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Thursday, October 25th, 2007 at 2:40 pm  |  77 responses

Orlando Magic Season Preview

Dwight and Rashard, yes. But what else?

By Konate Primus

For the rest of our season previews, go here.

The Orlando Magic will be where they were last year, at home after a semi-decent season. Last year I paid close attention to Orlando because of the awesome start from the beginning of the season if you remember they started out 13-4 and sadly looked like the best thing on the east coast but down the line they lost something. They quickly fell to 20-40, got a few new pieces and finished 16-6. I watched closely and saw their issues.

1. No one commands a double team besides Dwight on their best night.
2. Lack of a solid backcourt.
3. They need a slasher, some one to open up things for Dwight

We all know Dwight Howard is a man-beast and we all know he could easily give you 20 and 15 this year and become the youngest cat to win the rebounding title, but even the best can get better. And who is better to show a already dominating young center some fancy footwork and nifty post moves? Aside from “the dream”, the king of New York is in line for that job. Pat Ewing coming in as an assistant Coach is a great look for the franchise. He brought Yao’s game to another level when he was working in Houston last season and Dwight is naturally more skilled than Yao so in the next couple years this kid will virtually unstoppable. However that’s not the Magic’s biggest problem. It’s going to be up to the suits in Orlando to see if they are in a position to make something happen.

The Magic are going in the right direction, but they are taking such l’il steps. Let’s be honest, these guys have been rebuilding since the Shaq and Penny era. They lucked up on Tracy McGrady but they surrounded him with mediocre players. Look where that got them, nowhere!

This season the front office brought in Adonal Foyle for some more depth on the frontline. In addition to bringing in Foyle they decided to let Grandpa Hill go, and bring in the high flying, slashing, younger small forward Rashard Lewis. Here’s how I see it: Rashard is an awesome small forward who can get to the basket, and habitually create his own shot but they still don’t have someone who commands a double team aside from Dwight. Rashard will have those nights when he’s in the groove of things and buckets will come to him as easy as fat women to KFC, conversely if you put a fairly decent defender on him that can change easily.

Good pick ups for the magic but the real problems lies with the backcourt. Jameer Nelson has those nights when he takes on the scoring load, but he’s too small to be a shooting guard and, he needs to learn how to make his teammate better. Throughout his career his ppg have gotten better every year but his apg has flat lined. He peaked at 4 apg and stayed there. JJ Reddick along with Hedo Turkoglu needs to grow some balls and step up to the plate! Both of them play so timid as if they are afraid to go inside the 3 point line. If Orlando can make some moves to beef up their roster in the backcourt especially at the 2 they will be in good shape. Their frontline is good enough to make something happen but they need good on both ends of the ball.

Moreover this season they brought in Ron Jeremy’s stunt double, Stan Van Gundy, who seems to work well in these situations. He took Miami in their time of lesser good and did wonderful work with them so maybe he can guide this team into path of winning and righteous playing. These guys can really make something happen this season. Of course he doesn’t have a Dwade but he has the soon to be most dominating post player in the league. And if not get ready for the same thing as last year and the year before and… you get the point.

On the other hand they could really really suck this year and end up getting a strong guard out of USC… or not.

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  • bobby

    Haha First

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Konate, I think you’re being a lttle hard on these guys. They definitley have the makeup of a playoff team and probably in 2 to 3 years will be the Southeast title holders for a nice run. I agree about the lack of a double team threat beside Dwight, but i really think if they can buy into Van Jeremy’s defensive philosophy, they can make some noise sooner than later. Good work all around.

  • BETCATS

    good work konate, that grampa hill line was great but i am going to have to agree with eboy on the tuff love thing. They will be a .500 team for the next few years and in the east that means 5th seed

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    W.E.B I just see them makin the same mistakes over and over. i was a Crazy Mc Grady Fan but it hurt to see them lose all the time becauase he had no help. i think they are doing the same with dwight, but they seem to be working on it.

  • http://www.coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    .500 means a 5th seed. Funny Betcat.

