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Meet Payton and Fournier at Sports Authority Locations on Saturday

2015 May 12

paytonfournier

Orlando Magic players Elfrid Payton and Evan Fournier on Saturday May 16th will participate in helping with the grand re-opening of several Central Florida Sports Authority locations. Evan will be at the Winter Garden location from 11 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. while Elfrid is pulling double duty. Payton will be at the Colonial location from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., but will also be up at the Sanford location from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Sports Authority website has the specific addresses listed.

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Free gift cards will be handed out as well. Fournier will be signing autographs for 200 people that show up at his store location and receive a wristband. Elfrid will NOT be signing autographs. Instead, Payton will be shooting baskets with 75 people that get a wristband at each store location. So 150 total if your math skills are still sharp.

Other athletes attending the various Orlando area re-openings are: Former baseball great and local product Johnny Damon, Florida and NFL football great Fred Taylor, and Orlando City soccer midfielder Eric Avila.

 

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

Don’t Be Surprised if the Magic and Kyle O’Quinn Split

2015 May 11
by Adam Papageorgiou

Dont Be Surprised if the Magic and Kyle OQuinn Split

This is an MBO series of 2014-2015 Orlando Magic seasonal player recaps and evaluations. Throughout this month of May – as the NBA Draft and free agency approach – we’ll dive into statistics, highlights, and more as we dissect the 15-man roster and figure out who should stay and who should go as we enter a very important offseason in the franchise’s history.

Previously in the series:
#9 Vucevic
#11 Marble
#12 Harris

 

Lost in the focus of Tobias Harris‘ restricted free agency is the pending situation with Kyle O’Quinn. I like ‘the bearded one’ a lot, but I’m prepared to see O’Quinn wearing another team’s jersey next season. Kyle’s 3rd season in the league went nothing like any of us were hoping it would. For comparison’s sake:

2013-2014: 69 games, 19 starts, 17.2 mpg, 6.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 50.1 FG%

2014-2015: 51 games, 17 starts, 16.2 mpg, 5.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 49.2 FG%

Damn does that put a frown on my face. About the only thing that went well was Kyle’s superb 77.2 FT%. The addition of a 3-point shot ruined Andrew Nicholson, and you can say it didn’t go so well for O’Quinn either. KOQ shot 27.9% from deep this season after attempting 4 total triples his first 2 seasons in O-Town.

O’Quinn tallied 3 double-doubles and only one 20-point game this season. Good moments were few and far between.

Undeservedly, in many situations, Kyle was perceived to be a ‘dirty fouler’ and NBA officials tagged him with a few flagrant fouls. The majority of them didn’t appear to be bad fouls, but Kyle was saddled with a bogus reputation.

Kyle never recovered from his ankle injury on Opening Night in New Orleans. Even when the 25-year-old got back on the parquet floor in late-November, Kyle looked nothing like the player he was in his sophomore NBA season. In my eyes, it took Kyle way too long to properly heal his injuries. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone, but O’Quinn didn’t start to look healthy until the calendar flipped to 2015. By then, KOQ was stuck deep on the bench or getting sporadic minutes. A 10-minute outing ended up being a good night’s work for Kyle. A far cry from the large minutes he played at times last year.

It wasn’t just the injuries though. Due to Kyle’s lack of bounce in his step, O’Quinn has never been able to display consistent rim protecting abilities. It’s a big reason why guys like Dewayne Dedmon, Aaron Gordon, and in some instances even Andrew Nicholson snatched away Kyle’s minutes. It got worse and worse for Kyle, even after Jacque got fired. O’Quinn only played in 2 of the last 10 contests this season. Kyle wasn’t injured by that point. Well, maybe his pride was. Even his outstanding bench cheer-leading tapered off at the finish line of this ’14-’15 campaign. Even charismatic guys like Kyle can lose their positive nature when put in a bad situation for a long enough period of time. Can you blame him?

We’ll never know if the Magic brass kept Kyle on the bench due to lack of performance, or if they were sneakily trying to keep his free agency value low. My guess is a combination of both. We’ll find out soon if the Magic succeeded in keeping the other 29 teams disinterested in dishing out big money to Kyle.

 

Future Team Outlook

I definitely envision a team like Brooklyn or the Knicks giving the New York native$6 million per year. Especially in the Knicks’ case if they don’t acquire Marc Gasol. If O’Quinn does anything fantastically – even with one good leg – it’s passing the ball. What does a Derek FisherPhil Jackson ‘triangle’ offense thrive off of? Passing. You need big men who can dish and Kyle’s got astounding court vision. Being a prideful individual, he’ll also have a big chip on his shoulder to prove doubters wrong no matter what contract he ends up signing.

