Skip to content

Victor Oladipo Works Out in Indiana with Heat Players

2014 August 21
by Adam Papageorgiou

dipoheatzeller

Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo has been working out in Bloomington, Indiana this week and taken part in an ‘On The Road’ tour. That’s no surprise considering the Hoosier product frequently returns to his old stomping grounds. Indiana’s Head Coach Tom Crean is known for running great offseason programs for players. Along with the Hornets’ Cody Zeller though, ‘Dipo also worked out with Miami Heat players Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, former Magic man Josh McRoberts, and Norris Cole. Wade played for Coach Crean at Marquette, McRoberts is an Indiana high school kid, and the other Heat members felt like tagging along.

Victor also gave an interview to Hoosier media chatting about the rigors of the NBA, taking up a leadership role, and how saying how excited he is to play with Orlando’s new 3-point shooters. ‘Dipo also uses “process”.

If the audio is an issue, here’s a higher quality video of the interview. It’s tough to rekindle an in-state rivalry when you’re spending time with your opponent. In all seriousness though, there a lot of similarities in Oladipo’s body type and style of play as D-Wade. If Victor can pick the brain of the All-Star and champion, then more power to him. It only benefits Orlando more. Victor is definitely putting in the effort to lead the Magic franchise back to success and should see large playing improvements in his upcoming sophomore campaign.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Orlando Dodged a Joel Embiid Twitter Bullet

2014 August 20
by Adam Papageorgiou

embiiddraftface

The Philadelphia 76ers already have a star on their hands in Joel Embiid. Not a basketball star, but one of the social media variety. The 3rd overall selection from June hasn’t stepped on a court in months and he’s already the most popular NBA rookie as the ‘MVP of Twitter’. Joel has grabbed plenty of attention via his Twitter account. From hitting on a married woman, to making USA soccer fans angry, to recruiting LeBron James then blocking him on Twitter, to having an obsession with Rihanna that would get your average man smacked in the face with a restraining order. But it’s good entertainment for fans and basketball media who have a sense of humor towards embarrassing situations. It’s hilarious, except for his employer. I can’t imagine what the Sixers’ public relations folks are feeling every time Joel is sending out a tweet.

It’s something that I’m sure the Magic are beyond glad they won’t have to deal with. It’s been 3 years since Gilbert Arenas went through a vast amount of Twitter shenanigans while a member of the Orlando Magic. It got ugly with ‘Agent Zero’ and his public backlash until he deleted his Twitter account. Everyone considered Gilbert a hilarious human being including myself. Plus, I once won one of his sneaker giveaway contests. Joel’s not at the level that Gilbert’s tweeting reached. Not yet anyway. There’s no dislike for Embiid on my end. If you have the testicular fortitude to put yourself out there with little worry for tweeting repercussions, good for you. I can appreciate a good Maury joke. Just know that even though you’re already financially secure for life, you have to keep the people and the organization you represent somewhere in the back of your mind constantly. You don’t have to be that public to get a celebrity to notice you. Plus, it smells of desperation for any and all sorts of attention.

I have no doubt that once the Kansas Jayhawk product fully heals from his foot surgery that he can become the best player from the 2014 Draft class. But the 7-footer may not even play a minute of the 2014-2015 season. Funny and controversial tweets can turn a popular tweeter into an infamous figure quickly if you anger enough folks. Just look at his tweets from this week. He’s calling out another female musical performer’s “trash” music video, proclaiming himself already as an MVP, shared his aspirations to become a future president, and used a picture of Andrew Wiggins to talk about nude direct messaging. Come on, guy. Some of it is harmless, even insightful on occasion, but someone needs to hire Joel a social networking specialist. Confidence can turn into craziness really quickly. Save the swag for the court.

I look back on June 25th – the night before the Draft – when Embiid had a Twitter slip-up. The man from Cameroon tweeted that he was a Los Angeles Laker, then quickly deleted it and blamed it on a friend and then fumed at the sub-tweet backlash. Friends prank us all of the time. Completely understandable. That tweet above though isn’t the ideal attitude I want from a player who is supposed to transform my franchise in exchange for millions of dollars from my bank account. If you can’t take Twitter criticism from a bunch of random people, what happens when NBA adversity hits you?

