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MBO Roundtable: Emergency Edition Part 1

2015 January 31
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

When the MBO roundtable last convened a few weeks ago, we were hovering over the Orlando Magic panic button. As of a day ago, the future for Jacque Vaughn remaining as Magic Head Coach does not look encouraging. It appears he’s going to be replaced sooner rather than later, and so we explore what happens next for Orlando. As always, I’m Adam Papageorgiou and joining me for the chat are Brian Serra, Preston Raulerson, and Spenser Strode. Below is Part 1 of our emergency roundtable. 

 

It’s not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’ now. When is Jacque Vaughn being fired? What date/game?

 

Adam Papageorgiou: I feel bad for the guy, but it’s looking like Super Bowl Sunday. When the Magic lose to the Mavericks on Saturday – and based on how they’ve looked for the past 7 weeks, there’s no reason not to envision anything but a loss – what better way for the franchise to make the change than on one of the biggest non-NBA media days of the calendar year? Are we honestly that concerned about ‘game preparation’ for Monday’s game in Oklahoma City? Plus, it gives the front office a few more weeks before the trade deadline to mix up lineups, roles, responsibilities of players and figure out which guys on the roster they want to keep or trade. Adrian Wojnarowski says JV’s job is guaranteed through Saturday only. When Woj speaks, we all have to listen. Plus, the avalanche of rumors surrounding the Magic from the national media is larger than even I could have expected ever since the Orlando Sentinel crew got the ball rolling Thursday night. It’s only a matter of time. It just isn’t working out for Jacque after having to deal with 2 years of tanking instructions.

 

Spenser Strode: So, the discontent has obviously been brewing for a long time with the bloggers and casual fans, then it escalated to the die-hard fans realizing that the progress they thought had been achieved over the last 3 years appears to be coming undone, and everything hit the fan when Brian Schmitz got his source to reveal that an immediate coaching change is on the table. Once something like this hits the national media, it’s only a matter of time. If the Magic turn in another pitiful performance against the Mavericks on Saturday night, I wouldn’t be all that shocked to see Vaughn get the axe following the game. There’s no sense in sending a lame-duck authority figure out on the road for a tough two-game road trip, might as well save on the travel expenses.

 

Brian Serra: Jacque Vaughn will be fired at 10:30 p.m., Saturday January 31st, immediately after Chandler Parsons and Monta Ellis drop a combined 55 points. The Magic can’t afford to let another coach or player saga get dragged out and controlled by the media. This is a chance for Hennigan to seize control and prove that despite belief in a “process”, that a definitive choice can be made when needed.

 

Preston Raulerson: Vaughn will be fired at the All-Star Break. However, I believe the final decision from management will be made following the next loss – and then the action delayed a few weeks. Not that it is necessarily what they SHOULD do…

 

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Magic Shootaround Interviews Before Tonight’s Dallas Mavericks Game

2015 January 31
by Adam Papageorgiou

vaughnjacquemavsshootaround

After a whirlwind of speculation and questions surround the future of Jacque Vaughn as Orlando Magic Head Coach yesterday, Saturday saw more normalcy and game day focus in preparation for the Dallas Mavericks. Elfrid Payton may be staring at his potential future when he goes up against Rajon Rondo tonight. Tobias Harris should play despite hurting his right quad on Thursday, and T12 also gave thanks to fans for their condolences. The grandfather of Tobias and Channing Frye just recently passed away.

Reminder, tonight’s game is the 3rd-consecutive ‘India Day’. There will be a postgame concert featuring international musician Jay Sean. Also, every Sunday game has a street festival with a long line of food truck vendors on Church Street.

Jacque Vaughn:

 

Below are interviews of Elfrid Payton, Tobias Harris, and Aaron Gordon.

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Gordon and Marble Host Local Students for Magic FIT Fun Day

2015 January 31
by Adam Papageorgiou

agcutout

The Orlando Magic, along with rookies Aaron Gordon and Devyn Marble, hosted a Magic FIT Fun Day at Greenwood Lakes Middle School on Friday to celebrate Greenwood Lakes’ students winning the Magic FIT 8-week challenge. Greenwood Lakes submitted 752 Magic FIT 8-week challenges to win the Magic FIT Fun Day. The players joined Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw in recognizing the students’ accomplishments.

 

  The Magic FIT 8-week fitness challenge is an incentive-based exercise program for children and adults created by Magic Strength and Conditioning Coach Bill Burgos. The Magic will continue to work with local schools to promote health and wellness with an emphasis on the MAGIC FIT 8-week fitness challenge.  

 

Magic FIT is the team’s first-ever fitness and nutrition education program for youth. Following the NBA FIT guidelines, the program’s goal is to improve the knowledge of healthy food choices and fitness exercises among at-risk children within Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties. NBA FIT is a comprehensive health and wellness platform promoting healthy, active lifestyles for children and adults. The NBA FIT initiative encourages physical activity and healthy living for children and families.

