Retired Jerseys: Shaq or Dwight?

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The Orlando Magic is a relatively young franchise. You could make the argument that they do not have a retired number for that reason. But the three other new teams from ’89 have at least one jersey retired. Why haven’t the Magic enshrined a former player’s number up in the rafters? Maybe because we have not found the right guy to fit the bill. That brings us to my question: Why not Shaquille O’Neil or Dwight Howard?

 

Shaquille O’Neil

Why He Should Have His Jersey Retired

  • In his four seasons in the pinstripes, Shaq accumulated numerous awards including: 4x NBA All-Star, 1x All-NBA Second Team, and 2x All-NBA Third Team. He was also named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and was the Rookie of the Year.
  • He is second in team history in blocks and rebounds, third in field goals made, and fifth in points scored.
  • Shaq, or Superman, was a fan favorite during his tenure in Orlando. People were overjoyed when Michael Jordan switched to baseball because that meant the NBA was now Shaq’s. Orlando is where he got his start.

Why He Shouldn’t Have His Jersey Retired

  • Shaq only played four seasons for the Magic and left on bad terms. He chased the money in Los Angeles instead of cementing his legacy in Orlando.
  • His best years were not in Orlando. He may have taken the Magic to the Finals, but he won championships with Lakers.
  • He did not just break backboards; he broke our hearts.

 

Always Shaqtin’ a Fool. source: i.ytimg.com

Dwight Howard

Why He Should Have His Jersey Retired

  • Leads the Magic all time in rebounds, free throws (slightly skewed, but still), blocks, and points.
  • Spent eight seasons with the team, easily the best years of his career. Earned many awards, including: 6x NBA All-Star, 5x All-NBA First Team, 3x Defensive Player of the Year, and Slam Dunk champ to name a few.
  • Just like Shaq, Howard was fan favorite. He volunteered at functions around the Orlando area, had his own shoes, and even had his own puppet!

 

Why He Shouldn’t Have His Jersey Retired

  • Just like Superman number 1, Superman number 2 left on bad terms. He demanded a trade, forced upper management to fire Stan Van Gundy, and basically stopped trying on the court until he left. When your departure is nicknamed the “Dwightmare”, there are going to be negative repercussions.
  • Howard publically stated that his jersey should be retired the day after he left the Magic, and then whined when Tobias Harris took number 12 for himself.
  • He came out and threw the 2009 team under the bus, stating that “his team” in Orlando was a group of misfits that he led with “a smile on his face”. Throwing shade to the Finals team? Not cool.
Dwight_Howard for the blog

Bet he missed it. source: Wikepedia

 

I would have done a twitter poll to get your take on this but…well I really don’t know why I didn’t. Maybe I should. Or you can let me know in the comments what you think. Like perhaps you think someone else should be up there? Like Jameer Nelson, Nick Anderson, Mickael Pietrus? (Okay Pietrus is a joke I just love him.) My personal opinion? As disliked as he is now, Dwight should have his jersey retired. Go ahead, fight me.

 

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2016 Mock Draft(?)

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The NBA season has finally come to an end. LeBron James and Co. hoisted the Larry O’Brien championship trophy after a fierce battle with the Golden State Warriors. While Cleveland continues to celebrate, everyone else in the world is left to think about one thing: the NBA Draft. Tomorrow, June 23rd, Adam Silver will get showered with jeers and cheers as he announces Ben Simmons as the first pick by Philadelphia. The process continues, with the LA Lakers picking second and Boston picking third. Eventually we reach the eleventh pick, where the Orlando Magic are officially on the clock.

 

I have seen some mock drafts floating around with several different options for our eleventh pick. The most common choice I have seen is Skal Labissiere, a power forward from the University of Kentucky. Unfortunately, the casual NBA fan has very little or no idea who he is. This is a result of this draft being very top heavy. Outside Simmons, Brandon Ingram, and Buddy Hield, this draft seems to be a bunch of unknowns. So instead of doing my usual mock draft, I will go a different route; the Orlando Magic should trade the eleventh pick in the 2016 NBA Draft to the Chicago Bulls for Jimmy Butler.