All of this is a non-issue for Magic fans because Philly took Embiid third instead of Dante Exum. Then Orlando drafted what seems to be a very mature 18-year-old in Aaron Gordon, followed by acquiring a seemingly mature 20-year-old in Elfrid Payton. That’s been GM Rob Hennigan’s style since taking over in the summer of 2012. Going into draft night it was rumored that the Magic were ’50/50′ on Aaron and Joel as to who they would draft 4th overall. If I’m thinking it over that deeply, a pretty good tiebreaker would be ‘Okay, which of these two guys is least likely to harm our team’s public image?’ Being ‘bland’ or ‘safe’ on social networks prevailed in the case of Aaron and Elfrid. All of their youthful excitement and energy will hopefully be saved for the parquet floor.

‘Will Joel Embiid get fined by the NBA before he plays a second in a regular season game?’

That should be a Vegas bet line. Joel Embiid likes people to ‘come slide into his DMs’. He may need to get used to sliding checks into the NBA’s mailbox. All of his talent may not be worth the hassle. Until he proves otherwise, Orlando was wise to not seek Joel’s basketball services.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Top 5 Magic Playoff Wins Officiated by Dick Bavetta

2014 August 19
by Adam Papageorgiou

dickdwightmagic

After 39 years of officiating games in the National Basketball Association, Dick Bavetta is finally retiring his whistle. The 74-year-old from Brooklyn, New York is stepping away from his job as probably the most recognizable NBA official in the league’s history. Whether that’s a positive or negative statement I’ll leave that up to you.

Over my lifetime I have found myself disagreeing with Bavetta’s officiating decisions on countless occasions over a wide variety of Magic games. It’s rather easy to shout disapproval when the individual’s first name you’re yelling can easily be used in a cursing manner.  But you don’t survive a profession for so many years – including a ref scandal – without being good at your job and being admired by your peers. Dick was known as the Cal Ripkin Jr. of refereeing with that 2,635-game officiating streak he held.

I’ve created a Top 5 list of the best Orlando Magic playoff games that Bavetta officiated. No coincidence, that all of these contests resulted in Orlando victories. Dick’s officiated 270 playoff games, these are the ones that matter to Magic fans.

 

Honorable Mention

May 12, 1996 – Orlando Magic @ Atlanta Hawks

Game 3 Result: Magic Win 103-96

Series: Magic Lead Eastern Conference Semifinals 3-0

 

After sweeping the Detroit Pistons in the 1st Round, Coach Brian Hill’s team took care of business in the first two home games at the O-Rena. The Magic were primed to make another trip to the NBA Finals, and the Hawks weren’t about to slow them down in this Game 3 contest at the Omni Coliseum. Brian Shaw was the only Magic bench player to score with 5 points. It wasn’t a worry though because each Orlando starter had 15+ points. Shaquille O’Neal led the way with 24 points and 12 rebounds, Anfernee Hardaway notched 21 points and 6 assists, and Horace Grant added 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Atlanta had double-digit contributions from their starters as well. Christian Laettner had 26 points, Grant Long posted 13 & 13, while Mookie Blaylock notched 20 points and 8 assists. The contest was tied entering the 4th quarter as the Magic won the period 21-14. Orlando won the rebounding battle 39-31 and had slightly better shooting percentages. Atlanta would take Game 4 to stay alive in the series, but the Magic would send Atlanta fishing by winning Game 5 in O-Town and punching their ticket to another Eastern Conference Finals.

 

Below is the Top 5 List.

read more…

FanDuel Becomes New Orlando Magic Sponsor

2014 August 19
by Adam Papageorgiou

fanduellogo

FanDuel, the leader in one-day fantasy sports, has joined the Orlando Magic as a “Champions of the Community (COTC)” sponsor. FanDuel joins Walt Disney World, GEICO, Florida Hospital, PepsiCo, Southwest Airlines, Harris, and Chase as Champions of the Community.

“We are honored to have FanDuel join our family,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “This is yet another example of an innovative company showing its commitment to the Magic. We believe this sponsorship will be mutually beneficial and will provide the opportunity for FanDuel to deliver a direct, positive and engaging message to our fan base and beyond. Through this new agreement, together we will also seek opportunities for local outreach.”

