Henry Abbott of TrueHoop has an update on the long-raging debate about whether or not teams who are up three and in the penalty should intentionally foul their opponent late in the game. It's an issue of particular importance to Magic fans, who watched in horror as Orlando elected not to foul the Los Angeles Lakers in such a situation in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, which Derek Fisher sent into overtime with an open three-ball over the Magic's Jameer Nelson; the Lakers went on to win that game and, two nights later, the championship.
Jon Nichols of Basketball-Statistics.com attempts to create a new metric to measure players' efficiency per shot-attempt-type, normalized for position. Using a Magic-related example, he explains why he wanted to evaluate shooting in this way:
Let’s say Shaquille O’Neal rates better than Rashard Lewis in Player Rating System X. The Magic should try to swap Lewis for Shaq, then, right? Obviously not. Orlando needs a big man (calling Lewis "big" is a stretch, but go along with it for now) that can stretch the floor and give space for Dwight Howard down low. Suddenly, we’re doing so much contextual research for Player Rating System X that the player rating itself isn’t that useful anymore.
Yesterday, we linked to Sean Deveney's NBA team rankings at The Sporting News, where he rated the Magic 8th, directly behind the Washington Wizards. Today, Marc Stein of ESPN posted his pre-camp power rankings, which are a bit more reasonable. He places the Magic 2nd, just behind the Lakers, and explains why:
Since '89, only one team that lost in the Finals won it all the following year: last season's Lakers. So I respect/applaud Orlando's overhaul/big spending, even though I always saw Hedo [Turkoglu] as the Magic's linchpin.
It escaped my notice at the time, but a few days ago, Khandor continued his game-by-game preview of the Toronto Raptors' season with this look at their game against the Magic on November 1st. He predicts Toronto will pick up its first win of the 2009 season in this contest because...
With the support of a typically raucous home crowd, the off day in-between road games for Orlando [whose players will be spending Saturday evening experiencing the nightlife in T.O.], and this being Hedo Turkoglu’s first home game in his new digs vs the squad that declined the opportunity to pay him the $$$ he felt he deserved this summer, as an important UFA for a team that advanced to the NBA Finals last season … the Raptors should be able to win this match-up. If not … it might be a really long year ahead for the Dinos.
He goes on to explain that the Raptors will be in trouble in this game, however, if the Magic come into it with a 2-0 record and if Vince Carter, the reviled former Raptor, is suitably hyped for the occasion.
J.J. Redick answers fan questions in his latest blog post. A sample:
Q: College Basketball or NBA... whos got the better fans?
JJ: With no disrespect to our Orlando Magic fans (who were absolutely fantastic in the playoffs last year), I’d have to say from my experience that overall college basketball fans are louder and more passionate. And let’s be honest here, Duke fans are the BEST fans in the world.