O’Quinn may have already told the Magic he’s done with the organization. Who knows.

 

 

The new Magic coaching staff that comes in could play a strong role in whether Kyle sticks around in the City Beautiful. It all depends on plans for how to use Kyle if they were to retain his services. Kyle’s too good to limit him to just 10-15 minutes per contest. You either pay him to be the second string PF and/or C, or allow Kyle to walk and watch him grow his career elsewhere.

I believe the absolute most the Magic can pay O’Quinn is $5 million per season. Orlando has bigger needs they need to fill: Signing a big time forward or retaining Tobias, bringing in a veteran backup point guard, and trying to snag another rim protector. The picture will be clearer on July 1st once we see who the Magic select in the Draft. Unless Rob Hennigan makes some trades, it’s difficult to financially envision Kyle playing in pinstripes come October. Either way, we wish the big man good health and to get paid.

 

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

The Curious Case of Tobias Harris’ Restricted Free Agency

2015 May 10
by Adam Papageorgiou

tobias-harris-nba-boston-celtics-orlando-magic-850x560

This is an MBO series of 2014-2015 Orlando Magic seasonal player recaps and evaluations. Throughout this month of May – as the NBA Draft and free agency approach – we’ll dive into statistics, highlights, and more as we dissect the 15-man roster and figure out who should stay and who should go as we enter a very important offseason in the franchise’s history. 

Previously in the series:
#9 Vucevic

#11 Marble

 

I’m still uncertain as to what the Magic should do with Tobias Harris. The 22-year-old is a Restricted Free Agent, and it’s very possible another NBA team could throw a maximum salary contract his way. Rob Hennigan is facing one of the biggest decisions in his General Manager tenure: What’s my absolute limit in regards to matching a Tobias offer sheet?

In the 2013-2014 season, Tobias managed to average 14.6 ppg and 7.0 rpg on 46.4 FG% and just 25.4 3PT%. Injuries only allowed him to play 61 games and start 36 of those contests. There was plenty of hope though for the then 21-year-old as he averaged 15.8 ppg on 50.8 FG% and a great 38.1 3PT% in his final 28 games following the All-Star Break. Harris knew going into this third campaign with the Magic that he’d have to stay healthy while proving he could be a #1 offensive option if he wanted to get a massive pay raise this summer.

This recent ’14-’15 campaign was his 4th NBA season and it saw ‘T12′ play 68 games, starting 63 of them. Both career-highs. 17.1 ppg (new best) and 6.3 rpg on 46.6 FG% and a much improved 36.4 3PT%.

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3 Magic Players Receive Most Improved Player Votes

2015 May 7

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The Orlando Magic saw three of their own players receive votes for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. Chicago’s Jimmy Butler took home the honor, but it’s nice to see Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo, and Nikola Vucevic receiving even just the slightest bit of recognition.

 

 

‘Dipo was the only Magic man to receive a 2nd place vote, coming from Mike Rice of Comcast SportsNet NW. Vooch got two 3rd place votes. One of them came from TNT’s Mike Fratello while the other came from FOX Sports Arizona’s Eddie Johnson. T12 received one 3rd place vote, submitted by Paul Jones of TSN 1050/Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

Tobias played in 68 contests in this 2014-2015 campaign, averaging 17.1 ppg and 6.3 rpg on 46.6 FG% and 36.4 3PT%. Victor in 72 games posted 17.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 4.1 apg, and 1.7 spg on 43.6 FG% and 33.9 3PT%. Nik – who I’ve given the title of ‘team MVP’ – tallied a fantastic 19.3 ppg and 10.9 rpg on 52.3 FG% in 74 contests played. These guys were the Magic’s top 3 scorers on the season.

 

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

Devyn Marble Debuts Awesome New Eyewear

2015 May 6
by Adam Papageorgiou

 

 

Orlando Magic wing player Devyn Marble has been recovering from surgery that fixed a detached retina in his left eye. The injury represented Devyn’s up-and-down rookie season overall. So how do you recover from a scary eye incident? Get some outstanding eyewear. It’s unknown how the 22-year-old will be forced to wear this protection, but at least he wins in the style department.

The Magic have a long history of players who have worn famous goggles, glasses, and masks. Add Marble to the list of guys like Horace Grant, Danny Schayes, Bo Outlaw, Courtney Lee, and Victor Oladipo. Well done, Devyn.

