Monday, March 23, 2009

Familiar faces may come back to threaten us in the playoffs

The Magic have all but locked up the 3rd seed in the playoffs this year, with a chance they may steal the 2nd seed from the Celtics down the stretch. Seeds 6-8 are an entirely different story, with nearly 6 teams battling it out for their respective spots. Let's take a look at how some of these teams are linked back to the Magic, and how much of a threat they really are.

Miami Heat: We all know the connection here, Stan Van Gundy. The one time coach of the Heat, SVG "resigned" after nearly leading the team to the NBA Finals. One player that he coached up and put the team on his shoulders, was Dwyane Wade. Wade had an amazing playoff run as a rookie, hitting the game winning shot in the 1st round of the series against the Hornets. Wade seems to always turn it up a notch while playing against his former coach, as evidenced by dropping a combined 110 pts (36.6ppg) in 3 games this year.

Threat Level:

Philadelphia: Currently the 6th seed and set to play us if the playoffs started today, the Sixers wouldn't appear to have any Magic ties at first glance. However, if you look closely, you will see one name on the roster that was linked to the Magic last June. Forward Marreese Speights was said to be targeted with the 22nd pick, as the Magic brought him in for workouts with 4 other forwards. Many fans were mixed about the idea of drafting Speights, who was known for having a lack of work ethic and heart. The rookie is currently averaging 7.8 ppg and 3.8 rpg, which are promising numbers for coming off the bench playing under 20mpg.
Threat Level:

Detroit Pistons: Despite having a mental stronghold, the Pistons actually have a player on their team the Magic could have had. Guard Rodney Stuckey was drafted by the Pistons using the pick they acquired from the Magic in the Arroyo/Milicic/Cato trade. In his rookie year, he averaged 7.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg, and 2.8 apg, numbers which Magic fans would have loved to see him put up as their backup PG. The rookie also came through big in the playoffs against the Magic, starting 2 games, and helping win both of them to eliminate the Magic in the 2nd round.

Threat Level:

Chicago Bulls: While this team doesn't have any specific former Magic player on their team, they do still have alot of history with the current Magic squad, and teams of the past. The young Magic team of 94-95 actually beat the Bulls to advance to the ECF, eventually winning that series as well before losing in the Finals that year. Also, who doesn't remember "the steal"? The next year, the Bulls got their revenge, sweeping the Magic in the conference finals, and winning the NBA title. Most recently, the Magic have been taking care of the Bulls rather easily, though the Bulls did manage to score a blowout victory due to an embarrassing effort by the Magic in February. Will the Bulls have revenge on their minds if we meet them in the playoffs? I'd bet yes.
Threat Level:

Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats have a chance to make the playoffs for the first time in team history this year due to an improved roster by trades, and the arrival of coach Larry Brown. One thing that has shaped this team was back in 2004, when they drafted Emeka Okafor. With the 1st pick in the draft, the Magic took a chance on a raw, but talented high school prospect named Dwight Howard. You may have heard of him. Passing on what was a sure thing from UCONN, the Bobcats quickly drafted Mr. Okafor, and the rest is history. Dwight has gone on to be a multiple all-star, slam dunk champion, and has led his team to back to back 50 win seasons. Okafor has...averaged double doubles. Will Okafor try to make a statement and try to shutdown Dwight if they meet in the playoffs?

Threat Level:

Milwaukee Bucks: Last, but not least, the Bucks. The 2003 draft not only brought us the stud known as Reece Gaines, but also a solid contributor in Keith Bogans. Bogans was actually drafted by Milwaukee with the 43rd pick in the draft, only to be traded on draft night to the Magic. As a rookie, Bogans put up a solid 6.8 ppg and 4.3 rpg. Despite the rookie success, the Magic traded him to the Bobcats for Brandon Hunter and the Bogans era was over in Orlando. Or was it? Resigned via free agency in 2006, Bogans joined the team again and become a role player off the bench, even starting at the SG spot in the beginning of the 07-08 season under Stan Van Gundy. However, the team parted ways with Keith again this season, in exchange for current 3rd PG Tyronn Lue after the Jameer Nelson injury. There was said to be hard feelings between the organization and Keith, until recently when Keith decided it's all good. In the first meeting against the Magic this year since being traded, he had 0 pts, 4 boards, and 3 assists, while going 0-3 from the arc.

Threat Level:

1 comment:

  1. Pretty good breakdown.
    I have to agree with most of it, too, although I would rather see the Bobcats in the 1st round than the Pistons. But since the ranking isn't "who would we least like to play", but rather "who is the biggest threat", I have no problem with it whatsoever.


Yahoo! Sports - NBA - Orlando Magic News

This blog is a fan blog, and is in no way affiliated with the Orlando Magic or the NBA. The views on this blog are for entertainment and informational purposes only.

Credit "Sebi" from the Orlando Magic Message board for the title graphic.

Contact us at