Orlando Magic News & Notes: Howard On the Call

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Dwight Howard may not be in the slam dunk contest and wasn’t coaching in the Rookie game like he did last season but Howard provided some expert analysis. You can read about the job Howard did as a commentator here.

Howard has been repeatedly asked about his battle with Shaquille O’Neal and the comments he made afterwards. Howard responded to those comments on his blog.

"I really think the hype out there about me and Shaq is all just TV build up. I know he had some things to say about me and Stan Van Gundy last year, and he said some other stuff Thursday night after our game about us having to double-team him. But really, I don’t have a problem with Shaq and I don’t think he has a problem with me either.Everybody makes it a big deal with all of the Superman thing and all of that, but I never proclaimed myself to be a super man. It’s just something that I did in the dunk contest, wearing the shirt and the cape for fun. It’s not like I tried to take Shaq’s show or anything like that."

Read Dwight’s blog here.

Rashard Lewis also updated his blog to talk about his olympic decision.

"Usually, that would be a dream come true. Playing for my country usually would have been an incredible experience and something I’ve always wanted to do. After thinking about it for a long while, I eventually declined the invitation for a couple of reasons.First of all, I’m having another baby this summer around the time that the camp is going on. It’s going to be a baby boy born on July 20th and it’ll be my first son. It’s going to be Junior. Rashard Lewis Jr., that’s so cool to me. So I’m really looking forward to that this summer.And here’s my second reason for declining: With the guys that they are already going to have on the team, there are really only three spots available. So it’s kind of like 18 guys trying out for three spots. There will be a lot of factors in the decision on who will make it and I just think at the end of the day that it would be tough for me to make that team."

You can Rashard’s blog here.

Stan Van Gundy’s rise to All-Star coach is truly storybook.

"Stan played for his Dad at SUNY-Brockport and then coached basketball part-time and lined baseball fields as an equipment manager at Castleton (VT) State for $1,500 a year. He thought he’d remain a lifetime high school or small-college head coach (as his father did for 40 years) until landing the University of Wisconsin job in1994.Then the Badgers fired him, severing his coaching umbilical cord. Stan could hear his father’s two rules in his head: 1) if you want to be loved, don’t coach; 2) save your packing boxes (for your next move)."

Brian Schmitz has the story here.

Bradford Doolittle took a look at the league’s best statistical defenders.

"With that out of the way, let’s move on to the list of the 17 players currently rated as +5 defenders by NBAPET, in order of dMULT.1. Dwight Howard, ORL (C, .709): There is a near consensus that Howard has become the NBA’s most dominant defensive force. Physically, he has it all and he really exhibits the kind of mobility it takes to be a great defending big man in today’s NBA."

You can read Doolittle’s article and see his list here.

OrlandoMagic.com has a cool story up called “Around the All-Stars.” They took a look at some of the storylines from Friday night. You can find that here.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)