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The Magic are Hosting a Contest to Send Fans to the Draft Lottery

2015 May 6
by Adam Papageorgiou

draftlottery

The Orlando Magic are hosting a rare sweepstakes. Enter here if you live within 75 miles of Orlando and are 21 years of age or older, and you along with 1 guest of your choice will be shipped off to New York City for the Tuesday May 19th NBA Draft Lottery. The Magic have the 5th-best odds at claiming the #1 selection in the June 25th Draft. Orlando could leave that May 19th evening with the #1, #2, #3, #5, #6, #7, or #8 pick. A lot of volatility.

The lucky contest winner and guest will enjoy the private pre-Lottery reception along with members of the Orlando Magic front office. Then they’ll be part of the live studio audience as the lottery is drawn (I assume on ESPN). Round-trip airfare from Orlando, one night hotel accommodations, transportation to and from the hotel, and $200 spending money is included.

Magic Founder Pat Williams will presumably be the man sent to represent the Magic for the ping pong ball ceremony. However, there’s a fun rumor that Dennis ‘The Fat Guy’ Salvagio may be sent instead. I don’t believe it. Let Pat earn his redemption for the past 2 disappointing lotteries. Third time is the charm.

 

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

The Orlando Magic Roster is About to See Some Extra Money

2015 May 5
by Adam Papageorgiou

money

If you’ve been following MBO for Orlando Magic coverage throughout the 2014-2015 season, you know that the Magic’s team salary had been at around $56 million since late-October. That put the team under the salary floor – mandated by the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement – by about $750,000. Obviously that places the Magic well under the $63 million salary cap as well. Orlando would have to split that $750k difference among their entire 15-man roster of players had they finished the season under the salary floor.

Well, the Magic surprisingly made zero moves throughout the ’14-’15 campaign and it looked like every Magic player was looking at around a pre-tax ‘bonus’ check of $50,000 each. That’s if they had access to ALL of the deficit. The excess is divided up among the players on the roster at a percentage determined by the NBA Player’s Association. What that percentage is, we don’t know. Well, that $50,000 per player may be larger than that now as salary cap analyst Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweeted out some intriguing new information.

 

 

 

So Rob Hennigan and the front office were able to salvage some money from the contracts of Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis since both are active on other NBA teams. It does nothing to help with Orlando’s salary cap situation entering free agency that begins in July. Why? Because Glen’s and Jameer’s contracts are off the books heading into the ’15-’16 season. This shift in funds only benefits the 15-man roster of players that finished this recent Magic season. That’s it. There’s no other ‘punishment’. In fact, it’s basically a reward for the 25-win team.

The Magic go from a ’14-’15 salary of about $56 million down to about $54.8 million. Subtract that from the salary floor of $56,758,500 and puts the Magic at about $1.9 million under the salary floor. Provided that Pincus’ information is correct, each of the 15 Magic men on the ’14-’15 roster will be seeing an estimated $127,000 each – again, IF the NBAPA allows them to see the entire deficit – get sent their way in the summer (before taxes). That’s not chump change for guys like Dewayne Dedmon, Kyle O’Quinn, and Devyn Marble. Those guys earned under one million dollar salaries before taxes.

As far as I’ve seen, this is the first time an NBA team will not have met the salary floor. This season’s Philadelphia 76ers seemed a certainty to fall under the floor. Then they made an absurd JaVale McGee trade and got above the salary floor in February. So the Magic appear to be making some history here.

 

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

Devyn Marble Can Improve on a Challenging Rookie Campaign

2015 May 4
by Adam Papageorgiou

marblemiami

This is an MBO series of 2014-2015 Orlando Magic seasonal player recaps and evaluations. Throughout this month of May – as the NBA Draft and free agency approach – we’ll dive into statistics, highlights, and more as we dissect the 15-man roster and figure out who should stay and who should go as we enter a very important offseason in the franchise’s history.

Previously in the series:
#9 Vucevic

 

I said every Orlando Magic player, and I meant it. Devyn Marble didn’t have a bad rookie season considering he’s a 56th overall Draft pick. Truth be told, no one knew what the wing man could do out of Iowa, except that Victor Oladipo showed him some Big Ten school love by proclaiming Marble a strong 2-way player.

In last July’s Summer League, the 6’6″ Marble displayed a lot of on-court flexibility in that he could be utilized in three or four positions. Probably more impressive than his defense was his transition attacking and finishing. Rob Hennigan would reward the second round selection with a contract and a training camp spot.

