Tag:Magic
Posted on: October 22, 2010 9:21 am
 

Shootaround 10.22.10: Engaged

Sasha Vujacic gets engaged to Maria Sharapova, the Bulls need to get engaged with one another off the floor, Mike Miller is disengaged for several weeks, and Dwight Howard is engaged on the microphone, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


Remember that thumb injury for Mike Miller we shared with you yesterday? Yeah. So, Brian Windhorst is reporting that it's going to be "several weeks" on that . The new Era d' Heat is starting off swimmingly. All they need is an outbreak of cholera and a bus accident.

May the Fates bless you in your travels, Darius Miles. Miles was cut from the Bobcats yesterday , in what could be the nail in the coffin on his "career." Pay attention, Blake Griffin. This is what happens to Clippers.

Sam Amico of NBA.com and FSN Ohio says the Blazers, Rockets, and Spurs, but especially Blazers, are also interested in Anderson Varejao. We continue to be perplexed as to why .

Martell Webster will have an MRI on his back and miss the Wolves' preseason finale. The Wolves will just have to turn to the other 700 wings they picked up in the offseason.

Dwight Howard told the Orlando Sentinel that a lot of NBA stars get the kinds of Tweets LeBron freaked out about . “All of us get those kinds of Tweets,” Howard said. “People just feel that they can say whatever they want to say to us, and I don’t respond. People are going to talk when they’re hiding behind a computer or a cell phone. What’s the purpose of letting that affect what we do?” Anyone else get the impression Howard's got a serious beef with everything LeBron does? He's one of the few guys to call out James on things. He's more vocal than Boston. Oh, and Heat play Orlando in a preseason game tonight.

The Bulls' chemistry isn't really so much where it needs to be , via the Chicago Tribune talking to Derrick Rose: ""I wouldn't say it's all the way there," Derrick Rose said. "But being on the court with the guys, I definitely know what their strengths are, where to give them the ball in certain situations, just the way they play."At practices, our second team beat (the starters) four or five days in a row. That competing will make us better and help the team gel quickly." It's interesting to hear that, but part of that is probably the disconnect with the departures of players who were closer last year. Something to watch as the Bulls go forward.

So here's the Flex offense . No, seriously, here's the Flex offense.

Sasha Vujacic is now engaged to Maria Sharapova, in case you needed further proof the universe is cruel and unfair.

Ron Artest has been given a "Year in Sanity" award by Salon.com. So if the apocalypse shows up soon, don't say we didn't warn you.

Hear Dwight Howard. Hear Dwight Howard sing. Hear Dwight Howard sing "All-Star" by Smashmouth .
Posted on: October 15, 2010 9:55 am
 

Shootaround 10.15.10: Good and bad places

Dwight Howard thinks the new rule has its place, Monta Ellis' wife is keeping him in the right place, Andre Blatche needs a new place, and Al Jefferson is getting into a good place, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore

So while the Union's suing and the Celtics are freaking out, Dwight Howard has come out and said that in regards to the new tech rules, "They want us to cut down on talking to the refs, as hard as that may be. We've adjusted to everything else that's put out there. So we'll adjust." That's right. The guy that watches cartoons, does funny voices, and is pretty much known as a big kid, he's the one who's being grown up about this. The world's gone mad. Dwight Howard is in a place where he can have perspective and Kevin Garnett is not. What is happening?

Marvel Comics is teaming up with ESPN and the NBA for a series of promotional spots . Does it bother anyone else how much the league is marketing towards the storyline of LeBron leaving Cleveland? Don't get me wrong, I've been softer on James than others because if you asked me if I wanted to go work somewhere nicer with two of my friends with a greater chance of success, I'd probably do it too. But rubbing Cleveland's nose in it constantly for marketing purposes and playing into their spurned response seems exploitive.

Monta Ellis is in a much better place emotionally and mentally. Why? Dude got married and his wife, a lady cop, has him in line. I can understand where Ellis is coming from, as I'm sure a lot of men can. You have your wilder 20's, jacking up shots and riding mopeds, and then you get married and that stuff gets thrown out. This would be better if she were a segway cop or something. Still, it's good to see Ellis in a better place.

