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Stuff Wins NBA Mascot of the Year Honor

2016 July 30
by Adam Papageorgiou

agstuff

Orlando Magic mascot Stuff has apparently been crowned NBA Mascot of the Year, according to a lot of exclamation-filled social media postings. Congratulations to the green guy. We see him mostly at Magic games, but Stuff is constantly out in the community visiting people in hospitals and attending parties he gets invited to.

 

 

 

 

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Orlando Announces 2016-2017 Magic Dancers Squad

2016 July 29
by Adam Papageorgiou
magic1617

Fernando Medina, Orlando Magic

On Thursday night, thirty women took part in final auditions inside Amway Center’s Disney Atrium where they performed in front of fans to earn one of 20 spots for the finalized 2016-2017 Orlando Magic Dancers team. It was the culmination of a lengthy two-week process. Pre-auditions. Interviews. Workouts. Routines.

There are only 6 new faces this season, as – you do the math – fourteen are returning for another campaign.

Looking at the photo at the top, here’s your 20-dancer squad:

Top row, left to right: Lily, Kiki, Sarah, Cierra, Olivia, Desiree, Rachel, Bethany, Nicole H., Kori

Bottom row, left to right: Erika, Zuli, Victoria Q., Molleigh, Brittany, Mackenzie, Nikki, Nicole F., Lauren, Victoria R.

Fans were allowed to vote all week on who they wanted to make the team, but there was a judging panel as well on Thursday.

 

 

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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Orlando Can Play The ‘Disrespect’ Card This Season

2016 July 28
by Adam Papageorgiou
Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

It’s not difficult to figure out what the Orlando Magic did this offseason, or how great they could be this upcoming 2016-2017 NBA campaign. Yet why are some national media outlets perplexed and even outraged at some of their moves?

In my eyes, Orlando’s defense improved a lot. Especially on the interior. Their 3-point shooting will be better. They’re going to run faster while still having enough offensive options to carve up opponents in half-court sets. They got experience, but this franchise is far from old. C.J. Watson is currently the only Magic man over the age of 30. The depth chart and rotations appear clear. On paper, Orlando looks like a playoff team if the roster can stay healthy.

The folks at ESPN Stats & Information believe the Magic will finish with…the same record as the ’15-’16 season. 35-47 and 13th out of fifteen franchises in the Eastern Conference. No improvement. None.

 

Are the Magic any better or worse off for trading Victor Oladipo for Serge Ibaka? Both play great defense but struggle to get involved offensively. You could say the same for other Magic additions in Bismack Biyombo and Jeff Green.

 

So let’s recap. Here are the players that are entering and who have exited the franchise’s employment over the past month and a half.

OUT: Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, Dewayne Dedmon, Jason Smith, Andrew Nicholson, Brandon Jennings, Shabazz Napier, Devyn Marble, Domantas Sabonis (2016 #11 pick)

IN: Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Green, D.J. AugustinJodie Meeks, C.J. Wilcox, Stephen Zimmerman

Oh, and the Magic upgraded their coaching too. The Magic will still be bringing in one or two more players come opening night. And you’re telling me the Magic won’t improve? At all?

It doesn’t stop there.

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Orlando to Open 2016 Preseason in Memphis on October 3rd

2016 July 28
by Adam Papageorgiou

marcvooch

The NBA should be releasing the 2016-2017 schedule within the next few weeks. On Thursday, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reported what is now the second known Orlando Magic preseason contest. The first game in the Frank Vogel coaching era will occur Monday October 3rd against the Grizzlies in Memphis at the FedEx Forum.

Orlando will be bringing a roster that is half new. Memphis, ravaged by injuries last season, basically kept their core and added Chandler Parsons in free agency as well as drafted big man Deyonta Davis.

We already know that the pinstriped patrol will be traveling to Miami to face the Heat on October 18th in an exhibition game. The sunshine state rivals look very different without Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng.

I haven’t been this giddy about an upcoming Magic schedule unveiling since at least 2011. Bring it on.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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Penny & Pops Podcast: Can Orlando Win the Southeast Division?

2016 July 21
by Adam Papageorgiou

New MBO Facebook Profile Pic

Even though free agency isn’t completely over, we examine whether the Orlando Magic can win the Southeast division. We sift through the competition: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, and Washington Wizards.

The city of Orlando is once again rumored to be a possible 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend host city, and why that’s not a good idea. Especially with candidates like New Orleans and Las Vegas also becoming options as a replacement host.