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Nikola Vucevic is a Franchise Player, and Don’t Forget That

2015 May 3
by Adam Papageorgiou
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

This is an MBO series of 2014-2015 Orlando Magic seasonal player recaps and evaluations. Throughout this month of May – as the NBA Draft and free agency approach – we’ll dive into statistics, highlights, and more as we dissect the 15-man roster and figure out who should stay and who should go as we enter a very important offseason in the franchise’s history. 

We’re going to begin with Nikola Vucevic, Magic ’14-’15 MVP, and yet still a ridiculously disrespected center by media and even Magic fans. In an age where great centers are becoming harder to find and develop, Orlando has a 24-year-old who just concluded only his 4th NBA season and is already a franchise cornerstone.

Vucevic only played in 57 contests in the ’13-’14 campaign. A few missed games were for tanking purposes, but a good chunk of them were due to some concussion scares. Hopefully we’re long past that, but I believe it’s a big reason why Rob Hennigan was able to lock up Nik to a 4-year, $50-something million extension in October. Averaging 14.2 ppg and 11.0 rpg on 50.7 FG% in his ’13-’14 campaign, Nik was expected to be one of the squad’s stars.

It’s not often you can say a guy making around $12 million is underpaid, but that’s exactly what will be occurring over the next few seasons. Vooch made the leap this season towards elite status.

The Montenegrin averaged 19.3 ppg, 10.9 rpg, on 52.4 FG% in 74 games played this ’14-’15 campaign. Here is a chart of every other player who has done that since the ’92-’93 season. The only restriction I’ve made is you needed to play at least 65% of that season’s games.

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25 guys in over two decades. That’s it. I don’t see DeMarcus Cousins on this list. Do you? That’s because Boogie has never sniffed at 50% shooting. Vooch has surpassed that in all 3 of his seasons in Orlando. Those folks wanting the Magic to trade Vooch for Cousins need to realize it’d be a lateral move, not forward. Orlando needs small and power forward help. They have their center in Vooch and they have the backcourt starters locked up in Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton.

Notice the Magic men in blue on my chart again. No one is saying it vocally/verbally, but I still think a lot of basketball watchers subconsciously compare Nik to Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal. You just can’t do that. D12 and Shaq are rare physical specimens who powered and forced their way to on-court success. Vooch is vertically challenged and he’d be the first to say he’s not a big leaper. But that doesn’t make him ‘soft’. No man that’s a starting center for three consecutive seasons who averaged 11 rebounds per contest is ‘soft’. Vooch is blessed with a strong lower base. Something Shaq had but not something Dwight does. It’s tough to legally push Nik around and that’s why Vooch is great at boxing out in the paint.

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Elfrid Payton Finishes 4th in Rookie of the Year Voting

2015 April 30
by Adam Papageorgiou

paytonroy

Well, I guessed third or fourth. Orlando Magic point guard Elfrid Payton finished in 4th place in the Rookie of the Year voting. Minnesota wing Andrew Wiggins ran away with the award.

roy votes

Elfrid’s first place votes all came from Orlando broadcasters. Dante Marchitelli from FOX Sports Florida/Magic DriveTime/Magic GameDay, long-time radio man Dennis Neumann from ESPN 580 AM, and former player and current FOX Sports Florida man Jeff Turner.

The 8 people who gave Elfrid 2nd place votes are: Adrian Chavarria (KEYH 850 AM), Antonio Harvey (FOX Sports Radio/620 AM), Brian Sieman (The Beast 980 AM FM), Ethan Skolnick (Bleacher Report), Israel Guttierez (ESPN.com), Jason Jones (Sacramento Bee), Mike Inglis (WAXY Radio), and Ric Bucher (Bleacher Report).

4roy

Look, typically points per game determines the winner. That’s exactly how the voting went looking at the statistical comparisons. Elfrid’s 8.9 ppg, rookie-leading 6.5 apg, 3.0 rpg, 1.7 spg on 42.5 FG% campaign was strong for a kid who supposedly can’t shoot. His defense and vision can’t be ignored. You can see why people were impressed by Mirotic’s output at only twenty minutes per contest. Payton just didn’t take enough shots in comparison to the other 3 guys, and that’s more than fine.

Had the Magic been a better team, no doubt Elfrid would have finished higher. Nikola Mirotic came on strong in the second half of the season to help carry an injured Bulls team. Nerlens Noel has had a solid season in Philly after missing the entire ’13-’14 campaign. It’s okay, Magic fans, we know how great Payton is going to be in Orlando.

 

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