If you haven’t heard, Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo is out indefinitely with a fractured face that he suffered on Thursday afternoon. Oladipo is going to undergo a corrective surgical procedure on Saturday. Supposedly it happened on the first or second play of Victor’s first practice since spraining his MCL. Bad luck as it’s rumored Dewayne Dedmon accidentally caught Victor with his elbow on a challenge at the rim. It’s basketball, it happens.
Depending on what type of facial fracture it is and how the surgery goes, Oladipo could be out a few weeks to as much as a month. It’s awful timing considering the Magic’s road-heavy schedule to begin this 2014-2015 campaign. Now what?
Well Head Coach Jacque Vaughn has to figure out how to begin the regular season without Victor and Channing Frye available. As far as power forward goes, that means we’re probably looking at either Kyle O’Quinn or Tobias Harris starting at PF. Harris is a lock to be in the starting lineup along with center Nikola Vucevic, but T12 very well could be beginning contests at small forward.
The guard spots get more intriguing. I hope Elfrid Payton gets the starting nod in New Orleans on October 28th, but we can’t rule out the steady veteran Luke Ridnour from starting at PG. Evan Fournier has struggled with his shooting in this preseason, which opens the door for Maurice Harkless or even Ben Gordon to start at shooting guard. Harkless has earned extra playing time with his improved offensive arsenal, but Evan can be trusted more as a ball handler to deflect any added attention and pressure defenses impose on Payton.
No Oladipo and Frye means more potential minutes for Aaron Gordon and Andrew Nicholson, especially if Harkless sees time at shooting guard. I’m leaning toward a Vucevic-O’Quinn-Harris-Fournier-Payton regular season starting lineup for now. Jacque for the last two preseason games (Houston & Dallas) is starting Vucevic-O’Quinn-Harris-Harkless-Ridnour. It’s very possible that Jacque roles with this lineup against the Pelicans on Tuesday and doesn’t put immediate pressure on his rookies and the 21-year-old Fournier.
One positive from all of this is that Jacque has already been able to experiment with lineups and rotations with Oladipo sidelined. The other positive is that when Victor does come back healthy, he’ll set foot on the basketball court having fully recuperated from his sprained MCL. Maybe we’ll see ‘Dipo with a cool looking mask on like Courtney Lee wore during the 2009 playoffs.
Victor being out of the lineup for a while doesn’t mean we can talk about tanking again. So stop looking at Karl Towns and the rest of the 2015 Draft class. Orlando has great depth for the first time in Coach Vaughn’s tenure and injuries won’t stop this Magic squad from competing and actually having a chance to put together some win streaks.
The Orlando Magic regular season begins October 28th. That means it’s MBO roundtable discussion time where we get to analyze this ’14-’15 squad and make predictions that we can look back on and regret immensely. We’re breaking this roundtable into several parts, so be aware. Contributing to the discussion are Brian Serra, Spenser Strode, and Adam Papageorgiou.
What 1 Magic player has impressed or disappointed you the most so far in the preseason?
Brian Serra: The (lottery) rookies. Both have gigantic flaws in their games (SHOOTING), but Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon know what they do well and they STICK to it. They are confident and don’t seem to be shying away from the game – ya know, the way that Maurice Harkless and Andrew Nicholson have consistently done for two years. Because they know their strengths and stick to them, they’ve shown that 1) Payton should be starting from day one and 2) Gordon deserves 20 minutes per game every night.
Adam Papageorgiou: You rebel, I only asked for one.
Spenser Strode: I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Nikola Vucevic so far this preseason. He’s been very efficient and effective (as expected), but he’s shown a bit more patience and seems to be much more sure of himself when operating in the post. Now, with the weight of a will-they, won’t-they extension off his mind, I expect Vooch to continue his improvement into the regular season and beyond.
Adam Papageorgiou: I was going to show support to Ben Gordon, but Maurice Harkless could use it more. I was not pleased with Harkless backing out of Puerto Rican national team duty as I viewed the FIBA World Cup as a more important experience than any type of training and self-improvement exercises he participated in. So far the 21-year-old has proven me wrong. He’s probably still not going to score a lot, but Maurice has shown growth in his dribble drives to the rim. Most importantly, Harkless is taking and draining pull-up jumpers which you could never trust him to make last season. Maurice is also showing reliability at shooting guard, which means Coach Vaughn could give his wing more minutes. Maurice still has his defense and his open 3-pointer, and I think he’s going to solidify himself as a core member of this squad moving forward.
Below is the rest of Part 1.
Let’s keep this short. The Orlando Magic dominated Houston for three quarters. The final twelve minutes won’t mean much in the grand scheme of this campaign. Let’s prepare for the final preseason game and look forward to these contests truly mattering. The locker room name plates for Kadeem Batts, Seth Curry, Peyton Siva, and Drew Crawford have all been removed. Expect to see those four with the Erie BayHawks soon.
