John Denton writes that Dwight Howard and his Orlando Magic teammates are unhappy the national media have overlooked them as championship contenders:
Even though Orlando won 52 games last season and possesses one of the game's great players in center Dwight Howard, the Magic are not being looked at as championship material by most. All 10 of ESPN.com's NBA analysts picked the Magic to repeat as Southeast Division champions, but finish no higher than fourth in the Eastern Conference. And none of them had much faith in the Magic making much noise come playoff time against the likes of Boston, Detroit and Cleveland.
Undoubtedly that comes as harsh news to a Magic team that has quietly printed up T-shirts that read "2008-09 NBA CHAMPIONS," to serve as motivation for a season that already has a distinct Finals-or-bust mentality.
Championship t-shirts already? Yikes. I like the attitude, though. There's no reason why people should write-off the Magic.
To that end, I've decided to keep track of the various preseason predictions some outlets have made regarding the Magic. Here's the link to the special Third Quarter Collapse feature page.
Paul Lukas of Uni Watch gives us his NBA season preview. He seems to have warmed up to the Magic's new uniforms. He also notes that each team that plays on Christmas Day, as the Magic will, is slated to wear a special patch. Cool.
Brian Schmitz lists his Top-10 All-Time Magic players. The overall selection is right, but the ordering is off, in my opinion. Darrell Armstrong should be higher than 10th, and as much as I love Dennis Scott, he shouldn't be 7th. But those are minor quibbles.
That's all. In case you missed it, check out this photo of Rashard Lewis wearing Horace Grant's goggles, and a 1995 NBA Finals hat, as part of the Orlando Sentinel's "Meet the Magic" photo gallery. Great work, Gary W. Green and co. Fantastic photographs.