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Former Magic Guard Brooks Thompson Passes Away at Age 45

2016 June 10
by Adam Papageorgiou

brooksorl

News has circulated that Brooks Thompson has passed away at the young age of 45 years old. The 6’4″ point guard out of Oklahoma State was selected by the Orlando Magic with the 27th pick of the 1994 NBA Draft.

As a Cowboy basketball player, Thompson made First-Team All-Big Eight in ’94. Thompson is the second former Magic player to pass away in the past few days as Sean Rooks died earlier this week. The former Head Coach of UTSA the past decade, Thompson was diagnosed with double organ failure back in April.

Although Thompson was never able to transfer his college success into a lengthy NBA playing career, the left-handed guard was a bench player during those wonderful mid-’90s years in Orlando. In 2 regular seasons (’94-’95 and ’95-’96) in pinstripes, Thompson played 71 games and averaged 3.6 ppg and 1.0 apg on 42.9 FG% and 35.2 3PT%. His best regular season outing was when he dropped 21 points on the Detroit Pistons on March 19, 1996.

Thompson would be sort of a human victory cigar whenever the Magic were winning in blowout fashion as fans at the old O-rena would chant for Brooks to make an on-court appearance. Thompson’s playoff numbers are actually better than his regular season numbers, which is rare when you look back at all who have historically played for Orlando.

In 8 postseason contests with the Magic (3 in ’94-’95, and 5 in ’95-’96), Thompson averaged 4.8 ppg and 1.3 apg on 52.0 FG% and 40.0 3PT%. Thompson was relied on a lot in the 1996 playoffs as the Magic dealt with plenty of injury issues. Thompson dropped 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Bulls, a series that Chicago claimed in a sweep.

On an NBA level, Thompson is certainly best known for being on that 1995 NBA Finals team. After a few other NBA franchise stops, that’s when Brooks Thompson found another career in coaching.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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Penny & Pops Podcast: Top 70 All-Time Orlando Magic Players

2016 June 9
by Adam Papageorgiou

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Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com came out with a Top 70 All-Time Orlando Magic Players list. So we just naturally had to poke and nitpick at the choices. Who got snubbed? Who shouldn’t even be on that list? Is #1 even correct? Plenty of questions and order shufflling to ponder and discuss as we broke down the list of seventy. There are six current Magic men on the list as well.

The criteria of that OrlandoMagic.com list was:

– Statistical performance while with the Magic

– Longevity with team

– Performance in big games

– Impact on winning

– Memorable plays while with the Magic

 

We want your opinions on the list. Do you agree with our critiquing? What inclusions or omissions outrage you? We will eventually have to come up with some sort of Top 100 list in the future. That will be quite the project.

 

Warning: Adult Language

 

 

Below is the entire list of 70 players listed on OrlandoMagic.com:

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Shabazz Napier Left a Lot to be Desired Year One in Orlando

2016 June 8
by Adam Papageorgiou

bazz13

This is an MBO series of 2015-2016 Orlando Magic seasonal player recaps and evaluations. Throughout this month of June – as the NBA Draft and free agency approach – we’ll dive into statistics, highlights, and more as we dissect the 14-man roster and figure out who should stay and who should go as we enter a crucial offseason in the franchise’s history.

Previously in the series:

#5 Oladipo

#23 Hezonja

 

The Orlando Magic were seeking some backcourt depth last summer. Enter Shabazz Napier who was the 24th overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, and Rob Hennigan found an opportunity to exploit the Miami Heat’s salary cap problems. Orlando acquired Napier for what ended up being nothing sent back.

Too bad for Scott Skiles‘ coaching staff that the 24-year-old had a worse sophomore season in Magic pinstripes than his rookie campaign in Miami. In the final 17 games of the ’15-’16 campaign, ‘Bazz only played a total of 31 minutes. Basically an afterthought and buried deep on the roster.

Shabazz couldn’t capitalize on his chances when Elfrid Payton and C.J. Watson were both dealing with injuries throughout the season. It got to a point with Napier where Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier, and even Mario Hezonja were way more trusting handling the ball and making passing decisions rather than Shabazz. That’s not promising for the UCONN Huskies NCAA champ.