FanDuel specializes in fantasy sports games. It was founded in 2009. FanDuel offers fast game play and cash prizes across both web and mobile devices. FanDuel uses the same format as any other season-long fantasy game, the only difference is games last one day or one week with winnings paid out immediately after a game concludes.

FanDuel will receive prominent exposure at Amway Center, including on-the-court exposure. FanDuel will also sponsor the North Club Bar at the Amway Center, where fans will be able to get up-to-date stats on their favorite players, as well as the Orlando Magic’s Mobile App.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Magic Family Participates in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

2014 August 19
by Adam Papageorgiou

harkless bucket

By now you have seen numerous people participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge that is spreading ALS Awareness and raising donations across the country. If you don’t know what Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is – otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease – below is an explanation from ALSA.org.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons  die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has proven to be phenomenally effective in bringing in funds that go to researching and hopefully one day finding a cure for the disease. There’s a wonderful and emotional ESPN piece on the origins of the challenge. It’s taken a while for the movement to grow. Now it’s spreading like a wildfire thanks to celebrities and professional athletes from across the globe partaking in dousing cold water over their heads. Orlando Magic players have joined in on the cause.

 

Maurice Harkless:

 

Below you’ll see who else from the Magic organization has taken part following Maurice.

read more…

The NBA Championship of Florida: Heat v. Magic

2014 August 18
by Adam Papageorgiou

beattheheat

Rivalries bring out the passion that makes sports as popular as they are today. Especially regional and local rivalries. Yankees-Red Sox. Barcelona-Real Madrid. Gators-Seminoles. Auburn-Alabama. Giants-Dodgers. Olympiakos-Panathinaikos. UCF-USF. Packers-Bears. Duke-North Carolina. Maple Leafs-Canadiens. Blackhawks-Red Wings. Sounders-Timbers. Seahawks-49ers. Michigan-Ohio State.

Miami versus Orlando. Magic versus Heat. Why is this Sunshine State NBA matchup never in the conversation? There are only these two professional basketball clubs in Florida.

Whenever these two expansion teams face each other, the word ‘rivalry’ almost never gets used anymore. You can credit a variety of things for this being the case. Free agency and trades. A lack of playoff meetings (only one in 1997). The locker rooms and coaching staffs of both franchises never hyping up a sunshine state clash. Probably the main factor is that the Heat and Magic are still young organizations with developing fan bases.

If you commute via the Florida Turnpike, the two franchises are separated by 234 miles. Only a three or 4-hour drive.

Miami got their NBA franchise in the ’88-’89 season while Orlando followed a year later.

Orlando’s franchise win-loss record is 1002-1000. Miami’s is 1085-999.

The regular season win-loss matchup record is 55-44 in favor of the Heat.

Since the Southeast Division was created in the 2004-2005 season, either the Heat or Magic have won the division crown.

The Heat have had 18 playoff appearances. Orlando has been stuck on 14 for a few years.

Miami has 5 Conference titles. The Magic have two.

The Heat have 11 division titles. Orlando trails with five.

Miami has 3 jerseys retired: Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning, and Michael Jordan (which is still strange to me). Orlando has #6 hanging in the rafters in honor of its fans being the Sixth Man.

Obviously the biggest gap between the two teams is Miami’s 3 NBA championships to Orlando’s zero. It hurts for sure if you live in Central Florida. If it doesn’t, then you’re either a transplant and/or you don’t like basketball.

But what happens when we do a season by season breakdown of the two franchises to see which team is superior?

 

1988-1989 Season

Heat: 15-67; 6th in Midwest Division; No Playoffs

Magic: N/A

Winner: Heat…by default.

Although if you only manage fifteen victories in an 82-game season, can you REALLY be considered a winner? Orlando already knew it was being given a franchise after all. Kevin Edwards was Miami’s leading scorer on the season at 13.8 ppg. That’s bad and there is no sugarcoating it. Miami ranked dead last out of 25 NBA teams in points scored per game. Do Heat fans even know who Rory Sparrow was? I will say it’s pretty cool that Ron Rothstein is still with the Heat franchise, and here he is as the Head Coach of their inaugural season.