The impact on the squad/rotation of Jodie Meeks‘ foot surgery gets discussed, as well as the benefits of Aaron Gordon‘s U.S. Select Team experience.

Warning: Adult Language

 

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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Jodie Meeks Has Surgery on Right Foot, Out Indefinitely

2016 July 19
by Adam Papageorgiou

meeksorl

It’s bad news for one of Rob Hennigan’s summer acquisitions. Orlando Magic guard Jodie Meeks had surgery on Tuesday to further stabilize the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. He will be ‘out indefinitely’ and his return to action will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation.

The 28-year-old Meeks was acquired on June 29th from the Detroit Pistons in exchange for a future conditional second round pick. By all accounts, it was a low-risk move from the Magic. Not only did they give little in return, but Meeks’ contract is only for the one season at $6.5 million.

It’s not improbable to think that the 41st pick of the 2009 NBA Draft could miss the entire ’16-’17 campaign, and never actually wear an Orlando uniform during a regular season contest. Hopefully we see a mid-season return. That means more potential minutes for players like Mario Hezonja, the recently acquired C.J. Wilcox, and even C.J. Watson should coach Frank Vogel try to give the now third-string point guard some minutes at the SG spot.

Meeks played in only three games with Detroit last season. The University of Kentucky product originally suffered a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot on Oct. 28th against the Utah Jazz, the second game of that 2015-2016 regular season. Meeks played the final game of the regular season for Stan Van Gundy’s club on April 13th, notching 20 points in 26 minutes on 6-of-15 shooting (4-of-9 on 3s) in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. He would play 1:41 in a Game 2 blowout loss against the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.

Losing Meeks certainly is a blow to Orlando’s wing depth. They could absolutely use the abilities of a career 37.3 3PT% shooter. Meeks has played in 418 career NBA regular season games, starting in 194 of them. The 20 career NBA playoff contests is solid experience for the inexperienced core. On December 30, 2014 in Orlando, Meeks connected on a career-high 9 three-point field goals, setting a new Magic record for most three-pointers made by an opponent in a game, as well as a record inside Amway Center.

While I wish Jodie a speedy recovery, his absence from the court will not make or break this squad’s season. This is still a playoff team if all goes as planned. Hopefully Meeks can provide good support for his teammates in the locker room and on the bench as he rehabilitates.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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Penny & Pops Podcast: 2016 Free Agency Has Been Busy for Orlando

2016 July 16
by Adam Papageorgiou

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With my return back from vacation, the past few weeks of Orlando Magic trades and 2016 free agency signings get broken down and discussed. Starters and depth charts get sifted through, and why the national media continues to perplex us with its pessimism for what Rob Hennigan and his front office have accomplished this summer. We give Summer League a last mention. Finally, will this Orlando franchise make the playoffs?

We go through the gauntlet of new Magic men: Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Green, D.J. Augustin, even Stephen Zimmerman and C.J. Wilcox. The re-signing of Evan Fournier and the departure of Magic men from the ’15-’16 campaign.

Warning: Adult Language

 

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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Fournier Being Left Off France’s National Team Seems Wrong

2016 July 16
by Adam Papageorgiou

PHOTO BASKET 6

The French national basketball team’s 12-man roster for the 2016 Olympics – that’s taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this August – was revealed this week. One very noticeable name was lacking that from that list…recently re-signed Orlando Magic wing player Evan Fournier.

 

 

Evan Fournier was the NBA’s highest-scoring Frenchman in the ’15-’16 campaign at 15.4 points per contest. Not Nicolas Batum (14.9 ppg). Not Tony Parker (11.9 ppg).

Every French media outlet recognizes the 23-year-old Fournier as the future leader of the national team. At 13 years old, he was in a TV commercial with Boris Diaw. Nando de Colo is already taking responsibilities away from the aging Tony Parker. Nic Batum is still in his prime, but it’s Fournier who brings the scoring versatility and the charisma that fans get attracted to.

Fournier played huge roles in France’s bronze medals at the 2014 FIBA World Cup as well as the 2015 EuroBasket tournaments.

