What do the new guys think of being an underdog?

When Brandon Bass signed with the Magic this offseason, the team’s potential to win right away was a big reason he picked Orlando. The same went for Matt Barnes, who picked Orlando over Cleveland at the very last second. And Ryan Anderson loved going from a rebuilding situation in New Jersey to a win-now situation in Orlando. These pieces — in addition to Vince Carter, of course — were set to give even more firepower to a team coming off an NBA Finals run. Apparently, though, the general managers of the NBA don’t agree. In the eighth annual GM survey, no one picked the Magic to win the NBA Finals. And only 7.1 percent of the GMs picked the Magic to win the Eastern Conference, putting them third behind Boston (50 percent) and Cleveland (42.9 percent). That’s not much respect for a team with three all-stars returning from an East-winning squad. So, what do the players think? I spoke with three of Orlando’s newcomers and asked their thoughts on the results of the GM survey. Here’s what they said: Ryan Anderson: There’s a different atmosphere in here than that. Everybody thinks we’re going to the Finals in here. We just have such a talented team. They can’t predict the future. I know it’s not easy. It’s not an easy trip to make it to the Finals and win a championship. But we have so many tools, so many weapons, and everybody’s really determined and focused to win. I think we’re going to be a real tough team to beat and we have a great shot of going real far, and hopefully winning the championship. Matt Barnes: It doesn’t surprise me. They kind of go with the popular teams all the time. They go with Boston and the Lakers, Boston and Cleveland, something like that. It doesn’t bother me. It basically makes you want to work more. Everybody’s going to work hard to prove everyone wrong. I felt that coming here, with the high character guys they have here and the work they did last year, and the system they run, this was the best opportunity for me to flourish as a player and win a championship. Brandon Bass: Everybody expects whatever team they want, and I think that’s a good place for us to be. That’s added motivation for the guys who were in the Finals last year. In those kinds of things they always pick those big name players. That’s expected.

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