On Tap: The Orlando Magic

Kurt —  February 28, 2006

Record: 20-35 (21-34 Pythagorean), 11th seed in the East
Record last 10 games: 1-9
Offensive Rating: 105.9 (19th in the league)
Defensive Rating: 109.4 (25th in the league)

Reaching Goals: Back on Feb. 9, I wrote that the Lakers had one of the softer parts of their schedule coming up for the next 10 games and this was the chance to solidify that playoff position and really start to make a run to the post season. I said they should go 7-3.

Their record so far, 3-4. Left is Orlando tonight, at Portland and at Golden State.

Laker news: Von Wafer has been sent down to Fort Worth of the D-League. This is good, he needs the playing time if he’s going to become and NBA level-player, and he’s not getting it up with the big club (nor should he).

I hope he works out, but it still leaves the question: What is it with Mitch K. and skinny shooting guards who don’t play defense? We get one every draft, it seems.

The Magic coming in: Orlando should be a good team — in 2008. They aren’t right now. They do have the best sophomore in the league in Dwight Howard, but he is not old enough to legally order a Jack and Coke, let alone carry this team.

After the big trade, they don’t have Stevie Franchise in the backcourt as a threat, but that was a smart trade for two reasons: 1) Orlando will have a lot of cap space after next season to build with; 2) Jameer Nelson is a good young point guard (a PER of 18.7, compared to say Smush at 13.0, where the league average is 15) and he should be given the keys to the car so he can learn.

Last time these two hooked up the Lakers won while Chris Mihm was 8 of 9 from the floor and looked like an All-Star. It helped that Howard twisted his ankle two minutes in and never returned to the floor, so Mihm was covered by Tony Battie (who is really a four). This time around he may also be covered by Darko Milicic, who has been a nice +4.5 (per 48 minutes) since coming to Florida. Watch out for Carlos Arroyo, who has torn it up since coming to town — shooting 57.8% (eFG%) and has a PER of 25.7 so far.

Keys to a Laker win: The Magic are 25th in the league in defensive efficiency, so the Lakers should be able to score plenty. The Magic are weakest defending the point and the four, so again this is a game Odom, Cook and Smush should back Kobe up with big games.

But scoring was really never the question. Orlando is 19th in the league in offense, which means the Lakers should — should — be able to keep them in check and win handily. The Lakers should get a little fat this Tuesday.

The problem is, when they win handily they seem to take the next game off. Still, I think we could all use an easy win before a couple of road games.

to On Tap: The Orlando Magic

  1. I’ll say this much. All the talk of the Laker’s problems, bad trades, etc. The Lakers problems were started when Shaq and Kobe were togther. Bad draft picks, and a heavily reliance on Shaq and Kobe. None of those players were adequate role players. Their deficiencies were well masked by the greatness of Kobe and Shaq. Shaq had to go because they’d couldn’t pay them both max. contracts. Had nothing to do with the “fued”. This was the right decision. But, they should have known a few years earlier what was going on and planned for that eventuality. I.e build a team around Kobe before Shaq leaves. Then when you have to trade him, trade him for the missing pieces, and don’t worry about equal value.


  2. good points paul, kind of reminds me of the story I heard about Jerry West making the trade of James Worthy for Hakeem Olijawan, and Dr. Buss nixed it, said he’d made a promise to James that he’d be a Laker for life. I heard west was so upset, he almost quit, saying that Buss was handicapping his ability to do his job. as it turned out, that would’ve been a great move, James’s legs were done the next year, and Hakeem played on, at an amazing level for at least 4 more years, and for part of that time, he’d of been the recipient of Magic’s passing…what a combo that would’ve been!!
    anyway, the point is, and I agree, that a GM has to be looking more than just this year or next year, gotta get a value for a player when it’s the right time for the team, sometimes even an unpopular move, like Scott for Nixon…sometimes it has to be done, even if it’s a bitter pill.