Jimmy Butler wearing Air Jordan XX 20 Laser (2)

 

Sure, this is all just a guess. And the trade doesn’t necessarily have to be for Jimmy Butler. But acquiring him just makes so much sense. At 6’7”, Butler can play shooting guard and small forward. The former Marquette product is a 2x NBA All-Star, 3x All-defensive 2nd team, and won the Most Improved Player award in 2015. For a team that struggled defensively, adding an All-Star defenseman would certainly help. Frank Vogel is also bringing a different defensive mindset as head coach. Butler may only be 26, but he is a veteran with playoff experience. He’s played in 32 career playoff games, a number that is far higher than the majority of this young Orlando squad. The most crucial aspect of this trade is national recognition. The eyebrows of other big name free agents would rise if they saw the headlines “Jimmy Buckets signs with Orlando” on their morning paper. He could attract the likeness of Kevin Durant here, as he has voiced his approval of playing alongside Butler already. The more veterans mixed with our young guns could be an incredibly delicious success.

 

Again, this is all speculation. We would have to give up that eleventh pick as well as two other current players, most likely a sign-and-trade of Evan Fournier as well as Victor Oladipo. It would be tough to part with such young talent, but the Magic need wins and they need them yesterday. Trading for Jimmy Butler or another high-profile veteran would be the wisest decision for the Magic. I want to witness Commissioner Silver scan the crowd with his Voldemort-like features and say, “The Orlando Magic have traded the eleventh pick in the 2016 NBA draft to the…” You bet your butt I will be on the edge of my seat waiting to see what he says next.

 

“Join me in the forest tonight and confront your fate.”

Skiles Resigns

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It was just another Thursday at work until I got a text from @Mike_Yazigi94 telling me that Scott Skiles had resigned from coaching the Orlando Magic. I did not know how to react. I thought things were going well. The 2016-17 campaign was supposed to be the one that finally got us back in the postseason. Skiles was going to find the rotation that would thrust us over that ‘average’ threshold and turn us into a good team. Now that dream is gone. Now we have to find our third coach since the departure of Stan Van Gundy.

I don’t get it either, Stan.

Sources have said Skiles had different views for the franchise than the front office. Rob Hennigan, General Manager for the Orlando Magic, viewed point guard Elfrid Payton as the starter for the future. Skiles did not. There were a couple different stretches during the season where Skiles would keep Brandon Jennings and CJ Watson on the floor while Payton rode the bench. But what if there was another factor? What if it also had to do with future plans for the Magic’s improvement. There have been speculations that the Magic are interested in bringing Dwight Howard back. What if Skiles and the front office were butting heads on this? There has been no further release on the true reasoning, but we can all speculate that there were several different factors contributing to Skiles decision.

 

What next? There are four teams (Houston, Indiana, New York, and Memphis) that need to fill coaching vacancies. Should we target former Pacers coach Frank Vogel? He has proven he can coach, but he’s never been elite. What about old targets? We had talks with Mark Jackson. What if we stole James Borrego back from San Antonio? There are also others that want a head coaching gig, former Magic assistant Patrick Ewing headlining that list. Whoever we hire, let’s hope they have the same or similar vision as our front office. If they don’t pan out, Rob Hennigan might be on the hot seat. And that is not what this franchise needs.

My Finale

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My fourth and final game of the year. Wow. And to think before the season started my goal was to attend two games. And now here I am. A seasoned veteran, if you will. My final record was solid, too – defeating the banged-up Chicago Bulls improved my season record to 3-1.