  • Sko

    Konate, cut them a little bit of slack, the Grant Hill situation was somewhat freakish, even if you argue that they should have done due diligence on the injury before signing him. And obviously they also had no idea what Ben Wallace could be. They would have been better off just signing Mac and building from there, but that’s mostly hindsight. I was and still am a big T-Mac fan and I know what you mean but they tried a few different things. trading Mike Miller was bad b/c of his chemistry with Mac but the two players they got back were Gooden and Giricek, who both started late in last years playoffs. I’m just sayin. Never buying out Hill, and forcing Gooden to play the 3 next to Juwan Howard were their worst mistakes of the Mac era. besides that whole trade thing.

  • AT THE END OF THE DAY

    Losing Battie for the entire year hurts…here comes WANG to fill the injury exception!

  • Sko

    will somebody please explain to me though, why they gave Lewis the extra year, Seattle a pick, and didn’t keep Darko?

  • Ken

    I like the photo in Shanghai.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Konate, there’s something in this preview. Where’s your mention of Ariza? Garrity? Bogans? They’ve got some solid guys on this team, and I don’t think they’re just Dwight and Rashard. Dooling will give you some energy off the bench, if JJ finds his stroke, he could just run to the 3-pt line and wait for the pass (ala Jason Kapono) and if Van “Jeremy” can bring out the beat in Ariza, they certainly won’t be a pushover team. C’Mon man, you’re a cynical about this promising team, aren’t you?

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    My first line should have read “There’s something MISSING in this preview”

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    Sko,
    they didn’t keep Darko because I think that Otis Smith has some strange beef with Darko’s agent, who also happens to be Fran “Runaway Bride” Vazquez’s agent.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    you’re a BIT cynical… Dam, you got me all worked up I can’t even type…

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    We’ll see what Darko has in Memphis (where his coach and Gasol and Navarro will make him think he’s playing Euro ball), but I don’t think it was a terrible move to let him go. I just think that with some of that cash Smith gave Rashard, he should have tried for another point guard, maybe Blake or Andre Miller.

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    Cheryl took the words right out of my mouth. Trevor “Air”za is an 18 foot jump shot away from being an All Star. If you don’t believe me, ask Jermaine O’ Neal.
    And if Dwight is the only one that commands a double team that is fine. SVG is going to surround D12 with Shard, JJ, Jameer and Turkey-Glue who will bomb on opponents from the outside.
    Plus, I think Konate underestimating the driving capabilities of Turk & Jameer.
    Based on preseason, Jameer is looking on getting into the lane this year and making things happen.

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    Darko was so frustrating to watch. One night he is getting a double double, the next night he is airballing jump hooks & lay ups.
    I know Agent Zero though the loss of GHill hurt, but GHill doesn’t shoot 3′s. You need shooters around D12. SVG will resurrect PG8′s career. Hey, Dennis Scott will tell you that you can make a good living off sitting on the 3 point line.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Justin, you and I are gonna be saying “I told you so” come May. –ASPOV

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    Cheryl those guys are irrelevant!too many mediocre players. nobody Special. and that IF is Gigantic for JJ.he can shoot, but please explore the rest of his game… Wack!

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    under setimating Turk? are you for real and i couldve sworn i gave Jameer his Credit

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    “Mediocre” play vs Emeka:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=s9UlwNqG3AU

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    I’m with Konate on that last post. Cheryl, you are giving those other guys WAY too much credit.

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    this team will do what they’ve been doing… Barely making it to the playoffs and Losing. Unless the get a real 2 gaurd and Pg who can pass.

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    “Mediocre” play vs J. O’Neal:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=FXgXPaCVa00

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    Thank you Eboy

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    If the injury bug doesn’t bite the Magic again, pencil them in for 45-50 wins and a trip to the 2nd round. Between D12′s improvement and the addition of SVG, watch out.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    If they play like a brotherhood (stealing from Adidas), then Dwight and Lewis and solid role players mean playoffs in the east. You guys know that.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    And I’m not saying these guys are superstars, or even All-Stars, but I am saying they’re not scrubs and given the right system and getting the best out of players, these team could make some noise. They’re second-tier for sure, but they’re not the BETcats, thank you very much.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    In fact, you guys are higher on the outlook of the Cats and down on these guys?? Have you been watching them play??

