager/player personnel. Hennigan spent his first two seasons with the Thunder as the team’s director of college/international player personnel.

Hennigan’s responsibilities included overseeing the Thunder’s professional, college and international scouting departments, as well as assisting with all player personnel matters and day-to-day management of basketball operations.

During Hennigan’s tenure, Oklahoma City compiled a 175-137 (.561) regular season record. The Thunder won 50-or-more games twice, reached the Western Conference Finals twice and advanced to the 2012 NBA Finals.

Prior to joining the Thunder, Hennigan spent four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. He was named director of basketball operations in September of 2007. Hennigan began as an intern during the 2004-05 season and was later named the team’s basketball operations assistant during the summer of 2005. The Spurs won the NBA World Championship in 2004-05 and 2006-07.

A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Hennigan graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism from Emerson College in 2004. He was named a Division III All-American and an Academic All-American as a senior and was the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Player of the Year for three consecutive seasons. Hennigan finished his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer.

May 29

Magic waive Von Wafer

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have announced that the team has waived guard Von Wafer.

Wafer (6’5”, 209, 7/21/85) appeared in 33 games (one start) with Orlando this season, averaging 5.9 ppg. and 1.4 rpg. in 14.2 mpg. He also played in one playoff game, tallying six points and one rebound.

Originally selected in the second round (39th overall) of the 2005 NBA Draft by the L.A. Lakers, Wafer has played in 200 career regular season games with the Lakers, L.A. Clippers, Denver, Portland, Houston, Boston and Orlando, averaging 5.3 ppg. and 1.2 rpg. in 12.4 mpg. Wafer has also appeared in 17 career playoff outings, averaging 6.6 ppg. in 11.3 mpg.

May 24

Dwight Howard named to All-NBA First Team

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard was named to the 2011-12 All-NBA First Team for the fifth consecutive season, the NBA announced today. Joining Howard on the First Team are LeBron James of the Miami Heat, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Howard led the league in rebounding with a career-high 14.5 rpg and field goal percentage (.573), and finished second in double-doubles (43) and third in blocks (2.15 bpg). Howard also averaged 20.6 points and was one of only three players to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

May 24

Magic fans share their favorite Stan Van Gundy memory

Over a span of five years, Stan Van Gundy made a lot of memories during his time in Orlando. On the court, Magic fans got to witness some of the best teams and single-game performances in franchise history, game-winning shots, you name it. Off the court, Van Gundy became known for giving the best press conferences ever. Van Gundy was one-of-a-kind. I asked the Magic fanbase — “what was your favorite memory of the man simply known as SVG?”

Here’s what they had to say.

_______

May 24

The Stan Van Gundy experience

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America

I used to watch hoops with the same group of guys in undergrad. It always drove me insane and warmed my heart. Inane arguments, at which I’m adept, and inane proclamations — ask me about Harrison Barnes — are two of the things I cherish most in the world and they were always in supply when I got together with the dudes. In fact, one of the things that drove me to blogging was that I didn’t agree with my friends about anything. Like, not ever. And that was always fun, until it was too much.

Anyways, it was through this group of knuckleheads — most of whom, mind you, are very into “swagger” and “clutch” and WATCH THE GAMEZ, etc. — that I was first put in touch with the Van Gundy paradox. During the Magic’s run to the Finals, which I guess was my sophomore year at UNC, I was talking about how much I liked watching the team when my friend Matt said “Yeah, but Stan Van Gundy sucks.” I laughed and I did my best “get a load of THIS guy” face. And then everyone else was like “No, yeah, he totally sucks.”

I was baffled then and I continue to be. I can’t think of another coach whose obvious success was met with so much … disdain is probably too strong a word. Dismissiveness?

And now that Stan has caught his second impossible situation after turning a team around, having been dumped in Orlando only slightly more gracefully than he was in Miami, I will be rooting for him as hard as any player or team.

It’s not that hard to see why Stan’s image hasn’t caught up with his success in the eyes of every viewer. He’s short in a tall man’s game, shrill in the age of the Zen master, and wry in a league whose sense of humor which comes in the form of Rasheed Wallace beatboxing Christmas carols. When Shaq called him “the master of panic,” he was just making obvious what was already clear: Van Gundy is, put nicely, an original, and put harshly, an outsider to the game he’s spent his life in.

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May 24

What I learned from Stan Van Gundy

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

When the Orlando Magic originally hired Stan Van Gundy as their new head coach in the summer of 2007, as a fan, I didn’t know what to think. To be honest, I knew more about the Magic’s initial coaching hire that offseason, Billy Donovan, than I did about Van Gundy.

Donovan was just coming off his second consecutive national championship at the University of Florida. All I knew about Van Gundy, at that point, was that “he wanted to spend more time with his family” after resigning as head coach of the Miami Heat in the 2005-2006 NBA season after 21 games. Or something like that. I honestly didn’t know if Van Gundy was the right hire or not for the Magic, or if he was a good coach to begin with.

But after five seasons with Orlando between 2008-2012, in which Van Gundy compiled a .657 winning percentage, 31 playoff wins, four 50-win seasons, three Southeast Division titles, one Eastern Conference title (and NBA Finals runner-up), I came to find out that not only was Van Gundy the right hire for the Magic but that he was, or “became” to put it more accurately, one of the best coaches in the league.

As a fan, and later as a writer, I learned a lot from Van Gundy. He helped me better understand the nuances of basketball like never before in my life.

I learned the value of the stretch four
Who would have thought power forward Tony Battie suffering a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder before the start of training camp for the 2007-2008 NBA season would have a profound impact on the Magic?

Without a traditional power forward to pair next to Dwight, Van Gundy made a choice to start Rashard Lewis — Orlando’s prized free agent signee that offseason — at the power forward position, despite the fact that he was previously a sweet-shooting small forward with the Seattle SuperSonics.

It turned out to be, arguably, Van Gundy’s most innovative concept.

Up to that point, the league had never seen a power forward shoot an extreme volume of threes with proficiency. Yet here was Lewis, shooting three-pointers at a dizzying rate while players and coaches around the NBA were trying to adjust and adapt. Even a player like Dirk Nowitzki, early on in his career with the Dallas Mavericks, didn’t come close to attempting the amount of three-point shots per game that Lewis did.

With Van Gundy turning the league on its head and opposing teams trying to solve the stretch four puzzle, a new golden era of Magic basketball began.

With Lewis stretching the four, three things happened for Orlando. First, the Magic’s pick-and-roll attack became very difficult to defend. With opposing power forwards not accustomed to defending a stretch four on the perimeter, on many instances, Lewis found himself open behind the three-point line as Orlando’s ball-handlers executed pick-and-rolls. Second, with Lewis spreading the floor, Dwight got plenty of room to operate in the post. Third, and lastly, with Dwight doing damage on the low block, any double-team had the potential of resulting in a wide-open three-point shot for Lewis.

In essence, Lewis proved to be a vital part of the Magic’s ecosystem offensively.

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