Orlando Magic News & Notes: Howard Unhappy With Media, Schedule Reactions

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Per TalkBasket, Dwight Howard still isn’t happy with the media:

"“I really think we get no love at all, to be honest. But that’s ok. We want to be respected by the teams we play and that’s the only thing that matters. The media can pick whoever they want to win the title, but the team that wins the title is the team that plays. The media doesn’t play a game. I’m pretty sure nobody thought that the Dallas Mavericks were ever going to win the title this year. It’s not about what anybody else says. It’s about what you believe. I believe in myself and in my team. We’ll bring our team to the top, then we will get some respect.”"

Kurt Helin of Pro Baksetball Talk weighed in on Howard’s comments:

"I think the Magic got a fair amount of love at the start of last season, they were thought of as potential contenders. Sure, Boston, Miami and Los Angeles were the favorites going in, but the Magic were on the periphery of that discussion, much more in the discussion than the Mavericks. The difference is, the Mavericks overcame injuries and obstacles, while the Magic made a poor mid-season trade then got bounced by the Hawks. You didn’t like our stories at that point, but they were the truth.Media attention is a double-edged sword. Howard wants the attention but on his terms. He wants to keep the pressure on the Magic to improve the team by not signing a contract extension, but doesn’t want anyone to ask him and speculate about trades or where he may go if he leaves. It doesn’t work that way."

Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie also commented:

"Dwight is right. Nobody picked the Mavericks to win the title last year. But quite a few people had the Orlando Magic making the NBA Finals in 2010, a year after they lost to the Lakers in the NBA’s ultimate round. And I can tell you with confidence that, while I never thought of the Mavs as on par with the Lakers, Heat or Celtics last season, I did count the Mavs as one of those teams that could be right there and move into the Finals with a little luck and good matchups. “Like the Magic from a few years ago,” is what I brought up in chats."

Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel wonders how far the Magic have fallen:

"Yes, they’re now two full seasons removed from their NBA Finals appearance, and last season’s playoff performance was both disappointing and difficult to watch. Not only did the Magic play poorly at the end of last season, they did so with a stagnant offense and an ugly brand of basketball — not exactly what the big TV stations want from their national games (they want stars, points and storylines).But the Magic still have Dwight Howard, perhaps the league’s best highlight maker. They still have the NBA’s most entertaining in-game coach, Stan Van Gundy, who’s always good for amusing sound bites and general bedlam. And they’re still a competitive team; last year the Magic defeated every team with a better record than them."

My take? I can’t say I disagree with Helin or Dwyer, but Howard has always used perceived media slights as extra motivation. I’ve never believed professional athletes, especially ones that are the top of their game like Howard, need extra motivation, but if it helps his mindset, I don’t think it’s a big deal.

Still, they make good points. The Magic were bounced in the first round by a team they own and still have 14 national television games and six more on NBA TV, so I don’t really think they’re being disrespected. If anything, they probably deserve the amount of national television games they have.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com) and is the co-host of the ESPN1080.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).