The Orlando Magic are now 4-3 in preseason play after their third unit gave away a 13-point fourth quarter lead, losing to the Houston Rockets 90-89 on Wednesday night. Houston only shot 36.5 FG% and was led by Troy Daniels and Isaiah Canaan who each had 14 points. The Rockets were 9-for-34 from 3-point range. Orlando spread out their scoring across the roster. Orlando won the points in the paint battle 48-40. Nikola Vucevic had 12 points in 19 minutes on 6-of-7 shooting. Maurice Harkless and Ben Gordon each contributed 11 points. Andrew Nicholson added 10 points.
- Having lost in Miami on Tuesday night, Rockets Head Coach Kevin McHale decided to completely rest Dwight Howard and Trevor Ariza. I’m sure Howard wanted to to avoid the boos he would have received tonight. D12 also probably didn’t want Kyle O’Quinn blocking any more of his shots. Ariza was a big reason why the Lakers defeated Orlando in the 2009 NBA Finals. That’s okay, more Kostas Papanikolaou for me.
- Magic Coach Jacque Vaughn went with a big starting lineup: Nikola Vucevic, Kyle O’Quinn, Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless at shooting guard, and Luke Ridnour.
- 7,000 pink t-shirts were given away at Amway Center in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Orlando’s ‘Pink in the Paint’ theme night.
- For what it’s worth, Victor Oladipo and Channing Frye were in Magic gear warming up with their teammates before tip-off. Oladipo doing a lot of shooting and dancing while Frye was mostly rebounding under the rim.
- The Magic did a solid job of handling the fullcourt press that Houston was offering. Patrick Beverley and Ish Smith are as pesky as they come defensively. Aaron Gordon was getting doubled by Ish and James Harden and Gordon would go between the legs and left Harden in the dust. It was glorious.
- Nikola Vucevic and Maurice Harkless got offer to a superb start as they each notched 8 points in the first quarter. Orlando led Houston 31-24 after one period. The Magic shot 52.4 FG% while Houston only managed 35.0 FG%. Magic held an 18-8 points in the paint advantage.
- Orlando’s offense slowed down in the 2nd quarter because the Magic were trying to attempt to have Tobias Harris take advantage of James Harden or Troy Daniels defending T12 in the post.
- Magic led 51-43 at halftime as Orlando shot 54.1 FG% while holding Houston to 37.5 FG%. Vucevic led all scorers with 12 points. Ben Gordon was an efficient 3-for-3 with 7 points. More importantly, Harden got called for an offensive foul. Rockets only kept their deficient under double digits due to their 5-of-16 3-point shooting.
- Troy Daniels can only shoot 3-pointers, but man can he do that so well. Needs zero time to release his shot.
- The third period was a blur of blocked shot and dunk attempts, but Orlando maintained a steady cushion and led 74-61 entering the fourth quarter. Orlando at this junction had a 46-26 points in the paint advantage. Harkless and Ben each had 11 points, joining Vucevic in double figures.
- Jeff Adrien picked up a flagrant 1 foul at the 7:48 mark as he tugged Dewayne Dedmon to the ground using his Magic jersey. Easy call.
- Houston ended up taking the lead with less than 2 minutes remaining. Exhibitions or not, you never want your bench unit to cough up such a huge lead.
- Willie Green would tie the game at 89-89 with exactly one minute remaining in the contest. Jeff Adrien would split a pair of free throws to put Houston ahead again 90-89 with 35.7 seconds left as Coach Vaughn had to draw up a play.
- Andrew Nicholson ended up airballing a stationary leaning floater from about 20 feet. Orlando would get another chance, but Green missed a running right floater and Nicholson couldn’t get the tip to drop in.
The Magic welcome back Jameer Nelson and the Dallas Mavericks to Orlando as the preseason will conclude Friday evening.
The 2014-2015 NBA General Manager Survey results are out, and the Orlando Magic almost don’t exist based on the responses. Remember, Rob Hennigan can’t vote for his own team or personnel. So what do we know? Well, not one of the other 29 GMs think the Magic can win the Southeast division. None of the GMs believe either Elfrid Payton or Aaron Gordon will win Rookie of the Year. Not one GM believes any of Orlando’s rookies will be the best player of his class in 5 years, and none of the GMs believe a Magic rookie was a steal in June’s Draft. This is a sharp contrast to the support Victor Oladipo received in his rookie campaign. Not a single GM believes that a Magic player will have a breakout season. Jacque Vaughn didn’t obtain a vote in any question asked that related to coaching.
There is some good news though. Check below.
Who cares about Dwight Howard and his Houston Rockets when Nikola Vucevic unofficially has a shiny new contract extension and we need to find out if Victor Oladipo is going to be ready for the regular season opener. Well Orlando Magic Head Coach Jacque Vaughn says Oladipo is day-to-day. Victor himself wasn’t wearing the bulky knee brace he wore for the open practice, but he still had his right knee protected as you see above.
