Schedule highlights for the 2009-10 NBA season
Chris Sheridan of ESPN.com rummages through the 2009-2010 NBA schedule and points out the marquee matchups. Click on the link to see what he what he had to say about the Orlando Magic, who make a ton of appearances on the list.
Nov. 1: Orlando at Toronto
Hedo Turkoglu's old teammates will get an up-close look at why he spurned Portland to sign in a more international city. The 1 p.m. local time tipoff means the game will be on in prime time in Turkey, where the folks can listen to their expatriate brethren in Canada go nuts for the Raptors' new small forward. (Interestingly, the teams play another Sunday matinee at the Air Canada Centre on Nov. 22 and finish their season series Jan. 6.)
Five Must-See Games for the 2009-10 Season
Sean Deveney of The Baseline lists five must-see NBA games for the 2009-2010 regular season. Orlando makes the cut.
3. Lakers at Orlando. Jan. 18.
Yes, Orlando was the other team in the NBA Finals last year -- it seems the schedule-makers overlooked that fact. Though the Magic were dispatched in five games in that series, don’t forget that their 3-point shooting prowess, the quickness of Jameer Nelson and the presence of Dwight Howard inside gave L.A. trouble during the regular season, when Orlando won both games. Howard certainly had his struggles in the Finals. If he wants to show that he has grown and improved, now would be a very good opportunity to do so.
Why Smart GMs Do Stupid Things
Steve Walters writes a guest column for The Wages of Wins Journal about the role of the general manager in sports. A must-read. Here's an excerpt:
In my experience, a GM’s failure to stroke a club’s bureaucracy or the media (some of whom are not above swapping favorable mention in print or on air for access to news) can be fatal to a career, despite his team’s record or its bottom-line. Being well-liked by all and sundry, on the other hand, can lead to multiple opportunities to screw up a franchise. Again, part of this goes back to observation #1 and the info problem faced by owners: If it’s hard to judge someone’s underlying ability as an exec, it seems rational to factor in how well-liked he is by those he’s worked with. In MoneyBall parlance, though, this is like drafting a prospect who "looks good in jeans" but might not be able to actually play the game.
In sum, despite the competitiveness of this labor market, there’s ample reason to believe that Frank Costanza had a point. So if the front office of your favorite team seems dysfunctional and inefficient, maybe that’s because it is.
Dwight Howard: "Losing in the Finals helped us"
UPDATE: Tania Ganguli speaks with Dwight Howard during his basketball camp at UCF, today, and gathers a number of quotes from Superman.
"I had a chance to talk with J.J. [Redick] a little bit; he said he thought it was a blessing in disguise," Howard said. "Losing is not good, but sometimes it helps you. And I think by us losing, it hurts. ... It really just helped us to understand that we gotta push ourselves to the next level.
"It’s not a good thing to lose in the Finals but I think just the lesson that we learned I think it’s the maturity that counts. Now we understand what we have to do as a team and as individuals. Everybody’s been in the gym trying to get better." [...]
He has two trainers go with him everywhere he goes. One specializes in basketball and another specializes in weight training. (Howard mentioned his trainers and his work ethic in order to assure everybody that despite his many exploits this season, he still puts basketball first)
Howard thinks that drive has made a lot of his teammates better this offseason. He also thinks the acquisitions the Magic have made with Matt Barnes and Brandon Bass will give the team a little more "beef."
"Everybody’s always talked about our team not being tough and physical," Howard said. "I think [Barnes and Bass] just made our team look a little bit more grimacing. You look at Dwight Howard, you don’t see a grimace you see a smile. Now you look at those guys and say oh they got some beef.
"I think it’s more about having heart. That’s what counts. Toughest guy if they don’t have any heart they won’t succeed."
Dwight Howard Keeps Focus Despite Whirlwind Summer
UPDATE 2: Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse has more from 'Black Magic'.