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Chauncey Billups, greatest Magic killer, retires

When the Magic acquired Chauncey Billups in February 2000, he was hurt. There was no chance he was ever going to suit up in a Magic uniform. Not a chance. That was the Heart and Hustle year. The Magic just wanted to clear cap and Billups was nothing more than an expiring contract. Orlando shipped […]

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Zoran Dragic interested in Magic?

Slovenian star forward Zoran Dragic is eyeing a move to the NBA, the league where his brother Goran Dragic is a burgeoning star with the Suns. Dragic has a October 5 buyout deadline with Unicaja Malaga and, according Sham Charania of Real GM, has four serious suitors. Those would be the Spurs, the Heat, the […]

Photo by Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN: Magic’s future dimmer

Every so often, ESPN comes out with their Future Power Rankings. They empanel a few of their writers to assess the team’s current state, but also its management, drafting and its future. This is where Magic fans should, if everything has gone right, see a bright future for the Magic. Entering the 2015 season though, […]

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Magic add Jay Hernandez to coaching staff

The Magic have made a new addition to their coaching staff Tuesday, naming Jay Hernandez as an assistant coach of player development. “We are extremely excited to add Jay (Hernandez) and his family to the Orlando Magic,” coach Jacque Vaughn said in a press release.  “Jay will bring a tireless work ethic and dedication to development […]

Basketball Insiders previews Magic season

This is the season where we should be able to form a much better understanding over whether the people calling the shots in Orlando really know what they’re doing. There have been some positive things that have happened over the course of the last two years, even though there isn’t many wins to show for it. If a major jump toward night in and night out competitiveness isn’t made this season, it’s time to evaluate whether the right head coach and general manager are in place to see this rebuilding project through to where it needs to go. On the court, the spotlight is going to be firmly on Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic, who are coming up on the end of their rookie contracts. They’re going to want a lot of money in order to sign an extension early, but Magic ownership is going to be less inclined to open up their checkbook if they don’t see the playoffs in sight for 2015-2016. Their division is loaded this season, so anything more than a last place finish is going to be a very encouraging sign about the future. Even if they do end up in the cellar again, though, as long as there’s significant improvement, that’s all that matters.”

Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders

The crew over at Basketball Insiders has the Magic winning anywhere from 22-31 wins. So, that should tell you how difficult it is to call what this team can do this year. Three more weeks until training camp opens!

New addition to the Video Vault!

Yes, it is the dead time of the season. But I am always happy to add to the Video Vault.

What is the Video Vault? It is a fun part of the site where we cull YouTube and the Internet for any and every Magic game video we can find for your enjoyment.

The latest edition is above comes to us from Adam Papageorgiou of Orlando Magic Greek and is a classic March 1995 matchup between the Magic and the Bulls shortly after Michael Jordan made his return to the league. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out the other videos from the 1994-95 season in the Vault!

[Adam Papageorgiou of Orlando Magic Greek]

Evan Fournier scores 13 as France advances past Croatia

Yes, that is Evan Fournier going coast-to-coast and drawing the foul in Saturday’s 69-64 win for France over Croatia.

Fournier actually played a big role. After struggling in the early part of the tournament, Fournier has started to put together some very good games. His last four games have seen him average 11.0 points per game and score 13 points in each of the last two games.

Fournier had 13 points in France’s round of 16 win. He came in at the beginning of the second quarter with France down 15-7. He had a team-best +16 in his play Saturday and earned his way to a starting spot for the second half.

He was very key and his coach, Vincent Collet, told John Schumann of NBA.com, Fournier is still finding his groove and learning basketball and how not to force things.

This is all part of the building for the 21-year-old guard. This opportunity in Orlando is a big one for him and his career. It is a fresh start. Hopefully a chance for him to get some consistent minutes and improve.

(more…)

Photo via FIBA

Evan Fournier comes on strong as World Cup enters knockout stage

I was really felling that basketball withdrawal Friday as the FIBA World Cup took its first full day off to allow teams to travel for the Round of 16 and the beginning of the knockout stages. No one may have been watching. But that is OK the tournament goes on. Now things will really get interesting. […]

Learning to shoot is not that easy

“Let’s consider the Magic’s most likely youth-heavy bench lineup: Elfrid Payton – Victor Oladipo – Tobias Harris - Aaron Gordon.

Of those players, though, no one is an above average 3-point shooter. Let’s, for the sake of argument, say that Oladipo become a roughly league average 3-point shooter (his 32.7% accuracy could certainly get there on his way to his first 750 shots). Frye, too, could be the center in the lineup, giving them an elite big man floor spacer.

The combination of having few shooters (and conversely many non-shooters) and only one true “stretch” shooter, results in the Magic having to rely on youth who will hurt their offense, making it, on average, roughly 1-2 points per 100 possession worse than it might be otherwise.

That’s a big drop for a team already struggling with simply a limited amount of talent.”

halbrown of The Analytics Game

Photo by Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s talk playoff chances . . .

File this under the “So you’re saying there is a chance” file. It is September, so excuse a little whimsy. The hard reality is that the Magic are expected to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference again. Any improvements the Magic have made will have to come internally from players already on the […]

Former Magic General Manager Otis Smith taking over Pistons’ D-League team

Stan Van Gundy is getting the band back together in Detroit.

The Pistons are preparing to name former Magic general manager Otis Smith the head coach of the D-League’s Grand Rapids Drive, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Smith served as the Magic’s general manager during Van Gundy’s tenure and was part of the management team that drafted Dwight Howard, ultimately succeeding Jon Weisbrod during the 2006 season. He hired Van Gundy and helped build the Magic’s championship window which included two conference finals and one NBA Finals appearance.

Since Smith resigned before the Magic’s massive rebuild, he has stayed very much out of the spotlight. He obviously had a very close relationship to Van Gundy to get this position in the Pistons’ organization, which Van Gundy is the President of Basketball Operations.

The Drive are an expansion franchise in the D-League that will have a one-to-one relationship with the Pistons.

Photo by Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Evan Fournier struggles to get off the bench

France has performed about as you would expect in the very difficult Group A. The defending Eurobasket champions lost to Brazil, somewhat surprisingly in the opener, before stealing a win from the free throw line against Croatia and then blowing out the overmatched Egypt by 30-plus points. Group A has the day off Tuesday before France takes […]

Photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Waiting for 3-point stabilization

The one thing the Magic know they will have to get better at this season is 3-point shooting. Offenses in the NBA are built around the 3-point shot now thanks to the analytics movement and with so many player on the team now who drive the ball — think Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton — […]

Jacque Vaughn: Magic will have four or five of your favorite players

It’s been two years of rebuilding now after the Dwight Howard era and five years since Orlando played the Finals against the Lakers. I guess the Magic fans expect a step forward this season.

JV: Overall, our group has been extremely patient and the people of Orlando have been extremely patient and we appreciate that. When we set out on this journey, we talked about it. We wanted a product that was going to be sustainable for a lot of years to come. We got great young guys around us and they are going to get better. This is a team that is going to have four or five of your favorite players. You’re not going to have just one favorite player. Good things are ahead for us. We have versatility with this group. I’ll be able to play a lot of different lineups and I’m looking forward to that. That’s exciting for me as a coach.

[Raul Barrigon of HoopsHype]

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