I was very calm walking into the arena. Usually I have butterflies in my stomach like I’m seeing my girlfriend for the first time in a month. This time I felt cool and collected. I had a good feeling about this game. Our seats were four rows up from behind the hoop. Now I’ve sat behind the hoop before, but I’ve never had the worry of it obstructing my view. This time that was a factor. If only it was like a video game where the hoop becomes transparent when your players are in front of it! I didn’t let it faze me.

We still had plenty of time before tipoff so my dad and I decided to grab some dinner. I am usually against paying $8 for two chicken tenders and some soggy fries, but he said he would pay so I gave in. On our way to the concessions I spotted my cousin Seth. I knew he worked for the Magic but I hadn’t seen the guy in probably five years. I recognized the back of his head instantly and walked over. He gave me his business card (I’m officially a big kid now) and told us to let him know next time we planned on attending a game. For me, that could be any day.

 

As I watched my obligatory pregame tweet flash on the jumbotron, the lights began to dim. Players were introduced, hype videos were played, and cheers echoed the arena. We lost the opening tip – which I feel happens a lot – and the game began. I knew it was going to be a good game when Mario Hezonja – who got the start for injured Evan Fournier –  ripped a three two steps behind the line on the second possession of the game. And from there, we took off. With Jimmy Butler out due to injury, the offense was flat for the Bulls. Most plays were capped off with Pau Gasol 18 footers. Not a bad selection, but definitely not how you want to run an offense. After the first quarter, we had already jumped to a 33-23 lead.

A slow start in the second by the Magic was due to our weak bench. The only offense keeping us afloat was birthday boy Jason Smith knocking down a few jump shots. The Magic were very fortunate that the Bulls bench was even weaker. We ended the first half on a high note – Elfrid Payton did not let Derrick Rose get a shot off before the buzzer. We went into the locker room with an advantage in almost every statistical category. Then I got worried.

The Magic have made it a habit to allow games to slip away from them in the third or fourth quarter. When the Bulls came out for the second half and started scraping away at the lead, I almost lost hope. Coach Skiles called a timeout but I still thought our story was written. But this time it wasn’t. We scored right after the timeout and never looked back. Once Super Mario took flight and slammed it home I knew it was in the bag. As the fourth quarter rolled on we got to give a curtain call to the starters and watched the bench finish the game. My good feeling walking into the arena had come into effect and we won the game.

I’m happy we won. I’m happy I got to witness an alley-oop from Elf to Aaron Gordon. I’m happy Mario had a career night. I’m happy I got to see Aaron Brooks get ejected. I’m a happy Magic fan. Our future is bright. It may have just been a broken down Bulls team but we were able to dominate completely from the opening tip to the final whistle. This offseason is going to be a spicy one for this franchise. But I’m not going to get ahead of myself. We still have 22 more games this season (note: we play against Phoenix tonight at 7). We need to find our rhythm and finish strong!

me and elf

Fourth game? Better take a picture with number 4!

Grades: Two Games in Three Days

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With the buzz around Aaron Gordon’s dunk contest snub still flying around social media, the Orlando Magic had to push that aside and get back to reality. In order to make a strong push for the postseason, the focus needs to be on winning games, not spectacular dunks. Friday, the Magic took down the Dallas Mavericks in overtime 110-104. Then, on Sunday, the Magic fell just short against the Indiana Pacers, losing 105-102. Fortunately for me, I was in attendance for both contests. I will compare the games and give grades I feel were appropriate.

 

Atmosphere

vs DAL: A

Ending the first quarter with a score of 31-13 was electric. Everyone was into the game and there was just this feeling of “Hey, we’re gonna win this game!” The wind was sucked out of the arena in the 2nd quarter when Chandler Parsons hand delivered a beat down. The 3rd and 4th quarters were exciting due to the closeness in score but they were no match for the overtime period. The intensity was thunderous as we pulled away with the W.

vs IND: B

It was Stuff’s (the mascot of the Magic) birthday so the atmosphere was fun in the arena. That being said, the crowd seemed like a typical Sunday crowd; relaxed, hyped for a few minutes and then calmed back down quickly. Any time we got any momentum the life got sucked out once the Pacers regained the lead.

