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Orlando Magic News & Notes: Pieces In Place


Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie says Orlando has the pieces in place to win a title.

"Those are your problem points: Lewis and Carter. Jameer Nelson, as well, to a lesser extent. And those are the problem points on a team that nearly won 60 games, a team that’s probably going to return just about everyone next season, and a team that should probably have the best chance (with Boston possibly fading, and LeBron James(notes) going or staying or who the heck knows?) at taking the Eastern crown in 2010-11.Yes, it’s another on-paper call, but Stan Van Gundy makes paper come to life. I have unending respect for him as a coach, and despite his rotation’s character flaws, this is still a team that others should worry about. Matt Barnes(notes) will opt out of his contract, but he’ll probably be back. J.J. Redick will probably be back. Jason Williams(notes) was clearly a concern for SVG, his brother Jeff let that out of the bag on air, and he won’t be back. But the Magic, the team that wins, will be back."

You can read that story here.

George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel thinks it’s all mental for Dwight Howard.

"On a more simplistic level, Howard is going with the “sticks and stones may hurt my bones but names will never hurt me” approach to the antagonists.“There’s a process. I understand that,” he said Monday during Orlando’s “exit interview,” officially marking the end of the 2009-2010 season. “The biggest thing is for me to clear my head and not worry about what people say or write about me and just focus on playing basketball. Nobody out there is perfect. It’s all about being mentally strong.”You could quibble that Howard needs more work beyond the touchy-feely, self-help route — that effective drop step would be nice — but this can’t be discounted as worthless pop psychology.For a guy who calls himself Superman, Howard isn’t impervious to the power of the written or spoken word. His feelings get hurt. He bristles. He takes stuff to heart."

You can read that story here.

Otis Smith is not blaming Vince Carter.

"As everyone now knows, that didn’t work out. Carter had his ups and downs during the regular season, but once the playoffs started he turned things up a notch. He was dominant in the second round, averaging 18.3 points per game while shooting 51% from the field and 47% from three, and completely stymied All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson on the other end of the court. It seemed like an omen of good things to come, but the omen turned out to be wrong. Carter did his best impression of the Invisible Man in the Eastern Conference Finals, averaging 13.7 points and shooting just 37% from the field and 21% from three. JJ Redick soon began taking Carter’s minutes, as Carter turned into a liability on both ends of the floor. Still, Magic GM Otis Smith was diplomatic in assessing blame for the Magic’s disappointing finish.“I think that Vince will tell you he’d like to have had a better season, but I’m not putting it on one guy,” Smith told the Orlando Sentinel. “We failed as a unit.”Smith also said he expects Carter to be with the Magic through the end of next season, when his contract expires. Whether or not that’s true remains to be seen, as Carter’s $17 million expiring deal would be a valuable trading chip come February. If he continues to disappoint, and JJ Redick continues to step up, Carter may be expendable at the deadline."

Bill Ingram of Hoops World that story here.

Philip Rossman-Reich of Orlando Magic Daily likes that the Magic developed a bit of a mean streak.

"The Magic were not pushovers all season and every team knew they would be in for a war every time they went into Amway Arena, whether it was Howard’s protection of the rim or Barnes’ emotional energy and willingness to fight for everything.Orlando is a laid back team. There are not a lot of enforcers. So to be talking about anything like this with this team has to be something amazing."

You can read that story here.

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel grades Adonal Foyle’s season.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and on Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).