I was going to mention that one of the most encouraging things about the Magic thus far is that they’d only lost to quality teams (
The emergence of Bogans has also allowed Van Gundy more flexibility with his reserves. He can go with Carlos Arroyo and Keyon Dooling at the guards, or go big in the backcourt and play Dooling at the point alongside Maurice Evans. Evans was a part of a recent trade that flew under the radar for most NBA fans but drew the ire of many Magic fans as he was swapped, along with Brian Cook, for fan favorite Trevor Ariza. While Ariza is loaded with potential and brings swagger and energy to the court (not to mention a the occasional jaw dropping dunk and a ridiculous minutes to offensive rebounds ratio), there were not a lot of minutes to be had for him with this edition of the Magic. He doesn’t have the shooting or ballhandling prowess to play extensive minutes at the 2 and struggles to defend most 4s ude ot his slight frame and 6'8" height. With both Turkoglu and Lewis playing most of the minutes at the 3, it became a situation where Ariza wasn’t going to receive the necessary amount of minutes to continue his growth as a player in Orlando. By trading Ariza before he languished on the bench for half the season (thus dropping his trade value), the Magic were able to acquire another physical, athletic defender to matchup against the league’s premier perimeter scorers )Evans) as well as another forward who can draw big men out on the perimeter and spread the floor for Dwight Howard (Noticing a theme here?) with his long range touch (Cook). It’s been a long time since I agreed with a Magic personnel move from the jump but I loved this move. We’ll see if Evans and Cook are able to find their respective roles and find some minutes for themselves as the year progresses. If so, they'll only add to an already dangerous Orlando bench. Finally, while I’m not an Adonal Foyle fan, he has provided the Magic with some defense, rebounding and toughness underneath on the second unit without demanding the ball or causing waves in the locker room. While I’d sooner give it to Arroyo in the post than Foyle, he’s sure to set a good example of professionalism for the young guys in the Magic organization.
And that’s the final point I’d like to make about this Magic team: It is a good group of guys. It really is. You’d be hard pressed to find a “bad guy” on this Magic team. Howard is almost too nice, Jameer Nelson is a natural leader who pays for the whole team to come up and hang out in Philly for a week each summer and even new acquisitions like Lewis and Foyle came to the Magic with reputations as no nonsense, team first players. As bad as the Magic have been recently this has, surprisingly, not always been the case. Steve Francis was at times moody, selfish and inwardly focused. McGrady became withdrawn from the team and organization as his tenure wore on and the team continued to struggle and Penny Hardaway was just a bitch. Not a bitch like your ex-girlfriend but a bitch like that kid at the bar who talks shit and then refuses to back it up. As much as I love the Magic, it was awfully hard to root for guys like Francis and Hardaway during much of their tenure (I give McGrady a bit of a pass since the organization did zilch to compliment him for most of his time in
Because, you see, there’s more at stake here than just winning basketball games. The city of Orlando approved a new arena last year and Dwight Howard signed a long-term extension recently but all of that won’t mean a thing if the Magic still haven’t made it out of the first round five years from now. By that time, Howard will have grown tired of mediocrity and the Magic will have run off yet another franchise player. By that time,