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@ScottManze is just a hair shorter than Aaron Gordon.

Offense

vs DAL: C+

            Yes, the Magic may have dominated the first quarter, but other than that the offense was sluggish. Once the Mavericks found their rhythm the offense disappeared on our end. Shooting 40% was not the recipe for success. Most of the third quarter featured Jason Smith elbow jumpers, which is not good offense…The silver lining statistic? We were able to haul in 14 offensive rebounds.

vs IND: C-

            Way too many points left on the table in this one. The Magic shot a very average 41% from the field and an awful 28% from downtown. The ultimate dagger was the missed free throws. Not only were we missing layups and short jumpers, we were splitting free throws (19-29, 66% for the game) in crunch time. Vučević missed a key free throw to tie the game with 30 seconds remaining. As a fan, this is heartbreaking to watch. You can’t miss the free ones as a professional basketball player.

 

Defense

vs DAL: 1st 4th and OT: A, 2nd and 3rd: D

            The A grade goes to Aaron Gordon. Gordon did a stellar job guarding future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki, limiting him to just 11 points and three rebounds. The defense also forced 18 turnovers and 10 steals. The fouls committed were good fouls, too; Dallas went a very poor 61% from the penalty stripe. The D grade is a result of Dallas setting a franchise record for three point shots made. We allowed Chandler Parsons and company to connect on nearly 50% of their threes (19-41), allowing a furious comeback in the second. If the Magic play like they did to start and end the game, this team could sneak into the playoffs. If they show us the middle two quarters, we can start the off season early like we’ve solemnly become accustomed to.

vs IND: C+

            The Magic were able to force 17 first half turnovers, tying a franchise record for most turnovers in a half. Other than that statistic, the defense was lackluster. Before getting in foul trouble, Evan Fournier had All-Star small forward Paul George on lockdown. Monte Ellis was dialed in from three point range, knocking home five out of seven. Vooch did not have an answer for Ian Mahinmi when battling head to head, who went 6-6 in the game and grabbed 9 boards as well.

Overall I cannot complain even a little bit about the outcome of either game. I was extremely lucky to be able to attend two games in three days. I appreciate the company of twitterless Tyler and my brother Scott (@ScottManze) as well as the tickets for game one from pops. I will be attending one more game this year, so be ready for one more game recap post! (P.S. my tweet made it on the JumboTron!)

jumbotron pic

It’s a shame they didn’t take my advice.

KeithTake: Orlando Magic vs. Houston Rockets

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It took until the 23rd of December to make it to my first Magic game of the season. Boy, did I go to the right game! It was a long day of driving around and we ended up showing up late, but I could not have asked for a better game to attend. The Magic outlasted a late comeback by James Harden and the Rockets to win 104-101. I’ll start off with the moment I got there:

The second quarter was roughly halfway over when we finally arrived. There was still a decent flow of people walking in! As we were rushing to our seats, the first play I saw with my own eyes was a dunk by rookie Mario Hezonja (his only points in the contest). The crowd erupted with cheers as video game Mario drove his go-kart on the jumbo-tron with the words “Super Mario” popping up in the same font that all Mario games have. I was so antsy to get to my seat it was crazy.

We finally were allowed to go down to our seats. To reward us for arriving, the Magic hit three straight threes; Frye had the first one and Fournier had the next two. The arena was electric. I had been to two other Magic games and I had never seen the crowd so alive. Was it because we were playing ex-Magic star Dwight Howard? Quite possibly. The boos for Dwight were still very prominent. Every time he touched the ball the crowd reacted. He finished with 12 points (all on dunks) and overall was very quiet.