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    If Trevor was still on the Knicks, everyone would be singing his praises.

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    ok Cheryl now we are talking the same language

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    Justin if trevor ariza was on the knicks no one would give him any credit! he’s ok… very athletic! i’ll say that.

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    SVG could easily do for Shard and Jameer’s carrers what he did for LO’s and Rafer’s.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    And as much as I love my guys, it would not surprise me if the Magic have a better record than the Heat after, say, 30 games.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Dwyane was as responsible for that as SVG was, Justin.

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    well the heat are injury ridden. Lets face it the heat won when they had the opportunity. I don’t see a finals run in there near future. so would that be a suprise.

  • Big L

    Konate, your not giving Ariza enough credit. I think Jermaine O’Neal did the same thing last year and ended up on the wrong side of the Slamofdamonth.

    Couple things:1) The East sucks and the Magic have about the same amount of talent as everyone else except Boston, Cleveland, and Detroit. Note that Washington, Miami, Atlanta, and Charlotte are not on that list. 2)Lewis in the East is way better than Lewis in the West. Can you picture Eddy Curry or Zack Randolph trying to defend him on the perimeter? 3) They won 40 games last year and this team added a better coach and a very good perimeter player. They should at least get 45 wins this year. 4) They technically did add talent w/TMac, but Grant was just hurt. Both of those guys on the court at the same time would have changed things but since they gave Grant a max contract, they couldn’t really add much more because of salary cap issues. C’mon man.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Konate, you are stepping dangerously close to the E-muda Traingle.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    There near future. Please organize a slam writer grammar class.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    If I can, I’m going to drive up and catch a few games and give you guys some play-by-play. And Konate, I do think the Heat has at least one more run before Shaq leaves, it just depends on how quickly DWade can return to dangerous after the surgeries.

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    If the SLAM Links family wants play by play of the Magic games I can drive the 1.9 miles from my job to O-Rena and give play by play. ;-)

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    Big L, rest in peace (full clip)…..I meant, thanks Big L for the good words on the Magic.

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    Thanks for showing up. i knew something was wrong when your lips weren’t on my cock. And yes that was huge dumb era!

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    Big L all valid points. But i still stand by my words “If Orlando can make some moves to beef up their roster in the backcourt especially at the 2 they will be in good shape. Their frontline is good enough to make something happen but they need good on both ends of the ball.”

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Injury ridden? Dumb era?

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    Eboy I got nothing but Love for diesel and Flash but be honest with me, yourself and the good people of SLAM. If they didn’t win that year they wouldn’t have won it any time soon. they did what they were suppose to do and jumped on that opp. how many teams can say that? shit how many young players can say the went to the finals once and took care of business!

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    Please bodie, no teeth!

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Pervert.

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    thanks bro! LOL

  • http://kaycephotography.com/kayceonline/?cat=6 Kayce Online

    i don’t know if i’m bein fair to him, and plus his pops just passed away so i feel bad for saying this, but somehow i never got the impression Jameer Nelson was gonna be a franchise point guard.. too small, not consistent enough with his shot & decision-making to be an offensive leader for 82games.. i didn’t know his assist totals were THAT low (4APG?! i, at 5’8 could probably throw about the same # of lobs to Dwight Howard alone for assists) but i did get the sense that the Magic offense never had any continuity or sense of purpose to it with him at the helm..

  • http://kaycephotography.com/kayceonline/?cat=6 Kayce Online

    PS. i want to see Dwight Howard become more and more skilled, and eventually duke it out with Stoudemire in a 7 game series in the Finals.. ever since Howard was a rookie, I’ve traded for him in NBA Live and put him alongside Stoudemire.. THAT IS A BEAST FRONT LINE.

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    Konate, I know your comment wasn’t addressed to me but I think if they (HEAT) didn’t beat Dallas in 06, they would have been back in 07 to win it.