Below are interviews of Victor Oladipo, Jacque Vaughn, and Tobias Harris.
In our Magic 8-Ball you’ll find quotes, tweets, Magic player social media posts, a random prediction that sticks to the Magic 8-Ball theme, any stats or tidbits you don’t find in our other MBO postings, and more. Basically a buffet of things that may slip through the cracks that are worth bringing up.
#1: VUCCI MANE GOT PAID
I imagine the next big team meal check will be picked up by Nikola Vucevic. Vooch certainly deserves his new contract extension. This deal coincides with Orlando’s previous great center *cough* Dwight Howard *cough* returning to Orlando Wednesday evening. You’re next, Tobias Harris.
Congrats to the bro @NikolaVucevic !!!!!!!!!!!
— Tobias Harris (@tobias31) October 22, 2014
Below is #2 through #8. read more…
Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo saw his first action inside Amway Center on Monday for the first time since last season. Sure it was in an open practice. Sure Oladipo didn’t actually scrimmage or participate in 5-on-5 drills due to ‘Dipo recovering from his sprained MCL. But the 22-year-old unleashed some outrageous dunks while wearing a knee brace. Slams that you don’t pull off if you’re hampered by a knee injury.
Victor was absolutely thrilled to be participating with his teammates again. Magic fans should be giddy too, because they get to enjoy Victor’s dunks such as these jams in GIF form below that he threw down last night.
Bonus clip from last night: Aaron Gordon sort of converting the Vince Carter elbow jam from the 2000 dunk contest.
Oh happy day. The Orlando Magic have locked up their 7-foot Montenegrin center Nikola Vucevic on Tuesday. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel was the first who reported the 4-Year contract extension. It was Yahoo‘s Marc Spears who initially tweeted that it is for either $53 million or $54 million.
Magic give Vucevic four-year $54 million extension, source tells Yahoo
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) October 21, 2014
$13.25 million per center is a lot of money, but believe me when I tell that GM Rob Hennigan got fair value for Vucci Mane. Especially with the salary cap projected to rise in the future by a large margin. Nik almost certainly would have received a maximum contract offer should he have become a restricted free agent in the 2015 offseason. Thankfully we don’t have to worry about it. Vooch turns 24 years old this upcoming Friday. Nice timing on the early Birthday present by the Magic front office. The full details of the contract are still unknown but all parties should be thrilled.
Still to be ironed out: whether Yr 1 begins at $11.25 mill & rises by 7.5% to reach $53 mill. Or starts higher & then decreases to = $53m. — Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) October 21, 2014
But, to reiterate, the 4-year, $53 million structure is done. Plus, there are no opt-outs in the deal.
— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) October 21, 2014
There’s a lot of discussion on the actual contract amount from multiple outlets, but either way it’s a solid deal to retain a potential future All-Star.
Base salary on Nik Vucevic's deal with Magic is four years, $48 million, I've been told, with incentives that could push amount to $53M.
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) October 21, 2014
Vucevic will make about $2.75 million in this ’14-’15 season before the new contract extension will kick in. This extension doesn’t end until the summer of 2019. In 134 regular season games with the Magic – all of which he’s started – leading up to this season, Vucevic has averaged 13.6 ppg and 11.5 rpg on 51.4 FG% and at 32.6 minutes per game. Nik hasn’t hit his prime yet and he’ll still be well in his prime when this contract extension ends. It’s nice to see Nik’s teammates congratulating him on growing his bank account.
@NikolaVucevic Congratulations to this guy! Glad to be apart of the Magic future with this guy!
We’ll see if Tobias Harris is next.
After reaching terms on Nik Vucevic extension, Orlando will keep working on Tobias Harris talks. Still significant gap there, sources say.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) October 21, 2014
The legendarily entertaining duo of Dante Marchitelli and George Galante return to the Orlando Magic airwaves on October 22nd, prior to Orlando’s home preseason contest against Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets.
Marchitelli and Galante have always been with the Magic, but it’s great to have the program and both of them on air together again. There will be no television broadcast of the show (for now), but Magic fans will be able to watch Dante & Galante on OrlandoMagic.com and the Magic mobile app.
Before they had a show, Dante and George made the Orlando Summer League in the mid-2000s a wonderful event to watch just for their commentary. This was when the games were played at the RDV Sportsplex and there truly were very few spectators in attendance. They’ve been gone as an entertainment duo for a few years since hosting Magic Overtime which was on television and on YouTube, but that didn’t stop us from wanting them back.
— Evan Dunlap (@BQRMagic) March 15, 2013
In honor of their triumphant return, below I’ve put together a Top 15 list of Dante & Galante show moments. Why fifteen? Because 10 wouldn’t do them justice.