Halftime was nice. There was a nice Christmas gift donation to a family in need. The looks on their faces when the gifts came out were heart-warming. Then it got ruined shortly after when they panned the crowd and at least four people dabbed, including the father of four next to me.

When play resumed, we looked great. We started the half four of five from the field while Houston missed their first five shots. Then it started to get hairy. James Harden woke up. He started to pick apart the defense. We started to fear the beard. They clawed their way back into the game and took the lead. A few questionable sequences (a hack on Tobias not called and a flop by Patrick Beverly) led to the Rockets taking the lead. After that, no team led by more than three points for the rest of the night. Fournier’s clutch floater and Tobias’ free throws left us up three with 1 second left. Everyone was standing now. The inbound to Marcus Thornton was definitely after seven seconds but it didn’t matter. He missed brutally and the Magic won. I couldn’t even get the reaction on snapchat I was jumping around so much.

I noted a few things while sitting on the edge of my seat. First, we make a lot of quick passes. There is a lot more flashes to the hoop and backdoor passes. Houston looked lost on more than one occasion. These quick passes also helped us break the double team.

The defense also looks a lot more tenacious this season. I know that was an emphasis with Coach Scott Skiles and it is showing. The biggest concern is perimeter defense. Houston was able to take a lot of outside shots. Fortunately for us, they weren’t falling.

Overall, I was very impressed by this unit. There was a lot more cohesion than there has been in years past. I hope to attend at least one more game this season so I can give you all the rundown again. Going to a playoff game would be even sweeter! But for now, we need to continue to play smart basketball and be full of #PureMagic.

Magic check-in: November Edition

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After the first thirteen games of the season, the Orlando Magic have posted a record of 6-7. After losing the first three contests by a combined nine points, we rallied back to win three out of the next four. At this point, I am a very satisfied fan. Watching the last few games I have noticed something I haven’t seen in a long time from this ball club: set plays on offense (no more giving the ball to Oladipo and expecting him to make magic [no pun intended]), a tenacious defense, and just a true will to win.

Setting plays on offense has really had a good effect on this team. The pick-and-pop has been effective. The drive-and-kick has been effective. Heck, sometimes just throwing the ball down to Vooch or Aaron Gordon on the block has been effective! The offense doesn’t just look more cohesive, either. Numbers don’t lie. We are third in the league in rebounds per game with 47.2 and 11th in assists per game (22.2).

The desire to win has been very visible this season also. Quotes such as “We are still building” or “Our inexperience showed tonight” are no longer being used. Instead, they use “We didn’t respond” or “There is no excuse for that kind of play”. They are no longer blaming losses on their youth. They are taking accountability like veteran squads. I believe that is such a big factor in this team’s focus moving forward. This team wants to win and will do anything they can to achieve that goal.

One way to achieve that goal is to figure out a lineup that works. First year coach Scott Skiles has been adamant about experimenting with many different lineups on the floor. Playing the matchup game has shown that our defense can cause nightmares for opponents. Everyone is getting their fair share of playing time in this system and is taking advantage of every minute. I just wish Mario Hezonja would get more time out there…

It’s still early, but I have high hopes for this Magic squad. Skiles is a very good coach and the boys seem motivated. We have a very good chance of making the playoffs.

My KeithTakes:

The Celtics have surprised me with their good start. They will continue to play well (barring no injuries) and make the playoffs.

The Heat will crumble when January rolls around. They may have the division lead currently, but once the tired legs of Wade and Bosh kick in they will take a step backwards.

If Evan Fournier continues his solid play, he will be in talks for the Most Improved Player award. He is currently averaging 19.2 points per game and has made several clutch shots this year (including two in the contest against the Timberwolves). Keep an eye on him.

Sorry for the brief post, the holiday season has arrived so my free time has diminished. I hope to have another post out as soon I possibly can. As for now, stay feathery and go Magic!

