Orlando Magic News & Notes: April 20
42. Tobias Harris 17
Now here’s someone who is underrated! Let’s quickly recap the last two months for your average Bucks fan.
• Mid-February: “J.J. Redick! Woo-hoo!!!! Let’s just hope that Harris kid doesn’t come back to haunt us.”
• Mid-March: “I don’t care how well Harris is playing — I still like the Redick deal for us.”
• Late March: “We need a new GM.”
• Early April: “I’m not looking at Orlando’s box scores anymore.”
The positives that emerged from that fast-forwarded youth movement were prevalent for the Magic. Nikola Vucevic, one of the primary pieces acquired by Hennigan in the four-team, 12-player trade that centered around Howard, Andrew Bynum and Andre Iguodala, blossomed into one of the NBA’s best young big men by ranking second in the league in rebounding (11.9 rpg.) and third in double-doubles (46). Tobias Harris, acquired in the Redick trade, became a go-to scorer in Orlando, pumping in two 30-point games and averaging 17.3 points in 27 games with the Magic. And Harkless, Orlando’s youngest player at 19 years old, welcomed the challenge of guarding the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony on a nightly basis while also making huge strides in his overall game.
“We’re getting two weeks off and then we’re coming back with a focused mindset. We need all of the time that we can get to push each other and get to where we need to be,’’ Magic rookie center Kyle O’Quinn said. “We’re kind of far away right now as a team, but we know where we need to be and the work that we have to put in so we’re ready for what’s ahead.’’
1. On Dec. 2, in their first game against Dwight Howard, the Magic beat the Los Angeles Lakers 113-103 at Staples Center. The victory generated enormous goodwill from Magic fans and provided a significant morale boost for the entire organization.
Asked if he thought whether he still might be here next season, Davis, 27, said, “It’s not my place to even think about that. No matter what they do, I got to be who I am.”
Afflalo said he wasn’t told he wouldn’t be traded this offseason.
“No,” Afflalo said. “It was just never put like that.”
I realize nobody is willing to admit Magic management probably deliriously drenched each other with champagne after the team secured the worst record in the league and the best odds in the upcoming draft lottery with Wednesday night’s season-ending loss to the Miami Heat. But if everybody were being bluntly honest, Magic GM Rob Hennigan would have dispatched this message to fans Thursday during his exit interview with the media:
“We were pretty bad this year, but hopefully next year we’ll be even worse!!!”
They have shown a penchant under new general manager Rob Hennigan to be extremely cautious regarding injured players.
Hennigan backed off Andrew Bynum in a possible Howard deal – and he was proved correct as Bynum missed the entire season for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Hennigan had reservations about Jared Sullinger in last season’s draft (selecting Andrew Nicholson) – and Sullinger had back surgery after being taken by the Boston Celtics.
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