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Orlando Magic News for August 21st: the Magic Lead the NBA's Three-Point Revolution, Stan Van Gundy Continues to Play the Underdog Card, and More

  • With Magic leading way, 3s become recipe for success
    John Schuhmann of writes about NBA teams' increased use of the three-point shot, its correlation with success, and how the Magic could break even more three-point shooting records this season despite turning over their roster:

    As many 3-pointers as the Magic shot last season, they weren't totally dependent on it. They got to the line quite a bit, ranking fourth in the league with 30.4 free throw attempts per 100 possessions. And they were the best defensive team in the regular season, allowing just 103.6 points per 100 possessions. Ironically, they ranked second in defending 3-pointers, with opponents shooting just 34.2 percent.

  • Stop it, Stan. Now.
    Zach Lowe of Celtics Hub has had it up to here with Stan Van Gundy's insistence that his Magic don't get enough respect. And lest you think Zach is just another bitter Celtics fan, let me mention that he was among the few bloggers (of any team affiliation) to give the Magic their due this season. In other words, he's not a hater.

    I want to like Stan Van Gundy, and I think I’m a semi even-keeled sports fan who (usually) steers clear of blind hate and remote-throwing rage. But, I swear, Stan Van Gundy really needs to stop playing the "nobody respects us" card, because it’s pathetic, nobody is buying it and it’s not even true.

  • Contenders' fates tied to familiar faces, not new ones
    More from Schuhmann, who believes that the Magic's success hinges upon Dwight Howard's ability to improve, and not on the team's numerous new players.

    Still, the Magic can't take the next step until Dwight Howard does. He's the best center in the game, but Howard must refine his offensive repertoire by further developing his post moves and adding a reliable face-up jumper.

  • Magic Slighted Again, Falling To Third Option in East
    Tim Povtak of AOL FanHouse has a few quotes from Stan, and writes that the Magic might find themselves in the East's third playoff seed for the third consecutive year.

  • Why Rashard Lewis's suspension could cost the Magic a championship
    Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel goes a bit further than Povtak does, saying the Magic might struggle out of the gate without Rashard Lewis (who will sit out ten games for a testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance), and the ensuing loss of home court advantage in the playoffs could end their title hopes.

    Ten games could mean the difference between a top seed and a third or even fourth seed, depending on how close the East is this year. That's the difference between breezing through the first two rounds as the Cavaliers did last year, and hitting some snags.

  • No Really, Gortat Is For The People
    Bethlehem Shoals, also of FreeDarko, analyzes a new video of Magic backup center Marcin Gortat:

    Marcin Gortat is known in this country as an effective backup center with a shiny head and giant nose. But in Poland, land of his birth, Gortat isn't just a shining example of exported goods and services, or even a sparkling national hero. He's a man of the people. A legend in the streets.

  • Jameer Nelson, Home Runs and Leadership
    Henry Abbott of TrueHoop writes about Jameer Nelson's annual Building Magic team-building event, wondering why more players don't try to rally their teams in the same way over the summer.

    "Given what has happened in Orlando, the stability and teamwork they've had since Jameer has been doing this, you'd think every team would be interested in empowering a player to bring people together in the summer like this," says David Thorpe. "I'm not seeing it, though."

    NBA players aren't paid to work in the off-season, and teams can't compel them to do much of anything they don't want to do. So it's not a simple case of requiring players to show up. But enticing them, as Nelson has done, seems worthwhile.

  • Your Second-Favorite Team
    In a survey of his network of bloggers, Abbott discovers who the most popular "backup teams" (the "team you kind of keep an eye on") in the NBA are. For me, it's the Pacers, largely because I grew up admiring this man. Interestingly, nobody chose the Magic.

  • Finally, here's a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Nike's "Hyperizers" music video, which features Lewis:

Have a good weekend, y'all.