Mike Wells of the Indy Star reports that both Dahntay Jones and Solomon Jones are on the block as the Pacers try and move for a big man.

TruthAboutIt.Net's Kyle Weidie is more concerned with Andre Blatche at the moment than Gilbert Arenas. Blatche boosted his stock immensely last year with some solid play on the blown-up Wizards. But he thinks of himself as a primary scoring threat, not as a complimentary piece, and has big chemistry issues. If they can get him on the market and get a good player to put next to Wall for him, they should move, and quickly.

Alvin Gentry is telling his team that if they want to be succesful this year, they're going to have to be a "GREAT" defensive team . This for a team that had a worse defensive rating than any of Mike D'Antoni's years. Even if you think Amar'e was the problem (and he wasn't), good luck with that, coach.

Sasha Vujacic suffered a concussion in practice and is out indefinitely. Perhaps he was confused on what being "unconscious" from the arc meant.

In case you missed it last night , you need to see John Wall destroying the Bucks in 40 secons. For real.

Mike D'Antoni called Anthony Randolph a "stat magnet. " If only that magnet wasn't similarly charged to that of a "high basketball IQ magnet" because Randolph seems to repel that idea. Many, Knicks fans especailly, hope this is the season that changes. He can be an absolute game-changer when his head's in the right place.

And finally, just a small basketball note. If you caught last night's Jazz game you saw this, but if you didn't, Al Jefferson looked really good. Even with an out-of-shape Deron Williams working with him, Jefferson was hitting from all over the floor and attacking the glass on both sides of the ball. Defensively he's still figuring the system out, but things are looking tremendously good for Utah's new acquisition.


Posted on: October 11, 2010 9:36 am
Edited on: October 11, 2010 9:36 am
 

Shootaround 10.11.10: Ins and Outs

Turtlenecks are in for SVG, Splitter is out for the Spurs, Ron Artest's second ring is already on its way out, and Ryan Anderson is in gear for the Magic, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


When the NBA announced a rule regarding coaching dress codes, which presumably would outlaw turtlenecks, everyone immediately thought of Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy himself actually said they should name the rule after him. But the Orlando Senitinel went out and discovered that SVG will be able to wear turtlenecks this season due to how the rule works. I don't know whether SVG should be happy or sad about his development.

Greg Oden says he can be an All-Star , when healthy. Honestly, no one doubts that out of Oden. He's tall, a huge advantage in the sport of basketball, and bulky, a big deal in the NBA. But he needs to not say things like this because it only attracts more attention to the fact that he hasn't proven he can stay healthy, or rehab effectively, or that his head's in the right place. He just needs to not talk about it, go out, and do it. Anything else is just going to bring the vultures.

Tiago Splitter continues to miss time with a leg injury . In the myriad of ways that his NBA career could have started, this isn't the worst, but it's up there. Nagging small injuries aren't just obnoxious and painful, they're hard for coaches and players to sympathize with, and call into quiestion a player's toughness. That's what Splitter's facing in preseason with a tough veteran Spurs club.

The Blazers are adding Steven Hill due to their lack of big men, which is awesome, because he's from Branson, Missouri. Hill should instantly be the leader in mini-golf handicaps .

Anthony Mason Jr. son of the former Knick star has been cut from the Heat. Too bad, he showed some flashes in limited time, but that roster's kind of full-up if you haven't noticed.

Ready for a storyline you can bank on this year? Raptor fans are going to go from feeling disdain towards Andrea Bargnani to outright hatred. He's going to get all the blame for the Raps , even while he probably leads the team in scoring. He's overpaid, but that guy needs a fresh start somewhere else more than anything.

The New York Daily News reports that the Bulls are investigating Carlos Boozer's fall to see if he really did injure himself tripping over a bag . Bulls by the Horns says that the investigation is neither surprising nor troubling , just business as usual. It's still not the way the Bulls wanted to start the era of their marquee free agent from the biggest FA summer in history.

Ron Artest is offering his second championship ring to whoever writes the best essay on how to improve the country. In case you're confused, no he has not won that second ring yet. Ron is not lacking for confidence on this team.

Vince Carter is beaming about Ryan Anderson, which is a good sign for the Magic. It really looks like Orlando will be in a position to use him more this season.

