Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel conducted this interview with Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith regarding the myriad changes the club has made this offseason. Six players who were members of the roster that made it to the NBA Finals last season--Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, Courtney Lee, Tyronn Lue, Jeremy Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu--have moved on, while five new players--Ryan Anderson, Matt Barnes, Brandon Bass, Vince Carter, and Jason Williams, have come aboard. The whole interview is well worth reading, but these portions in particular stood out to me (brackets Schmitz's):
Q: You've been a 3-point shooting club that was hurt by the Lakers' size and length in the Finals. Have the changes made you a sounder playoff team?
A: We're more versatile in that we can play different ways. We couldn't really play big and strong, but I think Brandon [Bass] gives us a different look. Ryan [Anderson] gives us a different look. What we'll look like is a totally different team at different times.
It's not the same team , but we're always going to play similar because Dwight [Howard] is still our big guy in the middle. He still draws double teams and we'll still encourage guys to take the 3.
Bass is a traditional power forward who is nonetheless an upgrade over Tony Battie, who manned that position last year. The addition of Anderson, and his three-point range, gives the Magic the floor-spreading reserve power forward they hoped Brian Cook would have been; they wound up unloading the underachieving Cook in the three-team trade which netted them Rafer Alston at last year's trading deadline. Anderson is, however, more than a three-point specialist, with a fairly sophisticated offensive repertoire, one that might eventually rival Rashard Lewis'. He might be the Magic's most intriguing addition, given his age (21) and skill-set.
Q: Other than an all-star resume, what does Carter give you that Turk did not?
A: I thought my core guys needed to be able to walk into a gym and see Vince Carter shooting at the other end and say, 'Now we got help. Now we got a guy who can do it.' I thought that was as big for their psyches as anything else.
This sentiment echoes one Stan Van Gundy made at Carter's introductory press conference about proving to the players management's commitment to winning.
After the jump, more excerpts and commentary from Schmitz's interview.
Q: You have your core group with Dwight, Rashard and a now healthy Jameer Nelson. You also, surprisingly, decided that Gortat would be part of that group, even though he hardly plays behind Dwight. Don't you at some point trade Gortat for another piece to get out from under his contract?
A: I know maybe on paper, and in theory, it makes sense. That's the history of the league, but we're trying to build a championship team and March is part of that. You'd only trade him because you're looking to get better or you have a need; you don't trade him because you are looking to get out from under the money.
We think with Marcin it's like, 'Break glass in case of emergency.' We didn't know if we needed a Rafer Alston last year, but we had a need [after Nelson's injury] and we were able to fill a need [with a trade].
Magic fans have speculated all summer about Gortat's future with the team. He'll be a great trade chip eventually, but his base-year-compensation status will make him difficult to deal this season. However, it certainly sounds like Otis isn't opposed to moving him for the right package.
Q: Lewis will miss the first 10 games because of his suspension. How will that affect a team trying to put together new pieces?
A: I think it's a blessing. Sometimes there's a silver lining. You get to see guys play extended minutes who normally would not.
Is there any doubt he's referring to Anderson in this instance?