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The State of the Magic: An Ambivalent yet Accurate Viewpoint

2012 February 22
by Brian Serra

 This team is garbage. They are led by a naive superstar who struggles to lead beyond his own selfish desires. They are playing like a group of guys that forgot about their God-given talent to play basketball. They have nobody who can score consistently and even worse, they don’t seem to care. I’ve seen more athleticism from a Junior Varsity basketball team from Wyoming on some nights than what the Orlando Magic have shown this season. And why doesn’t Von Wafer and Earl Clark play more? Why does Stan refuse to give them a shot?

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This team has a chance to win it all. They are led by an MVP candidate that nobody in the league has a direct answer for. The Magic cause such matchup problems with their superior outside shooting and inside Dwight Howard dominance, that any team in the league is guaranteed to be scared of them come playoff time. The Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson backcourt have really figured things out and when healthy, they are quite the duo. Hedo Turkoglu causes so many matchup problems with this length and scoring ability, it’s no doubt he controls the game at will in the 4th quarter. And the bench? They have been great. The defensive pressure and steady hand that Redick, Q-Rich and Big Baby provide really gives the Magic options at the end of games. Come to think of it, I only wish it was possible to get EVERYONE to play more. These guys deserve it.

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Are you enjoying the ambivalence?

The reality is that at the halfway point of the season, the Orlando Magic are BOTH of the above paragraphs. They are frustrating as hell one minute, leaving you ready to completely abandon ship and then the next minute they are a Jason Richardson 9-11 from three-point range that has you ready to pour your savings into season tickets.

Hell, I’ve seen both fans and media alike flip-flop so many times over what the Magic should do with Dwight Howard’s future that I honestly don’t know what to believe anymore.

But step back a second and look where they are; 21-12 and holding the 3rd seed in the East behind arguably the two best teams in the league in Chicago and Miami. They have had injuries here and there that has kept them from playing at their best.  Nothing devastating, but real nonetheless. You can say that about most teams in the league, but that doesn’t change the fact that when fully healthy, the Magic can run with anyone. The main point here is that it is not ALL doom and gloom for Orlando.

As of today, February 22nd, the Magic still have Dwight Howard on the roster and are a clear contender to at least be a threat in the playoffs.  Things could, and very well, may change between March 1st (first day players like J-Rich and Big Baby can be traded) and March 15th (trading deadline). But for now, this team “is what it is”. They are a very good to elite team when fully healthy and they are a mediocre to below average team when they can’t hit threes and Chris Duhon is playing major minutes.

The current State of the Magic is strong, but in a dangerous flux; a flux that if not managed *perfectly* could will lead them towards the fate of the… gulp… Cleveland. Cavaliers.

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