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    Stoudemire was the only player that took it to D12 last year. Of course, there was a certain ref who gave Dwight some quick fouls that night in O-Town…..

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    they couldnt Dwade got hurt and it effected everybody and the team got older

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    Thank you very Much Kayce! finally someone who sees out of the same lens

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    Man listen, Dwight is great but if necessary Tim-bot can take it to him.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    the same lens = the third eye.

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    Hedo on the Kings seem to go to the basket more often than he does with the Magic.

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    Hedo on the kings was younger and healthier.
    bodie, your reaching now! lol don’t try so hard let it come natural

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Proof. Read. Your. Comments.
    Or go back to 4th grade and learn grammar.

  • BETCATS

    Bodie. NO. NO. NO.NO
    Ok

  • Chukaz

    Howard, Lewis and Mayo would be a sick group. I hope they try to get the Knicks to give up their first round pick for some sucka would ain’t even gonna make the magic’s roster (you know, a guy that the knicks would give max money to).

  • http://backcourtink.blogspot.com bootlace

    Jameer Nelson will be an All-Star this season, you heard it here first. Orlando meanwhile need Rashard to play like an MVP candidate to have a shot at the second round.

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    I know I’m pretty high on the Magic, but Jameer as an MVP……I’m not seeing that at all.

  • Balling NZ

    Wow, I look forward to seeing the Ewing-nurtured Dwight being unleashed

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    “Jameer Nelson will be an All-Star this season, you heard it here first.”
    Um, yeah, because you’ll never hear it anywhere else.

  • http://slamonline The Infamous D.P.

    ha, that is real funny Russ. But I do believe that Jameer will have a better season than last because he has a second option to go to in Lewis. The only concern I have about Lewis(and this cat is on my fantasy team!) is will he play too some timed. One game this guy can score 40 and other games he will get you ten. If he stays healthy this year I think they can make some noise. Just a “little” though. play wit it.

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    I can Shard and D12 making the ASG, but no one else on the roster.
    Balling NZ, the Ewing tutored Dwight has been fun to watch this pre-season.

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    typo” I can SEE Shard….”

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    All you guys talking about what these different players did “last year” are ignoring the fact that Brian friggin Hill was the coach! Let’s see what system SVG brings. He knows very well what skill set his players have and how to work a system that will get the best out of them. I don’t know about Jameer being an All-Star this year, but I’m willing to bet Van Gundy will be in the running for COY.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    And on another note about the Heat: so many things go into winning the chip that no one can predict, that it is impossible to say what one team “would have done if the circumstances were different”. That’s a fool’s game. The team who won, won. And it’s only after the fact that an analysis can be made for why.

  • dpak

    How is Dwight “naturally more skilled than Yao”?
    There’s no doubt that Dwight is more athletic but people don’t exactly rave about his skills.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Eastern Conference All-Star guards last year: Gilbert Arenas, Dwyane Wade, Chauncey Billups, Joe Johnson, Vince Carter, Rip Hamilton, JASONKIDD! I don’t see Jameer beating out any of THOSE guys, let alone guys like Ben Gordon, T.J. Ford, even Jamal Crawford or Stephon Marbury if they can get it together.

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    Who taught Yao all those “skills”?
    Same guy who is teaching Dwight now.

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    Eastern Conference All-Star guards last year: Gilbert Arenas, Dwyane Wade, Chauncey Billups, Joe Johnson, Vince Carter, Rip Hamilton, JASONKIDD! I don’t see Jameer beating out any of THOSE guys, let alone guys like Ben Gordon, T.J. Ford, even Jamal Crawford or Stephon Marbury if they can get it together.

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    Whats up with the duplicate comment?

  • http://slamonline.com Konate

    I forgot to put in quotes. I agree 10000000% with russ

  • samp700

    It does not take a superstar team to win! It takes a team! The Orlando Magic have a team! They are playing well. I think they are going to continue to surprise people. Yes it’s hit and miss on how they play. They are still solid team that can beat anybody on any giving night.

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