  3. i actually have to disagree. We had so-called “star players” on teams with Shaq and Kobe (Van Exel, Jones, Ceballos, Campbell, Rodman) and that was not what worked. You build teams to win, and what Shaquille needed was spot up three point shooters and good defenders (Horry, Fox and FIsher). Now the team has to rebuild around another player, Kobe, and the personel necessary to be successful is different. It takes time, especially if there is no direction, but i guarntee that the three-peat we so dearly enjoyed wouldnt have happened without the “marginal” role players who helped us


  4. Yes Kwame a., they did need to remake the team. But management has not done a good job, or as good as had been done, at getting quality players lower in the draft or bringing in good older free agents. Kareem Rush? While the pillars of Shaq and Kobe were there the support structure had crumbled badly. It got a short-term boost from the Malone/Payton year, but that just masked the problems.


  5. The Lakers problems were started when Shaq and Kobe were togther.

    There’s not a team in the league that wouldn’t take those problems.

    3 championship seasons… deep into the playoffs every season but one…

    Yeah, whenever you build around 2 superstars you’re going to have problems when one leaves.

    Actually, that’s 2 superstars who left– Shaq and West.


  6. kurt, there is no doubt that managment SUCKS, all i was saying is that the personel during the shaq kobe years was properly tailored to what worked with shaq on the floor. That doesnt excuse missing out on Josh Howard, Tony Parker, David West etc. as well as wasting mid-levels on Samaki, Vlade and McKie.


  7. pretty unimpressive. not really the lakers fault– hey, at least they tried. that was sure some pitiful defense that they had to conquer. and not much had to be done to stop them on the other end as well.

    this has got to be the easiest travel back-to-back a team can have. will they win both? haha. i have some hope, but i wouldn’t bet big.


  8. come on John.. A win is a win is a win…. I know we weren’t playing the pistons but I’ll take any win that we can get right now.. Lets hope that Ronny. T. Continues to get minutes and produce like he has been the past two games.


  9. As much as I love Ronny, the real bonus is that every minute he plays is another minute that Kwame sits!

    I almost like our PF rotation if it involves Cook, Turiaf & Kwame splitting equal time. Kwame even appears useful if he’s limited to under 20 minutes per game.

    Also, I was a bit surprised to see Cook start the third quarter … it seems that with our recent struggles to get energy coming out of the half that Ronny might be a good guy to play for a few minutes at the start of the third. Of course, as it turned out, that wasn’t necessary tonight.


  10. Jackson will never do this, but …. Start Turiaf!


  11. chris henderson March 1, 2006 at 10:31 am

    hey I told you guys…watch for Smush and Kwame to start hitting the Alley-oop, it’s a little inside thing they’re working on, might be good for once or twice a game now.
    I think Phil’s finding the “hustle guys’ now, for when the team starts looking flat and uninspired, bring in Ronnie, Devean and Sasha, because what these guys might lack in talent, they make up for with hustle and desire, and that was pretty obvious in our 3rd qtr last night. I think this helps in several ways, 1) those guys get minutes and thus more familiar with the offense, 2) gives guys like Kwame some time to either rest on the bench, or get super motivated that when they get back on the floor they’ll be charged up…and with Cook and Kobe, this could devlop into a nice second unit on the floor, Kobe and Cook have the deadly outside shot, Ronnie and Devean crashing the boards, and Sasha as a pesky defender. it would be nice to develop a rotation that keeps the pressure on so the Lakers are hustling for the full 48 minutes.
    Let’s hope that energy keeps up for tonights back to back, at least it’s against Portland, we should be able to get a W, and start believing in ourselves.


  12. It’s obvious Kwame plays alot harder when he either is coming off the bench and has to ‘fight’ for PT or when he’s about to get pulled out of the game. I LOVED when he called for the ball on Darko even though it got swatted, I was waiting for him to just posterize him, alas it did not come to pass but with all our emphasis on effort it was awesome to see that…

    Man I am in love with Turiaf, but my friend brought up an interesting point, how tired does he get just jumping around on the bench? Save that energy for the court big guy! Not to mention the people sititng behind him can’t see! lol…

    I flipped back and forth with the game after the 1st when you could tell what kind of game it was going to be with Super Size Me..any of you guys see that? I don’t think I can eat a non-vegetable ever again..


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