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Orlando Trades Marble and 2nd-Rounder for C.J. Wilcox

2016 July 15
by Adam Papageorgiou

CJ-LA-Clippers

It was officially announced on Friday that the Orlando Magic have acquired guard C.J. Wilcox and cash considerations from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Devyn Marble and a future second round draft pick. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel was first to report the trade, stating that the second-rounder Orlando is giving up will be in the year 2020, and is coming from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The 25-year-old 6’5″ guard played in 23 games this recent sophomore NBA season he had with the Clippers, averaging 3.0 ppg in 7.3 minutes per contest.

This is all about giving a potentially great 3-point shooter a chance to make a bench impact. The University of Washington product shot a very respectable 39.1 3PT% in ’15-’16.

He tallied a career-high 19 points at Phoenix this past April, and took part in 2 Clippers playoff games. Because of J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford always being in front of him in the rotation, it was tough for the 28th overall pick of the 2014 Draft to get off Doc Rivers‘ bench. Wilcox played in 21 NBA Developmental League games, averaging 18.6 ppg., 3.9 rpg. and 2.8 apg, while shooting 41.7 percent from three-point range.

Wilcox has only notched 44 career games with the Clippers, scoring 111 points in 268 total minutes on 38.1 3PT%. Fun fact: Wilcox made his NBA debut on December 3, 2014 against the Magic (see above photo).

The Utah native finished his college career as Washington’s all-time leader in three-pointers made. He is one of three players in Pac-12 history to record at least 1,700 career points, 275 career three-pointers, and 400 career rebounds.

The end of Devyn Marble’s Magic tenure is unfortunate, but not surprising. Orlando was going to flat out waive him prior to his contract becoming guaranteed this weekend, but then this Clippers opportunity presented itself. It was last reported that L.A. was waiving the Iowa Hawkeyes wing product.

Originally acquired in the Arron AfflaloEvan Fournier deal in the summer of ’14, the 56th overall selection of the 2014 Draft played in 28 games with Orlando last season, averaging 2.1 ppg and 1.4 rpg in 8.9 minutes per contest. Devyn has appeared in 44 career NBA regular season games, including seven starts with the Magic. Though his defense was always decent, Devyn has not been able to find his shooting touch. Marble is hoisting up career 30.4 FG% and 22.2 3PT% marks. The 23-year-old disappointed at the Orlando Summer League too.

Had his contract been guaranteed, Marble was expected to make about $980,000 this upcoming ’16-’17 campaign. Orlando will be paying Wilcox about $1.2 million this season. For 2017-2018, Orlando holds a team option on Wilcox’s $2.18 million estimated salary.

Wilcox actually fractured his hand minutes into this month’s Orlando Summer League. Bad luck. He’s already had surgery though, and should be set for training camp when that takes place in a few months. Wilcox’s name has always been floated around as a possible Orlando target since midway through his rookie year. I’ve always been curious about his abilities myself, and definitely approve of this low-risk transaction. The Magic roster currently stands at 13 signed players.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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Magic 8-Ball: Talk About a Crazy Two Weeks

2016 July 12
by Adam Papageorgiou

Magic8Ball

Back from my 2-week vacation, the Orlando Magic have improved vastly in that span of time thanks to a wide variety of moves. GM Rob Hennigan went the aggressive route this 2016 NBA free agency in a strong attempt to get this franchise back in the playoffs. I think his decisions may pay off.  

 

#1: Show Biyombo the Money

That’s a fun personality, man. I don’t know how he’ll contribute on the court – whether as a starter or as a 25+ minute bench player – but that’s a rare character that you’ll find in the NBA.

I knew Bismack Biyombo was going to get paid a lot for the huge playoff run he had with the Toronto Raptors. I just didn’t picture the Magic being the team to do that, especially after shipping out Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and Domantas Sabonis for Serge Ibaka. The Magic went from no big-time shot blockers to potentially having two top-5 rim protectors.

Don’t get hung up on the contract. Four years at $17 million per season is a lot to give to a player that doesn’t have a long track record of consistent play, but Biyombo doesn’t turn 24 years old until late August. Both Ibaka and Biyombo have plenty of similarities: Grew up in the Congo, had difficult paths to the NBA where it took them getting to Spain before they truly landed on front office radars, French speakers, versatile bigs that can swat anything in sight.

I’m excited. Don’t get me wrong though, this doesn’t mean Nikola Vucevic‘s job or future is in danger. On the contrary. Orlando now has 3 awesome bigs.

Rob Hennigan and Frank Vogel sharing some jokes and laughs during their press conferences should have Magic fans confident.

 

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