Bruce Maddox - Orlando Pinstriped Post
Orlando Pinstriped Post presents coverage of Orlando Magic Media Day.
The Orlando Magic accomplished one of their long-term goals this summer when they signed veteran point guard Chris Duhon, stabilizing their backup point guard position. The 28-year-old took part in his first Media Day in Magic pinstripes today and seemed to enjoy the experience. He's finally playing for a winning team, which he described as "different," for one. When asked to assess the team from the inside, he said, "This is a team that's very close. They hold everybody accountable." He also said this team is the first he's been on "where, before Labor Day, everyone is here working out."
Also unique to the Magic, as far as Duhon is concerned, is the expectation that everyone has a well-defined role. "I've never been on a team where you've been asked to describe what your role on the team is, and then you have your teammates', instead of the coaches', input on what you need to add or not add [to your game]." A bit later, he said his role is "to defend really well and get the ball to the right guy at the right time." The tone of questioning is different here than in New York, where Duhon played last. "You guys are a lot nicer," he told reporters.
Duhon's personal goal in training camp is to learn the system. "I gotta learn the calls and understand how guys play, where they're successful," he said, while adding that consistent shooting is another priority. On a team level, he said toughness, both physical and mental, is a point of emphasis, because "it was brought more to light [in the playoffs] that that's what they lacked." He said "[coming] together as a unit" to overcome a challenge is the particular brand of toughness with which Orlando will play this season.
While he does need to familiarize himself with the team's schemes on both side of the ball, he won't have to worry about learning J.J. Redick's game. Duhon and Redick played together for two years at Duke University. "I understand his strengths and weaknesses, so he's easy. We already have a great relationship," Duhon said. Redick was complimentary of Duhon, with whom he'll likely share plenty of minutes this season as the team's second backcourt, saying he "is a guy who makes other guys look good."
Duhon's calling card is defense, and agreed that rules changes in recent years have made defending opposing point guards difficult. "The main thing I do," he said in describing his approach on defense, "is I just keep my man in front [of me]," which he said is important because "it keeps pressure off" his teammates.
Though he has yet to play a game with the Magic, Duhon has already riled some Orlando fans with his decision to wear uniform number 25, which fan-favorite Nick Anderson, still the all-time team leader in several statistical categories, wore during his tenure here; even Orlando Sentinel beat writer Brian Schmitz believes Duhon should pick a new number. Duhon said he did not realize how important 25 is to the community until the backlash after he selected it. Ever the diplomat, Duhon said he considers wearing Anderson's former number "a privilege."