Elfrid makes Zach Lowe's bad list


8. Elfrid Payton's wild gambles A frustrating exercise: figuring out why the Magic have sunk like a stone on defense -- even before this recent wave of injuries -- after a promising start. It can't all be the absence (until this week) of Jonathan Isaac. The dude is a rookie who has logged just 255 minutes. They don't have any blatantly lazy, comatose defenders. Even Nikola Vucevic has improved his rim protection, though only when he plays at top intensity. Vucevic at even 85 percent effort transforms into a liability, fast. They don't foul, allow an alarming number of offensive boards, or hemorrhage points in transition. Only 29.8 percent of opponent shots have come from deep, second-lowest in the league. This might be a case of several so-so defenders adding up to something less than so-so -- and something much worse on bad, low-effort nights. Offenses have a foot or so of extra breathing room -- wider openings for pocket passes, longer runways for guards. They are comfortable. One culprit: Elfrid Payton just kind of roams around doing whatever the hell he wants. Payton has the length and athleticism to be a help-and-recover menace. Still: It is really hard to play free safety in the NBA. You have to think one step ahead of the offense -- to know playbooks and individual tendencies so well that when you gamble, you are almost counting cards. Payton isn't doing this. He floats without any clear aim. He chases birds, losing focus on both the ball and his man. He'd be better off staying attached.

Gordon #9 in ESPN weekly player ratings


After a two-week regression to the mean from beyond the 3-point line (25 percent over an eight-game stretch) following a scorching start, Gordon once again found his downtown magic, connecting on 16 of 36 in four games. The highlight of the 22-year-old’s week came in Wednesday’s win over the Thunder, during which he erupted for 40 points, 15 rebounds, 6 made 3s, 4 assists and 4 steals. He was the best player on the floor in a game featuring Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Gordon is now the only player with multiple 40-point, 10-rebound games this season.

Fournier 6th in week 2 NBA player rankings


6. Evan Fournier Avg. game score: 22.0 25.3 PPG 64.3 FG% 8-13 3s Among players to start at least five games at small forward, the only player currently averaging more PPG than Evan Fournier is Kevin Durant. He’s dominating his counterparts, as Fournier has outscored the opposing small forward in five of his six games thus far. Fournier chipped in more than 25 PPG on 64 percent shooting last week and is the leading scorer on an Orlando team that ranks behind only the Warriors in points per game and offensive efficiency at this very early stage.

Magic most surprising in 1st week


What team are you most surprised by? Ryan: The Magic! They’re 3-1 with the sixth-best point differential in the league, and that’s without having played the Suns (I see you, Clippers). (They have played the Nets twice, though,) Aaron Gordon is the Al Pacino of the Small Sample Size, with a 30.8 PER and a newfound long-distance shot, while Evan Fournier is single-handedly putting Elfrid Payton on the trade block. This team went from young and restless to old and competent. The latter probably has a lower ceiling than the former, but in the short term, the Magic look more stable than many of the teams that came into the season with greater expectations.

DraftExpress is indeed the best draft site


Jonathan Givony‏Verified account @DraftExpress 10/10 to start. 25/30 1st rounders pegged. 56/60 drafted players forecasted. Very happy with how 2017 NBA Draft turned out. Time for a beer.

Jonathan Givony‏Verified account @DraftExpress

Magic to w/o former Kentucky wing Darius Miller


David Pick‏ @IAmDPick 22h22 hours ago Source: Orlando Magic are bringing in forward Darius Miller for workouts, while Barcelona is poised to sign the Euroleague star. 7 replies 70 retweets 88 likes


So what is the truth about the past?

I really hate going back with it. There were a lot of different things that happened in Orlando that people never talked about. Before the season even started during the lockout, I asked them privately, I even talked to [teammate] Jameer [Nelson] and [then-general manager] Otis [Smith] and I said, ‘Hey, I just want a change in my life. It has nothing to do with [then-coach] Stan Van Gundy. This has nothing to do with the players here in Orlando. It has nothing to do with Orlando itself.’ I just felt I was too comfortable and I wanted more for myself and more for basketball.

It had nothing to do with the team. They said they were going to try to move me. I thought it was going to happen. They came in and said, ‘We’re going to trade you.’ They shook my hand and said, ‘God bless you. You were here for eight years and you did a great job.’ They asked me to go shake my teammates’ hands. I went and shook their hands and told them that the team was going to trade me. I woke up the next day and they said, ‘We’re not going to trade you.’

This was right after the [2011 NBA] lockout. I was supposed to get traded right before training camp. I had asked them to trade me to Brooklyn and I thought that was going to happen. They decided they weren’t going to trade me and that was when all hell broke loose. People said I was doing this in the locker room, doing that. But I’ve never been that kind of guy. I told my agent, ‘Listen, they want me here, so I will just stay here until the end of the season and I’ll make a decision after that. Let’s not fight it. Let’s not go back and forth. Let’s not talk about it.’

And we did that. But every day in the media it was a different story. I was the type of person where I’m not going to focus on what is being said. I’m going to focus on winning and trying to win for this team while I’m here.

So basically, the Magic didn’t keep their promise of trading you?

There was just a lot of things going on behind closed doors. I just felt bad because I felt like they were trying to pin me against [Orlando]. Don’t put me against these people if I’m out in the community every day fighting for them, trying to build. But that’s what ended up happening. I loved every part of Orlando. I was always out and my goal was to try to reach every kid there.

I got to change that city. Change the way they viewed basketball. Change the way they viewed basketball players. That was my goal. I felt like when I was there I did that. Jameer, Hedo [Turkoglu] and all these guys, we were all a part of that. So when all that stuff went down, it kind of hurt me.

Do you hope to get your jersey retired in Orlando one day?

A lot of great things happened in Orlando while I was there despite them being upset about how the situation ended. Those years before that, the Magic went from the team that everyone laughed about to a team that everyone took seriously. It wasn’t just, ‘We’re going to Orlando to go to Disney World and chill.’ It was, ‘No, we got to stay here because we have a battle coming.’

Howard's story more or less corroborates what Redick and Otis have said in the past. Management told Howard in November 2011 they were trading him to New Jersey and told him to say goodbye to all his teammates, then didn't trade him. Still no word on who got cold feet in the 11th hour

For posterity, the original framework deal discussed at that time was two first round picks and Brook Lopez in exchange for Howard and Turkoglu

Terrence Jones waived, magic sign


Scott Kushner Scott Kushner @ScottDKushner Source: Terrence Jones being waived by #Pelicans (@Justin Verrier). Expect Pels to add a guard.

Half the Magic wins have happened when EP scores 18 or more points


Seems when Elfrid Payton is offensively aggressive, our team does very well. When Elfrid Payton scores 18 or more points, the Magic win/loss record is 7-1. When he scores 20 or more points, the Magic are 5-0. This stat nugget of gold is definitely worth watching closely as the Magic continue to push for playoff seeding this year.

Finals or Bust

Good Question


Mika Honkasalo ‏@mhonkasalo 3h3 hours ago Why is Jeff Green starting?!? Magic are -17.7 per 100 possessions with him on the floor. Green's defense is comically bad