Finally, it is time to play the games

From its most volatile critics, the knock on the NBA has always been that the league is more fun to talk about than it is to actually watch. That the trades, signings, rumors and drama are much more captivating than dribbles, passes, pick-and-rolls and offensive sets. That Ron Artest’s off-the-court antics are more interesting than his isolation defense or back-to-the-basket offense. I’m sorry, but as interesting as the draft, the trades and free agency is, it doesn’t compare to the real season.

And it’s finally here.

At last, we can watch the Magic’s new-look team instead of talking and writing about it. When the Magic and Sixers tip off today at 7 p.m., the speculation will be gone.

Sure, there will still be storylines to tend to, situations to analyze and solutions to create, but at least there will be something real to sink our teeth into. I’m pretty much worded out when it comes to previewing the season – check out our season preview, preseason wrapup and preview chat – so I’m going to post some links for your opening-day reading.

  • Be sure to check out the Orlando Sentinel’s preview section, if you haven’t already done so. Lots of stuff to get into over there.
  • Mike Bianchi says this season’s opening night is anticlimactic because of the team’s heightened expectations. What happens tonight isn’t as important as what happens eight months (Good God, the season is long) from now.

    You should be ecstatic the Magic are more interested in what happens at the end of the season than the fanfare surrounding the beginning of it. You should be giddy your team is shunning Oktoberfest and instead is planning and plotting for the biggest summer shindig this city has ever seen. “Opening night is only one night,” Howard says. “We expect to still be playing in late June and winning the championship.” Then and only then will the party begin. You have to love their attitude. You have to love their complete and utter disdain for anything and everything other than the title. The ring’s the thing. The only thing.

  • The Painted Area is picking the Magic to win the title, for reasons you might feel the same way.

    The team which has the least risk to us – the team we feel most certain about – is the Orlando Magic, and they are our choice to win the 2009-10 NBA championship. The Orlando roster is incredibly deep, which allows them to play essentially any style – big or small, offense- or defense-oriented. It starts with the talent of four potential All-Stars in Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis.

  • Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm says the Magic don’t deserve to be a notch below the Cavs and Celtics in his extensive season preview.

    Somehow they’re right back where they started because they upset the chemistry by adding better players. Meanwhile, the Cavs added the biggest locker room hassle this side of Starbury and that makes them the best team again. Meanwhile, the Celtics may or may not be entered into the fossil record this year, but they’re still the rottweilers. I’m not asking for much here, just the acknowledgement that right now, it’s Orlando-Cleveland-Boston, 1A-1B-1C.

  • In Sports Illustrated’s roundtable preview, none of the magazine’s writers pick the Magic to even reach the conference finals. Two of the writers did pick the Magic for “biggest flop,” though.
  • Chad Ford picked the Magic to win the championship in a chat.

    I think they got much deeper. I think VC is an upgrade over Turkoglu but the addition of Brandon Bass, Ryan Anderson and a healthy Jameer Nelson makes them, in my opinion, the most dangerous team in the league … not only for this season, but for a long, long time.

  • If you didn’t hear, the Magic picked up Ryan Anderson’s option for the next two seasons.
  • Tania Ganguli takes us through a Vince Carter-themed trip down memory lane.
  • Philip Rossman-Reich

    About Philip Rossman-Reich

    Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily