By now you know that the Orlando Magic have recalled rookie Devyn Marble from the Erie BayHawks, they’re D-League affiliate. Marble was assigned to Erie on December 26th. In two games with the BayHawks, he averaged 20.0 ppg., 4.5 rpg., 4.0 apg. and 1.50 spg at 37.5 minutes per contest. Unfortunately, the Iowa Hawkeye didn’t get to play a third contest due to falling ill. Devyn is healthy and active for the Magic entering the first game of this Magic home back-to-back against the Brooklyn Nets.
That means that Maurice Harkless is on the inactive list. Head Coach Jacque Vaughn has primarily been unhappy with Moe’s defense as he discussed Marble and Harkless during the pregame interview of tonight’s Nets matchup along with why the team has done better away than on the road.
I’m not one who believes in New Year’s resolutions, and I’m not sure how many Orlando Magic players do either, but if there’s one basketball request I could create for 2015 is for the citizens of Orlando and this Magic franchise to re-connect and find the bond that has been lost during these past few losing seasons.
The Magic are 4-10 at home. They were 19-22 last season. That’s unacceptable. At what point does an NBA home become ‘home’ to a paid athlete? 7 of the 15 men on the Magic roster have been part of the organization for 6 months or less. No more Jameer Nelson means Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn hold the longest team tenure at around 2.5 years, which really means they’ve physically been in Orlando for over 1 year when you factor road games and offseason time spent away from Orlando.
Youth is good, but we may be witnessing the problems of going through a franchise revival process. A lack of bond between the team and the city it represents. Now look, don’t get me wrong, the Magic are one of the best franchises in the NBA in regards to community service. Period. A lot of time and resources get donated to a countless amount of charitable causes.
That’s different from day-to-day bonding on the streets. Part of that is the fact that Orlando’s layout is ridiculously spread out in comparison to your average NBA city’s central hub. You’re not able to walk around to places outside of a handful of downtown blocks. Still, your average sports fan and casual watcher finds the Magic unappealing. There’s a massive issue when very few people can recognize the charismatic Victor Oladipo on the street. Winning fixes that, but the seeds of change need to be planted now before the returns to playoff basketball occur.
Magic fan enthusiasm is nowhere close to ideal currently, even though ticket numbers have thankfully not suffered much. Credit Magic employees and the wonderful Amway Center facility and service. Upscale season ticket holders that have seats in the lower bowl are enjoying the perks of food and drink in their designated lounge locations during tip-off and the start of third periods. That’s fine, but the game atmosphere severely suffers. Empty seats don’t pump up players. It’s the same problem Dwight Howard preached for years.
Even when folks are in their seats, 90% of your typical game is played with little crowd noise. On most Amway Center game occasions, the loudest screams are saved for t-shirt launches, dancing dads, or gyrating grannies. Not when an opponent is at the free throw line or the Magic pull off a great sequence of plays. That’s disheartening, and I’d love to see the team find a way to dedicate 4-5 lower bowl rows of a section to a a constant cheering section of spirited Magic fans. Because Amway Center sounds quieter than an elderly peoples’ downtown facility way too often. I’m constantly praying that Brazilian tourists show up on a nightly basis because they’re the only folks that make consistent noise.
Venture away from Church Street and Hughey Avenue and it gets way worse. There’s just no buzz around this team even though there are some great, talented, young players wearing those pinstriped jerseys currently. Talk to any person in Orlando who likes sports about why they don’t follow the Magic right now and you’ll find a plethora of responses.
‘I don’t know anyone on the team.’
‘Wait, there’s a pro basketball team here?’
‘I miss Stan.’
‘Saving my money for Orlando City soccer tickets.’
‘J.J. Redick isn’t here anymore so I don’t care.’
My favorite is ‘I like the Heat.’ To which – and I’m sure you folks all do this – I immediately ask that individual to name 5 current Heat players. About 86% of the time they can’t, and I’m sure those people are just figuring out it’s probably wiser to be Cavaliers fans. Those people can easily be converted to Magic fans as this youthful squad is figuring out how to win.
I can go on. The number of sports bars in and around Orlando that automatically show Magic games are dwindling. It’s your home team, no one should be having to remind the waiter to flip one t.v. to the Magic game. The franchise is in its 26th season. It’s still a youthful fan base in a rapidly growing city that is still heavily dominated by transients. But it shouldn’t be THIS bad.
Yes, NBA players are professionals. Yes, they make millions. Yes, they want to win. But it’s not the same ‘want’ as representing your high school community, your college/university, or your hometown. Orlando is an adopted home for every Magic player and coach.
I put on for my city, on on for my city
I put on for my city, on on for my city
Put on (east side)
Put on (south side)
Put on (west side)
That’s of course the chorus for Young Jeezy’s Put On that plays during Magic home team introductions during nights where they wear their silver ‘pride’ jerseys. The team doesn’t look passive or lack passion, but there’s no ‘Orlando pride’. That’s no one’s fault, it’s just natural for this business when the average age of your team is 24-25 years old. The large majority of NBA players have on-court pride for themselves and teammates, that’s it. The pride of playing for your NBA city rarely develops in time because of trades, free agency, waivers, etc. That’s a special connection that rarely develops between players and a city’s citizens. You see it with teams like San Antonio and Memphis for example. Again, winning helps, but those fans and people are bonding while simultaneously cheering their team.
So a potential solution to try and reach that level? A scavenger hunt for the Magic players to complete during the remaining part of this ’14-’15 season when they’re not practicing, training, or on the road. Hit the pavement. Start popping into places and events you’ve never been to.
These activities can be done in teammate pairs, big groups, solo, with family, friends, I don’t care. It’s cheesy, but it’s a speed course in team-city bonding. Something they’ve been able to do on the road but just can’t pull off in Orlando. You have different routines on the road than at home and you have a lot more freedom to be alone when you’re at home. There should be a reward or multiple rewards given to players for completing it the quickest to keep guys motivated. It can be something simple like music selection for the rest of the season, or being able to choose what meals to have. The team can pick.
Each item is worth 1 point. As you can see, you need to reach 20 points. I’m providing plenty of bonus points opportunities to get you to that twenty. If you’re a player and you’ve already done some of the things on this list: GREAT! Cross it off and pat yourself on the back. You’re on the honor system here. No cheating now.
*Word Document below*
- Take a full lap around Lake Eola. Then do another full lap going the other way.
- Bonus point if you Tweet/Instagram a photo of your favorite spot.
- Bonus point if you cruise on the lake in a swan.
- Head to a Downtown bar/club. Ask the bartender if they have a Magic blue drink. If they do, give them a #1 personalized ‘pride’ jersey with the establishment’s name on it. If not, tell them to invent one right then and there and then hook them up with the jersey.
- Ride SunRail. Hand out 10 rider cards on train/platform with $5 pre-loaded on each card.
- Eat at a non-chain restaurant on Mills Avenue. Tweet/Instagram your food pic.
- Hit up International Drive for some putt-putt play or games at Dave & Buster’s.
- Get video of yourself sinking a shot at the Orlando Fashion Square mall b-ball court.
- Bonus point for getting filmed dishing off an assist to someone else’s shot.
- Bonus point for taking part in a light pick-up game.
- Tweet/Instagram a pic your movie experience at the Enzian Theatre.
- Sunday afternoon go to the Orlando Farmers Market on Lake Eola for food/gifts.
- Bonus point if you take a pic with folks that are walking their dog(s).
- See a musical or comedy show at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
- Orlando bikeshare starts Jan. 9th. Take a pic of you taking a ride on a bicycle.
- Take a stroll around the UCF campus.
- Bonus point if you photograph a UCF sporting/concert event.
- Bonus point if you get a pic of you with a UCF student walking in pajamas.
- Take a pic of you during the 3rd period of an Orlando Solar Bears hockey game.
- Bonus point if you video/photograph a fight.
- Enjoy some laughs at a SAK Comedy Lab show.
- Bonus point if you’re pictured participating in a skit onstage.
- Tweet/Instagram yourself paddleboarding or kayaking on a lake/river.
- Enjoy 50 acres of green and color at the Harry P. Leu Gardens arboretum.
- Tweet/Instagram a pic of you touring Orlando Brewing and their organic offerings.
- Head on down to Gatorland. Watch your limbs.
- Take a walk down Park Avenue and enjoy the shops and restaurants of Winter Park.
- Tweet/Instagram yourself eating some Jeremiah’s Italian Ice on those warm days.
- Tweet/Instagram yourself sitting in the ‘big chair’ at Wall Street Plaza.
- Bonus point if you Tweet/Instagram a photo of your favorite spot.
Hopefully you’ll enjoy all of it. But the main benefit is you get to be seen by fans, Orlando citizens, employee staff members of these establishments. Notice I didn’t add the big theme parks. Interact. You may be attracting new Magic fans.
How’s my list? Bring the comments for any other suggestions you’d add.