This is probably the last season for Antonio McDyess, and might be the last one for Marcus Camby. Bizarre to think of an NBA without those two vets, and sad to think they'll probably wrap up their careers without a ring.

Posted on: October 7, 2010 9:28 am
 

Shootaround 10.7.10: Thinkin' 'Bout Things

Bulls thinkin' 'bout Dampier, Wizards thinkin' 'bout a name change, and Kidd thinkin' 'bout playing till he's 40, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


Peja Stojakovic says health will determine if he plays past this season , the final year of his contract. He wants to get through just one year pain free. It's something we rarely consider with these players, treating injuries like they're some sort of outside clamp that prevents them from playing instead of actual pain the players are experiencing.

With Boozer on the shelf, the Bulls are taking a long look at Erick Dampier, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com . The Bulls waived Chris Richard this week, which is surprising considering their lack of frontcourt depth and the job Richard did in limited minutes.

Marcin Gortat is not going to suddenly get quiet about the issue: he wants a bigger role, now. Unfortunately for him, the Magic are pretty much like "Deal with it, baldy ." Gortat signed a huge contract with the Mavericks last summer but the Magic matched it in restricted free agenc and here we are. For some reason the Magic think having a severely disgruntled Polish guy called "The Hammer" on their team is a good idea.

So this is pretty awesome. Ted Leonsis, the new Wizards owner, posted 101 things the Wizards have put in play to try and improve the fan experience at Wizards games. Some of the smallest details are covered, like how fresh the hot dog buns are. But hidden in there is the following: Changing the name back to the Bullets. Status? "Under consideration." Hold your breath, Bullets fans.

The Hawks exercised their option on Jeff Teague, which should surprise absolutely no one. Teague's locked up through next year, if there is a next year.

Kevin Garnett "went to a dark place " after last year's Finals, which is just classic over-the-top Garnett talk. He was pretty much a wreck after losing that series, leaving you to wonder how he deals with life in any sort of way whatsoever.

Rudy Ferandez' agent went absolutely psycho-hose-beast on local radio, basically pulling a "Leave Britney alone" speech for Fernandez. The kicker is when asked why Rudy wants to go home: "There's friends, there's family, he's a shy guy. He's special." And also a Fraggle, apparently.

Josh McRoberts had an outstanding line last night and the bandwagon is starting to Heat up. McRoberts has already filled into the starting PF spot for the Pacers, and with little competition, will probably hold onto it. A star is born? Maybe?

Jason Kidd wants to play until he's 40 , which is just ridiculous and yet completely believable on all fronts. Oddly, he's already a defensive liability, but the Mavs are thinking about moving him to shooting guard. Which could end up disastrous, but hey, you never know with Kidd. Dude's a survivor. He's going to make it. He's going to work harder. Keep on survivin'. What ?

This Nets-Knicks rivalry gets more entertaining every day .
Posted on: October 5, 2010 10:19 am
Edited on: October 5, 2010 10:44 am
 

Shootaround 10.5.10: Giving and Getting

We're getting a new guy, the Grizzlies aren't giving Conley the dough, and the Heat know they have to give to succeed, all in today's Shootaround.Posted by Matt Moore

You'll be seeing a new face around these parts soon as Ben Golliver joins the F&R staff for the season. We're excited to have Ben on board and we know you'll love the coverage you'll get from Ben on the Blazers and across the league. As an initiation, we're planning on forcing  him to dougie like Babbit .

The Grizzlies have no plans to commit to a contract extension with Mike Conley until after this season, the Commercial Appeal reports. After putting too much money into too incomplete a player in Rudy Gay over the summer, and with more important assets Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol also in need of extensions, this is an essential decision. Conley has not proven to be starter worthy despite being given all the starts the past two seasons. Conley's got to prove it.

The buzzword at Heat camp? Sacrifice . Which is exactly what you want to hear if you're hoping for the Heat to accomplish something special with the triad. That's the word that can help rehabilitiate their image, and push their game beyond video game stats and into playoff wins.

Lance Stephenson shwoed up at camp and has been working hard despite his off-court woes. The bad news is that he's such a defensive liability, coach Jim O'Brien says he wouldn't play a single minute in game . Ouch.

