Stats Trump Winning in Clipperland
Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse reports that the Orlando Magic may be interested in signing point guard Steve Blake this summer as a free agent. What's more certain is that Drew Gooden, Blake's L.A. Clippers teammate and fellow free-agent-to-be, wants to sign with Orlando this summer, having played there for one-plus seasons early in his career.
"I would love to come back and play in Orlando. I wanted to come back last summer,'' Gooden said. "But we'll just have to see what happens. This is a business, and nothing is guaranteed.''
Povtak says the Magic were interested in Gooden last summer but ultimately decided to sign Brandon Bass instead.
Magic are better than last year, yes
Brian Schmitz has another personnel note, writing that we should "look for the Magic to take a point guard in the draft," and that they might be willing to trade up.
JJ Redick Q + A
Randy Zellea of SLAM chats with J.J. Redick. Here's Redick on finding his niche in the NBA:
I think there is 420-450 jobs available and there is probably twice that many players who can play in the NBA. So the guys who stick with it find good situations and really work. There are guys Like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard that are naturally unbelievable. But for a lot of guys, you have to set yourself apart by your work ethic and what you can contribute.
- NBA TV analyst Kevin McHale discusses Magic forward Matt Barnes' defense on Bryant on Sunday:
"I love seeing a guy with the grapes to walk up to a guy and say 'bring your best game.' I like when people say they are going to stop Kobe. No one is going to stop Kobe. But do you make him take a lot of shots? I like the fact that Matt Barnes didn’t back up one inch and that he stood nose to nose with him. Kobe is not backing up either because he is a competitor. I like that; I think that is great for the league. I wish there was more of that."
J.J. Redick, 'mathematicsized
Trey Kirby breaks down Redick's looks.
Orlando Magic notebook
Josh Robbins has Gooden's thoughts on Amway Arena:
"Out of all the arenas, I could close my eyes and walk in here and just smell and tell you that I'm in Orlando, because this arena has a certain type of atmosphere to it and a certain type of aroma," Gooden said.
Dwight Howard Impossible to Gameplan For
UPDATE 1 (from Eddy): Zachariah Blott of Empty the Bench writes one of the best articles I've ever read about Dwight Howard. You'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't give this write-up your attention. Please do so.
Rare is the player who opposing coaches have to consider and plan around because of both parts of their game. Dwight Howard pops out as the most complete WTF-do-we-do-about-that-guy player in the league. Not only is he far and away the most intimidating defender, altering and discouraging just about everything inside of 15 feet, his capabilities define how the Magic’s offensive scheme works to a degree that only Steve Nash’s relation to the Suns’ fast break can compare.
Alston Explains Unexplained Exit From Heat
UPDATE 2 (from Eddy): Joanne C. Gerstner of Off the Dribble shares some disheartening news from former Magic player Rafer Alston.
Alston, recently relegated to the end of the bench because of ice-cold shooting, left the team last Friday without giving the front office an explanation. The team suspended him Sunday, after he was a no-show and cut off communications according to The Miami Herald.
Alston told ESPN Tuesday that his exit was prompted by his twin sister, Racine, attempting suicide. And he doesn’t know when – or if – he will return to basketball.