2015-2016: 55 games, 0 starts, 10.9 mpg, 3.7 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.8 apg, 33.8 FG%, 32.7 3PT%, 73.3 FT%

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Aaron Gordon Chosen for U.S. Select Team for July Training

2016 June 7
by Adam Papageorgiou

agusa

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon is still riding the high of the February All-Star Weekend dunk contest he should have won up in Canada. Here’s some more great news for the 6’9″ forward: Aaron has been named as one of the 25 players chosen for the 2016 USA Men’s Select Team.

The Select Team will train July 18th through 21st with the Men’s National Team during its training camp in Las Vegas as they prepare to go for gold at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this August.

As you can assume by the old photo above, Gordon has previous experience with USA Basketball. He’s got U16 Championship (2011; Gold medal) and U19 World Championship (2013; MVP; Gold medal) experience. Now that Aaron is actually healthy and fully fit for an offseason, this call-up was expected in many ways.

Below is the rest of the 25-man Select Team roster:

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Former Magic Man Sean Rooks Passes Away at Age 46

2016 June 7
by Adam Papageorgiou

rooksmagic

Former NBA player and current coach Sean Rooks passed away at the age of 46 years old on Tuesday. The cause of death has not been made public yet. The University of Arizona product was selected 30th overall in the 1992 NBA Draft. Rooks played 12 seasons in the NBA. The last team he played for was with the Orlando Magic in the 2003-2004 season.

The Magic’s ’03-’04 campaign was all but over when the calendar hit February 2004. Orlando was 14-42 when the front office made a deal on February 19th – just before the trade deadline – with the (then) New Orleans Hornets. The Magic shipped away guard Shammond Williams and brought back the 6’10” Rooks for some big man depth.

The center played 20 games off the bench for the Magic, averaging 3.1 ppg and 2.4 rpg on 35.1 FG% and 95.5 FT%. Once that 21-win season concluded for the Magic, Rooks never played a regular season contest for an NBA team again.

After his playing career ended, Rooks would transition his career to coaching where he worked for a few D-League teams, the Phoenix Suns, and, most recently, the Philadelphia 76ers.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

***Join Magic Basketball Online on Facebook and our post-only Twitter profile***

Penny & Pops Podcast: 1995 & 2009 Finals Format, Defending Courtney Lee

2016 June 3

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On the fourth episode of the Penny & Pops Podcast, we examine how the current 2-2-1-1-1 format of the NBA Finals could have benefited both the 1995 and 2009 Orlando Magic Finals teams. Unfortunately, both dealt with the 2-3-2 format back then. There’s some breakdown of how those series against the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers played out.

We also defend Courtney Lee and the unnecessary blame he continues to receive for Game 2 of the Lakers series in ’09. It’s just lazy for anyone to truly point their finger at ‘Leesus’ for missing that lay-up considering everything that happened in that sequence.

Finally, in honor of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, we each had to spell 3 full names of Magic players from the past.

 

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

***Join Magic Basketball Online on Facebook and our post-only Twitter profile***

Okaro White to Play for Magic at Summer League

2016 June 3
by Adam Papageorgiou

okaro

The Orlando Summer League begins the first week of July, and the Magic have to fill up two rosters. Rosters won’t be finalized until after the June 23rd NBA Draft, but names from overseas are starting to leak out in regards to players already agreeing to Summer League team opportunities. David Pick reports that 23-year-old forward Okaro White will play for one of the two Magic teams.

 

 

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We Have Not Scratched the Surface of Mario Hezonja’s Talent

2016 June 2
by Adam Papageorgiou

NBA Global Games Rio 2015 - Orlando Magic v Flamengo

This is an MBO series of 2015-2016 Orlando Magic seasonal player recaps and evaluations. Throughout this month of June – as the NBA Draft and free agency approach – we’ll dive into statistics, highlights, and more as we dissect the 14-man roster and figure out who should stay and who should go as we enter a crucial offseason in the franchise’s history.