 

1989-1990 Season

Heat: 18-64; 5th in Atlantic Division; No Playoffs

Magic: 18-64; 7th in Central Division; No Playoffs

Winner: Magic

For starters, it’s Orlando’s inaugural season. There were only 27 NBA teams – see the wonky division placements – at the time and Miami ranked 24th in both offense and defense. Orlando may have had the worst defense in the league – giving up a gaudy 119.8 ppg – but at least Coach Matt Guokas had his Magic men running on offense which was 5th-best in the Association. The entertainment tiebreaker is obvious here. Terry Catledge and Reggie Theus were doing a lot of scoring in those pinstripes. The Orlando Arena also beat out the Miami Arena in attendance. Rony Seikaly did at least make quite a leap in his sophomore season to lead Miami in scoring.

 

Below you’ll find things get much better for both franchises. 

read more…

France Falls to Australia as Fournier Scores 9 Points

2014 August 17
by Adam Papageorgiou

fournierbatumbored

The French men’s senior national basketball team concluded their 3-game exhibition tournament in Antibes, France on Sunday with a 76-74 loss to Australia. Orlando Magic wing Evan Fournier finished with 9 points and 3 rebounds on 3-of-6 shooting (1-for-2 on 3-pointers). Just like against Ukraine yesterday, the French paid for keeping Evan on the bench in crunch time when they needed 3-point shooting in 16 minutes of action. Below is Evan’s shot chart.

FournierShotChartAussies

Nicolas Batum led all players with 24 points. Boris Diaw tallied 14 points for France, but committed some horrible errors down the stretch that sealed their fate.  Another San Antonio Spur, Aron Baynes led Australia with 21 points. Cleveland Cavalier Matthew Dellavedova notched 10 points and 5 assists. Magic fans will be happy to know that Dante Exum struggled. In 14 minutes, Utah’s draft pick only managed 2 points on a bad 1-for-8 shooting.

With Nando De Colo breaking his hand and being ruled unavailable for the FIBA World Cup, Evan is expected to receive more meaningful playing time. Coach Vincent Collet wasn’t disappointed tonight as Fournier had seven first half points on 2-of-4 shooting (1-for-2 on 3s) as they led Australia 36-34 at the break in what was a physical exhibition. It needs to continuously be preached that Evan needs many more touches on offense, especially since Evan’s been quite sturdy on defense. Fournier even had to play post-up defense against big men like Brock Motum an David Andersen, even fronting properly.

France gets a few days off before hosting one final pre-World Cup exhibition tournament. This time it’ll be in the town of Strasbourg. They’ll play Finland and Australia (again) between August 22nd and the 24th.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Ukraine Defeats France as Fournier Has Quiet Outing

2014 August 16
by Adam Papageorgiou

fournierhat

Day 2 of France’s exhibition tournament in Antibes found the French national team losing to Ukraine 63-56 on Saturday. Orlando Magic wing Evan Fournier had a relatively quiet outing off the bench. French Coach Vincent Collet decided not to utilize his best 3-point shooter down the stretch and it costed him as guys like Nicolas Batum and Mickael Gelabale clanked 3-pointers late. In 15 minutes of action, Evan only managed 3 points and 1 rebound on 1-of-3 from long distance. The French team as a whole was 6-for-21 from long distance.

France coughed up 16 turnovers and a few of those were just horrible passes sent in Evan’s direction after the 21-year-old put himself in prime position to score. Ukraine were led by their diminutive starting point guard, Pooh Jeter, who scored 23 points. It was fun seeing former NBA coach Mike Fratello getting into the leading referee’s ear and earning Ukraine some questionable calls down the stretch.

France will finish off their 3-game weekend in Antibes on Sunday as they take on Dante Exum and Australia. We’re exactly 2 weeks away from the FIBA World Cup tournament kicking off in Spain.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

 

***Join Magic Basketball Online on Twitter and Facebook!***

Fournier Contributes 6 Points as France Edge Past the Philippines

2014 August 15
by Adam Papageorgiou

EvanFrancePrep

The French men’s national basketball team on Friday kicked off another 3-day weekend exhibition tour in preparation for the FIBA World Cup that takes place in two weeks. This time the Blue-White Tour is in the town of Antibes. France struggled from the perimeter but still managed to beat the Philippines 75-68 in the first of three consecutive days of games. France were 2-for-17 from 3-point range while the Philippines were 12-of-29 from deep.