Brandon Bass has committed to learning the playbook which could help him, you know, play in Orlando, a problem he had last year.

The last remaining roster spot in Charlotte may be down to Javaris Crittenton versus Sherron Collins out of Kansas. It's a contrast in styles that could lead to a hard decision for Larry Brown, via the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell.

Dwight Jaynes in Portland is skeptical of Nate McMillan's intention for the Blazers to run.

If you're not ready for the John Wall era, read David Aldridge's piece and you will be. I'm an advanced stats guy, and even I know that if your numbers don't support the theory that Wall's going to be incredible , you need to recheck your digits.

Michael Beasley only missed two shots! Woo-hoo Wolves fans! Except the one he made were almost all outside of the paint... oh .

Posted on: October 1, 2010 4:01 pm
 

Magic exercise Anderson option, will he play?

Magic forward locked in for next season, question remains if he'll get time.Posted by Matt Moore

Ryan Anderson should be getting rotation time on a young team, improving his skills as a rebounding power forward that can also hit from the perimeter. But he wound up on the Magic, who have Rashard Lewis and his bajillion dollar contract, so instead he's struggling for life, trying to work his way onto the rotation alongside disgruntled power forward Brandon Bass. Then again, he's on a contending team, which any player will tell you is preferable to a lottery squad. Either way, Anderson's not going anywhere any time soon.

The Magic today exercised their option on Anderson for the 2011-2012 season. Anderson spent considerable time at power forward last season, earning the backup job in front of Bass with Rashard Lewis out for a suspension. But when the playoffs got going, Stan Van Gundy predictably went to his veterans. Anderson shot 37% from the arc last season, averaging 19 points and 8 rebounds per 36 minutes, a great per-minute rate.

Anderson compares favorably to OKC's Jeff Green, as a perimeter power forward. Anderson's rebounding numbers actually are favorable to Green. Anderson still needs help at the defensive end, but even that gap in his game is closing quickly. It's no wonder the Magic are clinging to him. With the Magic talking more about moving Lewis more to the small forward spot, there will be opportunities for Anderson. The question is if they'll mazimize their use of him or if he'll continue to add to the ranks of Magic frontcourt guys who are disgruntled with their lot.

Marcin Gortat's not happy with not getting touches, and Brandon Bass could not be more stressed out with being buried on the depth chart. Lewis is still the best flex-forward player they have, but Anderson's potential was enough for the Magic to go ahead and lock him up, even as they continue to struggle with the luxury tax.
Posted on: October 1, 2010 9:30 am
 

Shootaround 10.1.10: BIG

Teams that didn't win big, Philly's bigs need to come up big, and Jefferson just is big, all in today's Shootaround. Posted by Matt Moore

So we always debate the best championship teams. But what about the best teams that didn't win a title ? Dime took a look at those squads and added the 08-09 Cavs. It's hard to imagine that team holding up over time as we look back at Mo Williams' and Antawn Jamison's careers. The 2002 Sacramento Kings, though? That was a pretty great team. One objection? The 2007 Dallas Mavericks need to be on that list. Had the Mavericks not drawn the Warriors in the first round, it's hard to see how Cuban wouldn't be coveting his ring.

A Sonics fan tells Kings fans to pray , because the NBA doesn't care. It should be amended, though to "Pray, because the NBA doesn't care as long as you continually vote down measures for new stadiums. I'm not saying you should have to pay for new stadiums. I'm saying as long as you refeuse to, you open yourself up to getting Thunder'd. There's a reason Orlando fans are going to be enjoying the Amway Center this season while Sonics fans enjoy the Seahawks this fall.

A great feature on DeMarcus Cousins and his family history . There's so much talk about Cousins being a problem child, but he hasn't been in trouble since the tenth grade. I've never understood how a kid that hasn't had trouble in four years since he was a young teen is somehow a huge concern. Everyone's going to be regretting passing on Cousins when he and Reke are running the pick and roll for years.

The Daniel Orton era is pointing toward bustville. After being considered a reach to begin with, then getting worked over in Summer League, Orton will miss the entire preseason with a knee injury . Orton needs to spend time in the D-League, but the Magic almost never assign their players, which only increases the odds that Orton will flame out.

