NBA Blogtable discusses whether the Magic are on the way up

Photo by David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Photo by David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Which of these down-on-its-luck franchises strikes you as on the fastest track forward: Utah, Sacramento or Orlando?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Give me Orlando. They strike me as having the best fit of young pieces – Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Mo Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon – to develop together, if they can manage to score enough points along the way. Sacramento should have been better by now, and for every Kings player who intrigues me, there’s another who cancels out the optimism. Utah’s talent is good but a new coach and system suggests a reset of the learning curve.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Orlando. For one thing, the Magic are in the East, which gives them an easier path to the back of the playoff pack, even this season despite a lot of youth. For another: Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless, Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton. That’s a nice foundation built on defense and rebounding. They obviously have a lot of growing to do while relying heavily on two rookies and a second-year player, but that’s a lot of potential for the fast track.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: I’m not very excited about the 2-3 year prospects of any of these teams. The Kings have the best player of the three, but nothing around DeMarcus Cousins (or a clear plan of action) that says they definitely have a shot at making the playoffs in the next three years. The Magic and Jazz both have a decent collection of young talent, including rookie guards – Elfrid Payton and Dante Exum – with high ceilings, but nobody that is definitely a future All-Star. If I have to take one team, I’ll take Orlando, just because they’re in the Eastern Conference, where a playoff spot can be had with a decent amount of talent and good coaching.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Utah and Orlando are each inching forward, not a slowly as Philadelphia, but at intentionally deliberate paces. But from the ownership down, Sacramento seems like a team that doesn’t want to wait any longer. While Utah and Orlando each have a few nice young pieces, the Kings have players like DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay who are further along than most of the guys in Orlando and Utah. They’ve got a new arena on the way, and there seems to be a real urgency to win and win now.

[Sekou Smith's Hang Time Blog]

Photo by David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Magic take process over results, Rockets take win

At this point in the preseason, players are about rounded into form. The anticipation for the regular season takes over and the games take on a strange waywardness to them. The Magic led by eight points after three quarters and had the lead almost the entire night in the game. They yo-yoed the lead up […]

Magic Wands: vs. Rockets


Orlando, Fla.

(4-2) vs. (4-2)   
Time/TV: 7 p.m./No TV
Line: No Line
Tickets: $10-$278 on TiqIQ
Season Series: Tonight in Orlando (Preseason); Jan. 14 in Orlando; March 17 in Houston

Pace Off. Rtg. Def. Rtg. eFG% O.Reb.% TO% FTR
Houston 102.6 96.2 79.8
47.1 30.0
17.9
41.5
Orlando 101.1 97.3
109.1
49.1
27.0
16.4
27.7

Video Vault:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdtgUOiWHJg

Click after the jump for the latest news from Magic and Rockets sources.

(more…)

NBA experiments with 44-minute game

What did the players think of the quicker game, you might ask?

“I didn’t feel a different at all,” said Celtics forward Jeff Green told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald article. “When you’re playing, you don’t think about it too much.”

This sentiment was shared by most of those involved with the game, such as Boston coach Brad Stevens, who said he was not sure about how much impact the four less minutes had. Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins noted that for his team, only bench players’ minutes would be impacted by a shorter game, as his starters played roughly the same amount as they usually do.

–From Josh Burton and Philip Rossman-Reich of Crossover Chronicles

Tobias Harris on his contract negotiations

Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

“I just play basketball. I let my agent handle that. I’m all about my team and us getting better as a unit, as a team and us winning more games this year. So that’s where my mindset is. I told my agent, ‘If something happens, you can call me. But if not, don’t call me.’ I’ll be ready to go every night.”

Tobias Harris to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the two sides are still far apart.

Magic teammates excited for Nikola Vucevic’s extension

Tobias Harris is also due an extension. The Magic have until October 31 to agree to an extension or he would be eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer.

Photo by Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports

No searching for a center, it is Nikola Vucevic

In the years after Shaquille O’Neal left the Magic, the team searched for someone — anyone — who could play center. From Felton Spencer to Rony Seikaly to Isaac Austin to Andrew Declercq to Shawn Kemp to Patrick Ewing to Kelvin Cato. There was no consistency and no plan other than stop gaps (maybe Seikaly […]

Fox Sports Florida announces 82-game broadcast schedule

All 82-games of the Magic’s 26th anniversary season will be on Fox Sports Florida this year.

The announcement also came with the news that Fox Sports Florida reporter Kelly Nash will join the Magic broadcast team. Nash has covered the Lightning and the Rays for Fox Sports Florida for the last several years.

David Steele and Jeff Turner will once again be the broadcast team for the Magic with Paul Kennedy hosting most Magic Live broadcasts. Dante Marchitelli will also fill in there and do some sideline reporting. Brian Hill, Nick Anderson and Tony Battie will be among the analysts the Magic use for their studio pregame and postgame shows.

The team will also air six features of “Inside the Magic” throughout the season.

The season kicks off next Tuesday in New Orleans at 8 p.m.

Dunk time at open practice

Previewing the Atlantic and Pacific Divisions

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics: CelticsBlog | Red’s Army | Celtics Green | LucidSportsFan
Brooklyn Nets: Nets Daily | Baller Mind Frame
New York Knicks: Posting and Toasting
Philadelphia 76ers: Liberty Ballers
Toronto Raptors: Raptors HQ

Pacific Division

Golden State Warriors: Golden State of Mind
Los Angeles Clippers: Clips Nation
Los Angeles Lakers: Silver Screen and Roll
Phoenix Suns: Bright Side of the Sun
Sacramento Kings: Sactown Royalty | Basketball Intelligence

Index of all SBNation Previews

Additional Preview Features from Sonics Rising

Southwest and Southeast Divisions | Northwest and Central Divisions

Bill and Jalen Compare the Magic to Will Smith

Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose are doing their NBA team previews on Grantland and have slotted the Orlando Magic as team #25, one spot above the Los Angeles Lakers.  If you can make sense of their Magic-Will Smith comparison, let us know in the comments below.

Overall, Simmons and Rose were very complimentary of the Magic and their past draft, but think there are still some growing pains to weather.  Simmons picked Elfrid Payton for Rookie of the Year, but they both said that Jacque Vaughn would not be around much longer.

Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Magic are done with #NBARank

For the last few years, ESPN has gathered their experts, polled them and broken down the 500 players in teh NBA down to a simple list. This is #NBARank. You have to love the debate it engenders and the defensive response it creates in fans. Think of this as ours. The list reached its top-40 […]

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