Previously in the series:

#5 Oladipo

 

Probably the biggest ‘casualty’ from Scott Skiles‘ one year as coach in Orlando was Mario Hezonja. A ‘casualty’ in a sense that the #5 pick of the 2015 NBA Draft didn’t get to fully showcase his offensive capabilities, and arsenal that got him drafted in the first place. It may have benefited him in the long run (it may not), but Skiles was so driven to vastly improve Mario’s defense that the rookie found himself getting benched after numerous brief stints on the floor, causing the Croatian sensation to maybe look over his shoulder a bit too much.

Mario is the biggest critic of himself. He gave Skiles and the coaching staff deserved praise on several occasions this year for making him more accountable on the defensive end. You’ll have to forgive him for heavily believing that Mario should have been on the court more.

The 21-year-old found him named neglected from Rookie of the Year voting and All-Rookie Team ballot collections. That’s okay though, Magic fans saw enough glimpses from Mario that proved he can be a fantastic player in this league. There’s no shortage of confidence with him, and I’m optimistic that Frank Vogel will help unleash – rather than harness – it.

Mario’s regular season opener in that tight home loss to the Washington Wizards so Hezonja drop an efficient 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting in 25 minutes. Skiles sort of teased us, because Mario wouldn’t play 25 minutes again in a game until he recorded 27 minutes in that blowout loss at Cleveland on January 2nd. Yikes.

Through the first 36 games of his rookie season, Mario only notched 10+ points just 5 times. He couldn’t get touches, and Mario never saw consistent rotational minutes during that period. His career high was 12 points until he finally began to get some burn during the January and February team collapse, tallying 17 points in an desperate January 31st home victory over the Boston Celtics.

2015-2016: 79 games, 9 starts, 17.9 mpg, 6.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.4 apg, 43.3 FG%, 34.9 3PT%, 90.7 FT%

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Orlando’s Offseason Blueprint Depends on Victor Oladipo’s Fate

2016 June 1
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

This is an MBO series of 2015-2016 Orlando Magic seasonal player recaps and evaluations. Throughout this month of June– as the NBA Draft and free agency approach – we’ll dive into statistics, highlights, and more as we dissect the 14-man roster and figure out who should stay and who should go as we enter a crucial offseason in the franchise’s history.

I concluded last year’s Orlando Magic player recap series with Victor Oladipo. I feel the need to begin with him this time.

As a team leader/captain, Oladipo certainly had a role in the failures of January and February when the squad needed on-court guidance. The team had chosen 3 team leaders to begin the campaign: Tobias Harris, Channing Frye, and ‘Dipo. Well, the two cousins got traded at the deadline in February. ‘Dipo had the only keys to the convertible, but was never able to drive his teammates back into the playoff hunt.

That’s why in the April interviews, Vic and almost all of his teammates said that the front office should bring in veteran help that will hold all accountable.

2015-2016: 72 games, 52 starts, 33.0 mpg, 16.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.6 spg, 43.8 FG%, 34.8 3PT%, 83.0 FT%

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Heat to Host Magic in Miami for October 18th Preseason Game

2016 June 1
by Adam Papageorgiou

orlmia

The first Orlando Magic game of the 2016-2017 campaign has been revealed. Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel is reporting that the Miami Heat will host your Orlando Magic on Tuesday October 18th at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. EST.

Tickets apparently go on sale Thursday. So if you’re a Magic fan eager to watch the pinstriped patrol down in Miami, you’ll get your chance.

 

“Tickets for the three games at AmericanAirlines Arena will go on sale Thursday at noon at HEAT.com, Ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX. Sales at the AmericanAirlines Arena box office will begin Friday at 10 a.m.”

 

Why is it ‘AmericanAirlines’ and not just American Airlines? Anyway, both teams could look very different from what we saw in the ’15-’16 campaign.

I’m actually excited about the possibility of Frank Vogel and Erik Spoelstra rekindling their mini-rivalry into a gigantic sunshine state rivalry. It’s time the Magic became kings of the state in basketball again.

 

Adam Papageorgiou is Owner/Editor of MBO.

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