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Orlando Magic News for February 16th: Facing Reality; Tired Arguments That Pertain to Dwight Howard

  • Dwight Howard, Stan Van Gundy and the Orlando Magic's assistant coaches have returned to reality after the All-Star Game
    Josh Robbins notes that the Orlando Magic are ready to go back to work after All-Star weekend came and went.

    Forgive Dwight Howard, Stan Van Gundy and the Orlando Magic's assistant coaches if they suffered from a case of reverse culture shock late Monday afternoon.

    They spent Sunday night at the NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium, literally the biggest stage in basketball history. [...]

    Less than 16 hours later, Howard and the coaches stood on their practice court at RDV Sportsplex for a Magic team workout. You couldn't find a celebrity anywhere. The group that gathered to watch the practice consisted of Orlando General Manager Otis Smith, Assistant General Manager Dave Twardzik and a few others — not the 108,713 people who attended the exhibition on Sunday.
  • Orlando Magic notebook: The team prepares to make a second-half push
    Head coach Stan Van Gundy is coming to the stark realization that the top seed in the Eastern Conference may be out of reach.

    Van Gundy has done the arithmetic, and he thinks it will be difficult for the Magic to catch the Cleveland Cavaliers for the top playoff seed in the East. The Cavs lead the Magic by seven games.

    "To be honest, they'd really have to go into a little bit of a tailspin, because you're looking at having to make up one game every four," Van Gundy said. "If they even played .500, you'd have to go 21-7, and the chances of them only playing .500 are pretty slim."
  • Bill Simmons: 2010 NBA trade value column
    In his annual trade value column, ESPN's Bill Simmons picks up on the talking point that Dwight Howard is too nice for his own good. Though this aspect of his personality will stunt his development, Simmons says, there is at least one positive effect.

    If they [superstars] don't get enough touches, they get cranky. They stop running the floor. They stop setting good picks. They stop crashing the boards. Big guys are like women -- they need affection, they need to be stroked every so often, and if you ignore them, they start to resent you.

    In Howard's case, nobody in Orlando has to worry about keeping him happy. He's always happy! He's a good soldier.

    It's an interesting take on a tired argument, at least. Coach Stan Van Gundy put it best last year when he said, "How serious the guy is in a Sports Illustrated photo-shoot has an extremely minimal affect on our basketball team. Let's say none."

  • Denton: Otis Smith Interview Part II
    UPDATE: John Denton of conducts an interview with general manager Otis Smith. Lots of interesting answers, like this one:

    QUESTION: I know you don't like to tip your hand when it comes to personnel matters, but how actively are you working the phones the next three days before the NBA's trade deadline?

    OTIS SMITH: None. I like our team and unless something out there knocks my socks off and makes a lot of sense, I won't be doing it. I think you have to look into it, listen and do your due diligence, but really we like our team and like our chances.''

More after the jump.

  • NBA's true Superman
    Marc Stein weighs in on the tired debate over which NBA center is most deserving of the Superman moniker. Shaquille O'Neal has taken issue with Dwight Howard's re-appropriation of that nickname, and much of the debate has focused on those players. However, Stein offers a sneaky alternative.

  • Evaluating The Playoff Race At All-Star Break Through Four Factors: Eastern Conference
    Matt Moore uses a series of graphs to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of the playoff-contending teams in the Eastern Conference. The Magic come out looking pretty good in this analysis.

  • A Brief Break from Trade Reports: The 2010 Celtics Hub Non-Stars
    Zach Lowe of CelticsHub lists Vince Carter as one of the biggest disappointments this year.

  • Cavs Foolish to Pursue Stoudemire
    UPDATE 2: Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse thinks the Cleveland Cavaliers would be making a mistake by acquiring Amar'e Stoudemire and not Antawn Jamison.

    If the goal is to reach the NBA Finals for the much-anticipated date with the Lakers, it's not Stoudemire who would get them there. It's that other deal with Washington for Antawn Jamison that would make it happen.

    The Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard, defending Eastern Conference champs, probably would enjoy seeing Stoudemire in Cleveland, helping them clog the lane against LeBron James.

    What the Magic fear is Jamison and the way he would open up the court even more with his better outside shooting. His skill set would be ideal for the Cavs.
  • Van Gundy doesn’t see a matchup problem with Cleveland
    UPDATE 3: Van Gundy chimes in on the Cavs.

    [...] coach Stan Van Gundy was asked an interesting question following practice today.

    He was asked whether the Magic have the personnel to get past the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have beaten the Magic twice in two games this season.

    "I don’t think we have a real matchup problem," Van Gundy said. "I think we can put certain lineups out there. Any team in the playoffs is going to have areas where they create problems for you no matter what you do with your roster.

    "Hopefully, and I think we do, you’re going to create problems for other teams and you’re going to have to find ways, I guess, to exploit your advantage more than they can exploit theirs. But you’re never going to play a team where they don’t have an advantage somewhere."
  • Orlando Magic have 28 games left, with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers coming March 7.
    UPDATE 4: Brian Schmitz elaborates on the difficulty of the Magic's schedule the rest of the way.