New arrivals 2015

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Basketball is really not on anyone’s mind right now. Admit it. You’re probably still relishing in the fact that college football is back and professional football starts this coming Thursday. Only a select few of you are following FIBA’s EuroBasket 2015. Heck, I’m willing to bet most of you don’t even know what that is. Regardless of all that, I like to keep basketball around 24/7. So I decided to check out the new additions to the Magic’s roster! Here is my analysis on each of them.

Jason Smith C/F

7’0”, 240 lbs. 29 years old

As one of the oldest players on this young roster, Jason Smith will bring some veteran leadership to the table. That might be all he brings, though. It might be tough for him to fit into the rotation with Vučević and Dedmon. Look for appearances when Vooch is tired and Dedmon gets into early foul trouble. When he is on the floor, look for a lot of mid-range jumpers (just like Vučević), a hand in the face of defenders (averaged a block a game in the ’11-’12 season) and decent free throw shooting (career 78% at the stripe).

C.J. Watson PG

6’2”, 175 lbs. 31 years old

Another seasoned veteran is added to the roster with C.J. Watson inking a three year deal in the offseason. A move that has been flying under the radar may turn a few heads when the season begins next month. Watson will most likely be Elfrid Payton’s backup and should see significant minutes. He is more of a shoot-first guard; just the opposite of Payton. Coming off one a solid season in Indiana, look for good three point shooting (40% from downtown last season) and a cool head under pressure. His best comparison would be what Rafer “Skip 2 My Lou” Alston, who did a stellar job backing up (and playing instead of) Jameer Nelson in 2009.

Shabazz Napier PG

6’1”, 175 lbs. 24 years old

The Magic acquired Shabazz Napier in what appeared to be a cash dump by the Miami Heat. A player most notably known for his college career at UConn, Napier did not impress many with his rookie season. After bouncing between the Heat and the D-League, his season ended early with a sports hernia surgery. He will be looking for a new start with Orlando but will likely be the third point guard behind Payton and Watson. He showed flashes of success in his limited playing time, so here’s to hoping his game improves this season.

Melvin Ejim is a rookie out of Iowa State that turned down guaranteed money and playing time in Europe for a chance to play for the Magic. Expect to see him start off in the D-League. Mario Hezonja (Croatia) and Tyler Harvey (Eastern Washington) were the team’s two draft picks in this year’s draft. Hezonja will make an immediate impact with his shooting and high energy. Harvey might start in the D-League, but don’t be surprised to see him get activated because he can shoot lights out.

There you go, your spoonful of basketball has been fed to you. You can go back to football now. Don’t look away too long though because the NBA is back next month!

Welcome, Melvin!

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melvin

Melvin Ejim (pronounced EDGE-um) has just been signed by the Orlando Magic on August 4 according to General Manager Rob Hennigan. How much do you know about this 24 year old small forward? I think it’s safe to say that you probably do not know much. Here is what I know about him:

Melvin was born in Toronto, Ontario and is of Nigerian-Canadian descent. Although he was born in Canada, he attended high school in two U.S. states; St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown, Maryland and the Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. In ESPN.com’s 2010 college recruiting class, he was ranked the 16th best small forward. At the Brewster Academy he averaged 12.3 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per game. He had a few notable teammates, including now-NBA forwards Thomas Robinson and C.J. Fair. Ejim chose to attend Iowa State University over Boston College, Butler, Providence, and UNLV.

Ejim became an instant star for the Cyclones, starting all but two games in his freshman season. He played four seasons there, racking up awards such as Big 12 Player of the Year, First-team All-Big 12, and First-team All-American. He averaged double-digits in scoring in all but one season and became the all-time leader in games played and started for the university.

Even with his highly polished collegiate repertoire, he proceeded to go undrafted in the 2014 NBA draft. He signed with the Italian basketball club Virtus Roma and averaged 7.7 points per game along with 6.3 rebounds in 29 league contests.

