Slow news day yesterday. That wasn't the case today. Let's get to it.
- Via TrueHoop's Thursday Bullets: John Hollinger's new Playoff Predictor projects that the Magic's final record will be 60-22, that the Magic have a 100% chance of making the playoffs, a 100% chance of winning the division, a 17.6% chance of capturing the East's no. 1 seed, a 23% chance of winning the East finals, and a 14.6% chance of winning the NBA title. Holy crap!
- Carter Blanchard of FreeDarko pardons the Magic for the Lewis signing:
While Orlando paid way more than they should have had to, and the $23m owed in 2012 is going to hurt, what is relevancy in the NBA for the next half decade actually worth? Rashard for that team is the difference between sneaking into the playoffs and making perennial runs at the Finals. Couple that with the fact there was no other option available that would have provided this kind of boost and it seems clear that the initial consensus of the signing needs some reevaluating. But my guess is that even if the Magic can sustain this early success, Rashard will continue to fail to live up to the burden of his contract.
Overpaid players can win you games just as easily as underpaid players can lose 'em (see: Parker, Smush). Rashard Lewis might never deserve his $110 million, but when all's said and done, he'll have been worth it.
- Brian Schmitz has this news roundup in today's Sentinel. Clearly, the best news is that Carlos Arroyo's ill daughter is feeling better, which allowed Carlos to rejoin the team at practice yesterday.
- From Schmitz's blog:
Unless Dwight Howard catches a Grant Hill curse or other players wind up getting fitted for walking casts, the Magic should post their best record since the 1995-96 season.
That year the Magic, with Shaq and Penny, wound up a franchise-best 60-22. Orlando won 57 games the season before that.
The franchise's top record since Shaq left in 1996 is 45-37, posted by the 1996-97 team that still had Penny, Nick, Dennis and Horace on the roster.
Look at it like this: The Magic are 16-4 and if they go 31-31 the rest of the way, they'll have 47 wins.