It was the 1st contest played since Orlando Magic wing Evan Fournier officially was announced as a member of the 12-man squad that will be heading to Spain. Coach Vincent Collet had Fournier come off the bench as usual. Evan finished with 6 points, 2 rebounds, and a block  on 2-for-5 shooting (0-of-2 from long distance) in twelve minutes of action.

fournierphilippinesshotchart

All six of those points came in the first half as Evan did an outstanding job of utilizing his quickness and size advantage over the Philippines’ small guards to attack the paint at will and convert on his aggressive takes to the rim. Fournier displayed a wide variety of off-ball cuts and dribble drives. You forget the 21-year-old is 6′ 7″ when he moves so fast. He just needs more touches. Surprisingly, Evan’s biggest problem on the court currently is that he just cannot drain a 3-pointer when he’s left wide open. Both missed attempts he didn’t have anyone within a few yards of him. Hand in Evan’s face, no problem. Fifteen feet of space to take your time and release, nope.

San Antonio Spur Boris Diaw saw his first court action since winning the NBA Finals. Boris looked rusty as he had 1 point, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. Nicolas Batum tallied a respectable 16-point and 11-rebound double-double.

Andray Blatche believe it or not plays for the Philippines. Blatche scored 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting. Both Blatche and Fournier ended up rolling their ankles in this contest. Evan’s at least came as a result of taking a hard charge on a driving Blatche.

France continues their Antibes Tournament with Day 2 action on Saturday as they take on Ukraine.

Below is part 3 of the French Basketball Federation’s summer series on their national team. Fournier once more gets a lot of air time.


Bleu Blanc Tour – La Série – Épisode 3 by FFBB

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO and Founder of Orlando Magic Greek

Digging Deeper into Orlando’s Roller Coaster Schedule

2014 August 14
by Adam Papageorgiou

coachhjv

The Orlando Magic preseason and 2014-2015 regular season schedule are out in the open. We know when former Magic men like Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Stan Van Gundy, Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick, and others are coming back to Amway Center. Orlando once again won’t be on a true nationally televised game. Got it. Let’s dig deeper into the regular season schedule difficulty level itself. All of the graphics provided in this piece come courtesy of Ed Kupfer.

19 of Orlando’s first 28 contests are on the road. Only nine of those contests are against Western Conference opposition, so the Magic will find out quickly how they stack up in the East. Also, 17 of those 28 games are against franchises that reached the playoffs last season. Their season-long 6-game road trip is in the heart of that stretch. Other than that though, Orlando has no 5-game road trips and only one 4-game roadie (Jan. 7th-12th) for the entire season.

Talk about rookie trial by fire for Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, and Devyn Marble. We’re in the third year of the Rob Hennigan-Jacque Vaughn era. 20-something wins should not be tolerated again this upcoming season. The Magic were a franchise-worse 4-37 on the road in ’13-’14. It’s awful in an NBA perspective. If Orlando mirrors similar road failures in the ’14-’15 campaign, then it’s going to be a horrendous first 1/3 of the season.

16 out of 23 games from January 14th to March 8th – with the February 12th through Feb. 19th All-Star Break in between – are played inside Amway Center. Thirteen of those 23 contests are against squads that were in the postseason last season. This is where Jacque’s roster is going to have find their winning ways if they want a chance at the playoffs. Orlando was only 19-22 at home last year and it’s a given that you have to be over .500 on our own floor to have a prayer at a playoff bid.

From March 20th through the conclusion of the regular season, 8 of the Magic’s final 12 games are at home (with the last 2 being in Miami and at Brooklyn). Their season-high 5-game home stretch is at the start of this period. Seven of those twelve games are against opponents who made the playoffs last season. If Orlando can survive hell for the first two months, there are some very kind home-heavy stretches that Coach Vaughn’s squad can take advantage of. When you’re a team that has been at the bottom of the totem pole, no contest is easy.

 

Below we get into rest, travel, and back-to-back discussion.

read more…