Standing at 6’6” and weighing 220 lbs, Ejim is quite similar in size to last year’s second round draft choice Devyn Marble. Both Marble and Ejim will be fighting for the third small forward slot behind Tobias Harris and Mario Hezonja. We might not see much of Marvin early in the season, but when we do we can expect to see a high-motor player that fights for boards when others are sleeping on the play. His dunking skills are definitely something to note, and I’m sure he’ll get some tips from his fellow high-flyers Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon. Melvin Ejim is another solid addition to this young roster and we welcome him to O-Town with open arms!

2015 NBA Draft Preview: Orlando Magic

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Willie Cauley-Stein? Or Kristaps Porzingis?

Willie Cauley-Stein? Or Kristaps Porzingis?

The NBA Finals may still be in progress, but the NBA Draft is rapidly approaching. In just nine days we will all be tuning in to ESPN to seeing who will be drafted with that fifth overall pick. Rumors are spreading like wildfire as to whom we should/shouldn’t take. All of this excitement motivated me to take a deeper look into the two players that seem to be the frontrunners for the Magic to draft.

First up we have Willie Cauley-Stein. A 7’ 1” rim protector from Kentucky could prove to be exactly what we need to improve our interior defense. Nikola Vučević, as we all know, struggles to protect the cup. Nik does not possess the sheer athleticism that Cauley-Stein would bring to the table. Having never averaged double digit points in his three years for the Wildcats, Cauely-Stein does not bring any offensive threat to the table. He has been compared to Dewayne Dedmon in styles of play; high energy, good defensively, poor offensively. That is my main concern with WC-S. The Magic has trouble spacing the floor with Vučević and Dedmon. Would we see the same issues arise if it was Cauley-Stein on the floor? Probably not, since Willie has better tools than Dedmon.

Keith’s Take: Seems like a safe pick to me. Scott Skiles has been known to shape up players in a rapid fashion, so this could be his first pupil as Orlando’s new head coach. He seems to fit the bill as what we need. One of our most popular offensive plays of last season was the screen and roll jumper from Vooch. Where was Channing Frye on the majority of those shots? On the perimeter. Cauley-Stein would need to be down low battling for that offensive put-back. Since he doesn’t have a very strong offensive game (he didn’t really need to with his supporting cast at Kentucky) he would have to dazzle the team with high energy play.

Latvian-born Kristaps Porzingis is probably the most intriguing player of the entire draft. Porzingis stands at 7’ 1” but has freaky athleticism. He has been dazzling the scouts so far. It’s not often that you will find someone so tall who has the ability to pick and pop so effectively. Alas, the largest downfall Kristaps has is the fact that he is just 220 pounds. At that size he would be abused by stronger big men in the paint. He also has other kinks in his game that most foreign players seem to have (adapting to a new environment, faster tempo of the game). Translating from European basketball to American basketball is quite tough (Just ask Ricky Rubio).

Keith’s Take: Drafting Kristaps is definitely more of a gamble. But in the long run, will he be the better player? He’s only 19 years old, but he has a list of things to improve on. He needs to add weight. He needs to be more aggressive. He needs to develop a post-game. The list goes on and on…but if he’s able to do all that, he would be virtually unstoppable.

When June 25th rolls around, Magic fans everywhere will be sitting on the edge of their seats. If both of these players are available, do we go the immediate production route with Willie Cauley-Stein? Or do we go with the project pick, the kid that could be better in the long run but won’t give you immediate impact?  Both have their ups and downs. That is what makes the draft so much fun though. It is so unpredictable! If I had to pick right now, I would go with Cauley-Stein. We don’t want another one of these…

Hi, I'm a bum.

Hi, I’m a bum.

This team needs to win, and they need to win now. Scott Skiles was hired for that reason. I believe with the addition of Cauley-Stein this team will win now. The next question is, do we keep Tobias Harris or let him walk? That’s for another day…

Feel free to contradict, correct, or praise my opinions. I welcome all feedback!