 

 

 

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

Willie Green: “…Bite Somebody’s Ear Off…We’ve Got to Get a Win” and More Bucks-Magic Postgame

2015 January 29
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

 

How about Willie Green with the quote of the year.

Willie Green:

 

Below are interviews of Victor Oladipo, Jacque Vaughn, and Tobias Harris.

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Milwaukee Manhandles Magic as Orlando Loses 7th Straight

2015 January 29
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/John Raoux

AP Photo/John Raoux

The Orlando Magic are now 5-16 at Amway Center after falling to the Milwaukee Bucks 115-100. It wasn’t that close. Bucks led from start to finish and Orlando players appear to have quit on the season. It’s sad with all that talent on the court. Magic lost the turnover battled 24-15. Milwaukee had a 29-14 assists advantage. Bucks knew how to share the ball better.

Milwaukee had 7 Bucks score in double figures. Nikola Vucevic snubbed from making the All-Star Game finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Victor Oladipo led Orlando with 21 points. Willie Green had a season-high 16 points. Elfrid Payton added 15 points and 6 assists.

Below is the full game recap.

 

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Statistically, Nikola Vucevic Undoubtedly is an All-Star

2015 January 28
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

I already made an argument about why Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic deserves to be selected for his first career NBA All-Star Game. That was on January 1st of this young 2015 calendar year. Since then, the Montenegrin has raised his scoring average and efficiency even more. Through 47 games, Vucevic is averaging 19.5 ppg and 11.2 rpg on 53.6 FG%. Beastly.

Unfortunately, about 80% of the large national media don’t seem to view Nikola Vucevic as an All-Star. They’d rather see guys like Chris Bosh, Al Horford, and even Kyle Korver get in over a great center on a bad team. So I’m back to change minds even though I know the coaches have already submitted their reserve votes. 4 ATLANTA HAWKS??? SERIOUSLY?! Atlanta is having a nice season, but it’s one part of the season. They don’t have the longevity.

Chris Bosh is averaging 21.3 ppg and 7.5 rpg on 47.1 FG%. Bosh has 7 double-doubles. VUCEVIC HAS 27! Nik leads the entire Association in double-doubles. Bosh has a 21.04 PER. Nik? 22.17. Stats don’t lie.

Atlanta is going to have Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap already in the All-Star Game. Well-deserved. Mike Budenholzer is going to coach the East All-Stars. That’s reward enough. Horford has been an All-Star but is only averaging 15.2 ppg and 6.7 rpg. He’s got a slight edge in shooting at 54.6 FG%. Horford’s PER is 21.37. Again, Vooch has Horford beat.

I get it, Kyle Korver is a freak of nature from behind the 3-point line. That’s why he’s being rewarded with the 3-point shootout invitation. HE’S ONLY AVERAGING 12.9 POINTS PER GAME! With a PER of 15.80. At the end the day, Korver is just a specialist. Not an All-Star. The only guys that get into the All-Star Game scoring less than thirteen points per game, are dominant big men and amazing point guards. Not shooters.

Here’s my final statistical fact for why Nikola Vucevic is an All-Star. Below is a list of the most recent NBA seasons where players posted a 19+ points per game average, and 11+ rebounds per game average, all while also shooting 53.0+ FG%.

allstarmen

 

Look at that list. Stare at it. Embrace it. Drool at it. Just soak it in. Dwight Howard, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Charles Barkley. Nikola Vucevic is part of that. Right now. Not bad for a 24-year-old.

The only guy on that list who didn’t make it to the All-Star Game that season was 2009-2010 Carlos Boozer (the ’06-’07 version got in). A big reason for that was because Boozer before the All-Star Break only averaged 19.4 ppg and 10.8 rpg. He’d perform better in the season half of that ’10 campaign. Well that and he had guys like Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, and Zach Randolph get voted in front of Carlos.

Vucevic doesn’t have anywhere near that type of competition for an ASG invite. Also, Nik would be an All-Star lock if the center position still existed in voting.

Get that weak garbage ‘4 Hawks in’ mentality out of here. Vooch is an All-Star and it should enrage any basketball fan, player, coach, media member, whomever, that can appreciate statistics and a high-caliber season of production. The 15-33 Magic team win-loss record should mean nothing in this argument. It’s not like Nik is shooting a bad percentage or stat-padding. He’s out there doing everything he can to try and win for his franchise.

I’m mentally prepared for Vucevic to be robbed by the coaches’ vote come Thursday night. I can see it coming, and anyone who didn’t vote Nik should feel ashamed of themselves. I don’t hope for injuries, but I expect karma to kick in from the basketball gods and I am anticipating – one way or another – that Nikola Vucevic will be on the court in New York City at the All-Star Game on February 15th. Reward the 7-footer for his phenomenal work.