This just in: Nikola Vucevic has been really good for the Orlando Magic. The franchise center has averaged 18.1 ppg and 11.3 rpg on 52.6 FG% in 29 games so far this season. It’s appropriate to point out that Vooch deserves strong All-Star Game consideration, something that the 24-year-old has wanted to accomplish during his NBA career. There’s two ways of playing in the New York exhibition in February: Get voted in by the fans, or hope that the coaches vote you in. Nik may have to rely on the latter.
The second ballot returns are in as you see above, and Vucevic has the 11th-most votes among Eastern Conference frontcourt players. Gone are the positions, which is bad for centers like the Montenegrin. The good news is that Nik has leapfrogged Paul Pierce since the first ballot results came in in which Nik was 12th.
Unfortunately, the voting gap is growing for Vooch between him and guys like Al Jefferson, Kevin Garnett, and Jonas Valanciunas. All 3 of them are not having as great a season as Nik, and Tobias Harris deserves more respect.
LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh, are the only frontcourt players having a statistically better season than Vucevic. But then you factor winning and market size in and that’s why Pau Gasol will make it. From there it gets interesting with Kevin Love and Marcin Gortat also being options. I believe Vucevic deserves – with zero doubt – to be considered ahead of those two. Tobias is getting ridiculously snubbed to not even be in the top 15. You see Nikola Mirotic sneaking in to 15th on that frontcourt second ballot results. It’s pretty interesting to see Montenegro – a country of less than 1 million – have two players in Vooch and Mirotic receiving so many votes.
Stats don’t lie. Vucevic belongs in the All-Star Game right now. Vucevic has the 3rd-best PIE – their player efficiency rating – AMONG ALL EASTERN CONFERENCE FRONCTOURT PLAYERS.
As of January 1st, there are 18 days left to vote for who you want in the game. Social media sites like Twitter are your friend. Give Nikola Vucevic your support by tweeting out his full name and using the #NBABallot hashtag. Or you use the official All-Star voting site. Even though Vucevic is most likely not getting in with the fan vote, the higher he is the better, so that coaches can’t ignore the solid season Vooch is having. Orlando being in the playoff hunt wouldn’t hurt the cause either. It would be great to have a Magic man in the All-Star Game once again.
All you had to do was watch Evan Fournier examine the final stat sheet following Tuesday’s loss, and you would understand how frustrating a defeat it was for the Orlando Magic. Fatigue wasn’t an acceptable excuse in their eyes.
The Orlando Magic looked like a tired squad on Tuesday night, as many teams playing their 4th game in 5 nights typically do. Orlando is 4-10 at Amway Center after their 109-86 loss against the Detroit Pistons. Not an ideal way to end 2014. Jodie Meeks was 9-of-11 from 3-point range and posted 34 points off Detroit’s bench. Orlando was a whole was 4-for-20 from deep. Andre Drummond was a terror on the interior as he tallied 17 points and 22 rebounds.
Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 16 points, but finished with the worst plus/minus of -30. Yikes. Channing Frye was the next worse at -22 off the bench. Tobias Harris had 15 points and 8 rebounds and Nikola Vucevic added 10 points and 5 boards in limited action. Detroit out-rebounded the Magic 54-42. Pistons shot 15-of-29 on free throws, Orlando 6-of-10.
Below is the full game recap.
The Orlando Magic won 102-101 Monday night in Miami as Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton teamed up to challenge a Dwyane Wade jumper that rimmed out at the buzzer to conclude an drama-filled contest. It’s the first Magic victory in Miami since March of 2011. The Magic won despite shooting 27 fewer free throw attempts than Miami. Heat were 28-of-40 from the charity stripe while Orlando was only 9-for-13. It was a 25-15 personal foul gap as well, bringing up memories of that home loss to the Cavaliers. But Orlando got another road victory, 9-12 away from Amway Center.
The Magic were led by a man who deserves to be an All-Star. Nikola Vucevic with 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists on 12-for-17 shooting. Oladipo had 22 points. Elfrid managed 4 points, 8 assists, and 4 steals. Tobias Harris had a big second half as well with 18 points. Channing Frye tallied 13 points off the bench. Wade had 15 of his 25 points in that fourth quarter. Danny Granger was 6-for-7 on 3-pointers with 21 points, his first time scoring over twenty in over two and a half years as he had a throwback night. Chris Bosh added 20 points and 8 assists.
Below is the full game recap.
Orlando Magic rookie Devyn Marble participated in his first game with team D-League affiliate the Erie BayHawks on Friday night. The 6’6″ wing knows that this NBDL assignment is meant for him to get real court time and to develop a rhythm that can’t be obtained just in practices.
