Magic face a brutal January
Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel analyzes the Orlando Magic's difficult schedule in the month ahead.
The Magic will learn a lot about themselves in the month of January.
The team faces a brutal stretch of back-to-back games this month and a West Coast road trip that could be their toughest all season.
It began with the first two days of the year when the Magic faced Minnesota and Chicago. They’ll have five more this month for six in January — more than any other month all season.
Vince Carter participates in all of Monday’s practice in Indianapolis — will play Tuesday night vs. Indiana
In shorter-term news, Josh Robbins reports that Magic guard Vince Carter, who sprained his left ankle in Orlando's loss in Chicago Saturday night, went through a full practice today and will start tomorrow night in Indianapolis.
The workout lasted about two and a half hours, and coach Stan Van Gundy reported that Carter looked good.
"He looked fine today," Van Gundy said. "There wasn’t anything noticeable in terms of his inability to move or he was limping or anything like that. There was none of that."
Coolest Mind Flow: DEAR STAN VAN GUNDY....PLEASE PLAY BRANDON BASS!
Over the weekend, a Magic fan named Chevy wrote this plea for Van Gundy to give Brandon Bass more playing time. Bass has recorded 11 DNP-Coach's Decisions this season, which ties him with third-string point guard Anthony Johnson for the most on the team.
No doubt Stan is a great coach but at this current time Brandon Bass has done NO HARM in that line-up as the Magic continue to give up a great amount of offensive rebounds and points in the paint!
I addressed some of Chevy's concerns via Twitter, with mixed results. The fact is that the Magic are worse offensively and defensively with Bass on the floor. Additionally, he's the worst defensive rebounder in Orlando's frontcourt, pulling down 10.9% of available defensive boards this season. Ryan Anderson (15.2%) and Rashard Lewis (14.7%) are better equipped to address Orlando's recent problems in yielding offensive rebounds than Bass is. The fact that they spread the floor with three-point shooting on offense makes them that much more appealing. Bass is useful as a low-post scoring threat against undersized teams, but he's far from the defense and rebounding specialist that his reputation might suggest.
Barnes making a mission of an NBA life on the move
UPDATE (this bullet only): Steve Aschburner of NBA.com profiles Magic small forward Matt Barnes, whom Van Gundy placed in the starting lineup last week in order to provide more energy.
"There are those guys who bounce around," Van Gundy shrugged. "Everybody's got different skills. Once you get past the 'max' guys, everybody's just looking for guys who fit their team. I'm just glad he was available."
He wasn't supposed to be. Barnes thought he had found more lasting homes in both Golden State and Phoenix -- he even bought a house in Arizona. Now he's optimistic again with a two-year contract worth a reported $3.2 million and the second year at his option for a change.
The Decade's Best (and Worst)
Magic center Dwight Howard bested all NBA players in rebounding average in the aughts, pulling down 12.6 boards per game.
Film Session: The Pick & Roll In The NBA
Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook put together this video showing the different ways the pick-and-roll is used in today's NBA. As Jonathan Abrams wrote last November, it's a staple of Orlando's offense.