 

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

Oladipo and Payton Selected for All-Star Weekend Rising Stars Challenge

2015 January 28

vicelf

Orlando Magic guards Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton have been selected to participate in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge as part of 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend in New York City.

Oladipo, the 2013-14 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year runner-up, has increased his scoring average from 13.8 points in his first season to 16.5 points in his second season and improved his field goal percentage from 41.9 to 45.9. He has scored in double figures 35 times, had 20+ points 11 times, and had 30+ points twice, including a season-high 33 points on January 12th at Chicago.

Payton, the 10th selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, leads all rookies and ranks 18th in the NBA in assists (5.8 apg.) and ranks in the top-10 in rookie rankings in scoring, rebounding, FG%, steals and minutes played. He also became only the third player in NBA history to record 7+ assists in his first four career games (Oscar Robertson, John Wall). Payton has led (or tied) the team in scoring once, in rebounding twice and in assists a team-high 35 times.

The league’s annual showcase of premier young talent will debut a format that pits 10 first and second-year NBA players from the United States against 10 first and second-year NBA players from around the world. The game, set for Friday February 13th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, will be televised live by TNT at 9 p.m. EST, part of Turner Sports’ 30th year of All-Star coverage.

This year’s edition showcases 10 of the top 15 picks from the 2013 NBA Draft presented by State Farm, and all four participants in the 2015 Slam Dunk contest (including Victor), which will be held during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night at Barclays Center.

Hopefully both Elfrid and Victor get selected for the skills contest as well.

Elfrid in January is averaging 10.8 ppg, 7.2 apg, and 4.4 rpg on 45.4 FG%. Oladipo has made a big jump in production as well this month, averaging 20.6 ppg, 3.8 apg, and 3.8 rpg on 46.6 FG%.

Below are the rosters for the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge:

worldus

 

Any time I see Alvin Gentry, I always think of this:

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

Orlando Magic Recognized at NBA Retail Summit

2015 January 27
by Adam Papageorgiou

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Orlando Magic Director of Retail Operations, Doug Smith was recently awarded the “Full Nelson Award” at the NBA Retail Summit that occurred January 11th through the 15th. The award is presented annually to the person demonstrating passion, leadership and dedication to improving the collective team business. Smith is in his sixth season with the Magic overseeing the team’s retail operations including in-arena, the team shop and e-commerce initiatives.

The Magic, under Smith’s leadership in a collaborative marketing initiative, were recognized for their innovation with the unveiling of the team’s “Pride Jersey” at the beginning of this season. As part of the announcement, the jerseys were available for purchase for a limited-time online presale prior to the team wearing them in game action. Every fan who purchased a jersey at the team’s online retail site during the presale also received two tickets to a Magic game.

In addition, the Magic and Smith were recognized for their 25th anniversary retail approach during the ’13-’14 campaign. As part of the Magic’s 25th anniversary celebration last season they offered fans the opportunity to purchase the team’s inaugural uniforms along with other collectibles and 25th anniversary products. The retail area also enhanced the team’s online offerings via the team website, www.orlandomagicshop.com and the Magic’s mobile app.

To further the team’s retail innovation, the Magic recently became the first NBA team to install Apple Pay at arena retail shops and concessions.

 

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

Memphis Grinds Down Magic; Orlando on 6-Game Losing Streak

2015 January 26
by Adam Papageorgiou
AP Photo/Brandon Dill

AP Photo/Brandon Dill

It’s not getting any easier for the Orlando Magic. After coughing up 67 points in the first half, Orlando lost 103-94 to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. 6 straight losses and the Magic have dropped 12 of their last 14 contests. Orlando’s defensive inconsistencies continued to get exploited. Zach Randolph led Memphis with 24 points and 10 rebounds while Marc Gasol notched 16 points and 10 boards.

Nikola Vucevic had a mediocre evening and still managed to tally 18 points and 12 rebounds. Dewayne Dedmon had a career-high 10 points and notched his first ever double-double with 10 rebounds. Well-deserved. Elfrid Payton added 12 points and 6 assists while Victor Oladipo had 18 points but still struggled dealing with screens on defense.

 

Below is the full game recap.

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Pacers-Magic Postgame Locker Room Interviews

2015 January 25
by Adam Papageorgiou
Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

They’ve lost 11 of their last 13 games, of course the Orlando Magic know they’re in a horrible rut. Aaron Gordon may be the key to get out of it. Head Coach Jacque Vaughn looks beyond deflated at this point.

Aaron Gordon:

 

Below are interviews of Jacque Vaughn, Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, and Elfrid Payton.

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