Speaking of big man injuries, Tiago Splitter tweaked his right leg yesterday (via Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears).

Sixers president Rod Thorn says their success is dependent on their bigs . Elton Brand is specifically pointed out in the excellent piece by SI's Chris Mannix, but Mareese Speights also needs to stay healthy and take steps into becoming a legit power forward. It's time for him to capitalize on that youthful potential and great per-minute numbers.

Take note of this. It may just be pillow talk. But Eric Spoelstra says that the unselfish play necessary to share the ball for the Heat is already there. That's really relevant for a team with such high usage. You need to be able to operate as an actual functioning offense so that you don't wind up looking like an All-Star team. You know. The kind that winds up with the ball off-court more than Anna Kournikova (remember her?).

International superstar Dirk Nowitzki? He's not so much a fan of the goaltending rule change being proposed .

Kobe's going to get some run in the international exhibition games . Because he's a freak of nature with no "off" button. There isn't another player who if they were at Bryant's level would wnat to play in these games with the injuries he's still recovering from. The man is more driven than any human being alive.

Al Jefferson may have showed up out of shape , but Jerry Sloan a. isn't pointing him out specifically in discussions of players being out of shape and b.) apparently doesn't look like he's out of shape . It'll be interesting to see how this plays out and if he gets off on a bad foot with Jerry Sloan. Patient fatherly figure that he is.
Posted on: September 29, 2010 9:28 am
Edited on: September 29, 2010 10:04 am
 

Shootaround 9.29.10: Mileage Edition

Davis is a baby, Brooks wants his dough, Garnett's feeling spry, and Hayward bought a new car in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore


The only exception to the "rah-rah," "happy to be back," "excited for the season to start" mantras of NBA Media Days and training camp sessions is the public extension demands. Aaron Brooks has entered that arena in full garb. Brooks told the Houston Chronicle that his contract situation is "bothering" him . Brooks is a tough spot for the Rockets . He's emerged as one of the best players on the team, and helped keep them afloat through Yao Ming 's injury. But he's also a score-first point guard who's not terribly efficient. He gets the job done, but not well enough to make it a no-brainer. Which is likely why the Rockets have decided to wait to enter discussions on an extension with him.

Donnie Walsh denied that the Knicks tampered in any way with the now-dead four-team deal proposal for Carmelo Anthony . Very quietly, the Knicks and Nets are kind of slipping into a nasty little rivalry between the two teams, one that's likely to only accelerate when the Nets move to Brooklyn.

Charlie Villanueva is actually wracked by guilt about his performance last season. It's nice to hear that from an athlete, as they typically tend to bristle and deny that they even had a bad year, or explain it away. The question is how he'll actually improve, because the things he's typically criticized for are difficult to improve upon, often considered "you have it or you don't" territory. But stranger things have happened...

Apparently Kevin Garnett is feeling spry, prompting Boston media to claim he'll be back to 2008 standards . I would consider this to fall under the category of "jinxing yourself into oblivion." Garnett was healthy enough for the Celtics to win the East. That needs to be the expectation. Anything else is failing to acknowledge the realities of the situation.

Jacque Vaughn has joined the Spurs coaching staff, and Pop thinks he's got the same qualities as Avery Johnson. The comparisons are striking to a certain degree.

Efforts for a new arena in Sacramento have hit a gigantic iron wall. Keep your eyes on the horizon for storm clouds.

Triano has no reservations about playing Barbosa at point. That's a weird thing to be discussing with both Jarret Jack and Jose Calderon on roster, making a combined eleventy billion dollars. Additionally, that seems an awful lot like a recipe for the highest turnover margin in professional basketball history.

Glen Davis is acting like a... wait for it... baby about his role with the Celtics and Doc's not particularly drawn to take care of him.

Rashard Lewis is spending more time at small forward this year. That's a pretty big move, and one that could have significant changes for how the Magic do business. The trick is that the Magic have had so much success with Lewis at the four, and a move otherwise could change their four-out, one-in approach. But it could also provide them more balance. Things are so complex.

Gordon Hayward bought a shiny new car with his contract... a Honda Accord. That's just great.


 
 
 
 
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