The BayHawks beat the Bakersfield Jam 118-107 as Marble played 41 minutes and scored 21 points on 9-of-20 shooting while also tallying 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Not a bad debut for #10 as Erie’s record improved to 7-8.
Familiar Summer League and preseason faces Seth Curry, Kadeem Batts, and Drew Crawford were big contributors in this contest as well. Curry continues to light up opponents as he had 28 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals on 10-of-13 shooting against the Jam. Crawford contributed 19 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds while Batts added 11 points and 8 rebounds.
Finishing out games has been a problem for the Orlando Magic in this 2014-2015 season. Not in Charlotte on Saturday night, despite a career-high 42 points from Hornets guard Kemba Walker. The Magic won 102-94 and are now 8-1 when they score 100+ points this season. More importantly, their 8-12 road record means Orlando has doubled their 4-win away total they had in the ’13-’14 campaign. It was nice to see the Magic shoot more free throws than their foe: 18-of-24 while Charlotte was only 14-of-18 from the charity stripe.
Orlando shot 45.8 FG% while holding the Hornets to 41.9 FG%. Nikola Vucevic racked up his 18th double-double of the season with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Vooch out-dueled Al Jefferson (14 points and 8 rebounds) and Nik showed again he should be an All-Star. Speaking of potential All-Stars, Tobias Harris added 21 points and 6 rebounds. T12 has scored in double figures in all 31 of his games this season.
Elfrid Payton was allowed to finish the game for a change and it showed. 11 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and ZERO turnovers for the rookie. Meanwhile, Victor Oladipo was 6-of-9 from the field in more of a natural SG role as ‘Dipo added 13 points and 6 rebounds. The Magic as a whole coughed up only 6 turnovers, their fewest in a contest this season. Evan Fournier and Ben Gordon off the bench each added 12 and eleven points each.
- Both teams were coming off playing on Friday. The Magic were on the unfortunate end of a LeBron James beast of the fourth quarter while the Hornets shot their 3rd-worst shooting percentage in franchise history in a brutal loss in Oklahoma City.
- Orlando pounced out to an early lead and shot over fifty percent in the first half. The Magic were up 52-42 at halftime. It was all about remaining consistent in the second half.
- Despite Kemba Walker scoring 19 points in the third period, Orlando was still up thirteen entering the fourth quarter. Walker was only 3-of-9 in the first half.
- Tobias drained another clutch shot – a 3-pointer this time – to put Orlando up 97-86 with 1:35 in the contest. Ball game. It ended a drought in which Orlando missed 9 straight field goal attempts.
- Orlando’s largest lead was 15 points and never truly showed signs of collapsing in the fourth period despite Charlotte’s constant runs. It’s progress.
- Last time Orlando was in Charlotte, the Magic had that 23-point comeback victory in November, so it was nice that Charlotte didn’t return the favor.
- The Magic are momentarily the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference once again, and own a 3-5 record against Southeast division rivals.
- It needs to be pointed out just how refreshing it was to see Elfrid finally finish out a contest on the court. It had been a while.
The 12-21 Magic head to South Beach as they’ll play the Heat on Monday.
A familiar problem for the Orlando Magic showed itself once again in Friday’s loss to the Cavaliers: The Magic couldn’t finish in the fourth quarter. LeBron James played a huge role in the result, but the Magic’s offense tightened up once more. To go from shooting 60.0 FG% and 22 assists in the first 3 quarters, to finishing the contest below fifty percent shooting and only managing 3 assists on 5-of-21 shooting is a problem.
The Orlando Magic were very competitive against a strong Cleveland Cavaliers squad on Friday night. You could argue that Elfrid Payton and Dewayne Dedmon deserved more playing time, but at the end of it all it was LeBron James taking over and finishing the contest like the superstar he is. Orlando lost 98-89. Cavs were held to 41.9 FG% while Orlando managed 49.3 FG%. 25 of their 36 field goal makes were assisted, but their 17-9 turnover problems negated that nice ball movement. Cavs were 24-of-26 from the free throw line, Magic 8-of-12.
It was the third sellout crowd this season at Amway Center and there was plenty of energy. Tobias Harris led the Magic with 16 points. Evan Fournier had fifteen points. Nikola Vucevic tallied 12 points, 8 rebounds, and a career-best 7 assists. LeBron James led Cleveland with 29 points, fifteen of which came in the final period. Orlando had 14 in the entire fourth as a team.
Below is the full game recap.