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AnezSez: Griffin Tops Magic Wishlist

Apr 24, 2017 -- 2:05pm

 

Recently, a story broke that the Orlando Magic are interested in Cleveland Cavalier General Manager David Griffin filling the GM vacancy here in Orlando.

My three Hot Takes?

1…I love it!

I love the fact that the Magic and CEO Alex Martins are thinking big again. Enough with the small ball-‘process’ stuff. What we need here in Orlando are dudes! I like the fact that the Magic are thinking big in terms of the next GM and there’s no question that Griffin would be a big catch. Experience is at the top of my criteria list for the next guy. Having been down the assistant to the assistant role here in Orlando over the last five years, that didn’t work out very well. Griffin has the experience of running an organization. Experience matters.

2…How good a GM is Griffin?

That’s a difficult question to answer.

We all know that the reason why the Cavs won the East two seasons ago and then won the title last year is LeBron James. Heck, there are alotta folks who believe that LBJ is the Cavs’ owner, GM, coach and player. So, while Griffin has presided over the Cavs during this outstanding run, it’s been a pretty simple formula in Cleveland—LBJ wants to come back…You get him back...He wants guys around him...You go get ‘em.

Now, you look at the moves Griffin has made in putting periphery pieces in place and he’s been very successful.

He went out and got Timofey Mozgov. He got JR Smith and Iman Shumpert. Griffin saved Richard Jefferson from the NBA scrap heap. Speaking of said heap, Griffin traded for former Magic player Channing Frye. He made the deal for Kevin Love. He got Andrew Bogut before he suffered the season ending injury this year.

Remember, Griffin also fired Coach David Blatt midway through last season and hired Ty Lue, who eventually led Cleveland to its first major pro sports title since 1964.

So, yes, David Griffin has a chip, LeBron, on the table that no one else in the league has.

But the truth of the matter is, Griffin has done an exceptional job putting the pieces around LBJ.

3…Why is Griffin a lame duck GM in Cleveland?

Contract negotiations have stalled between he and owner Dan Gilbert.

But, one would think, a guy who has presided over a conference champ and an NBA champ in the last  two years would be signed and sealed by now, right?

Bizarre. It makes no sense why Griffin has not gotten an extension. Heck, even LeBron was quoted as saying so earlier this month.

So, I wonder, is there something personal going on between Griffin and Gilbert?

I also wonder if Griffin using the Magic vacancy as a bargaining chip to get a larger than usual deal with his Cavs?

If the Cavs win back-to-back titles, I just don’t see how Gilbert can allow Griffin to walk to Orlando.

So, bottom line, says Anez Sez, is that I love the fact that the Magic are looking at Griffin.

Do I have some questions about how good a GM he is? Sure I do.  But he has the experience of being in the hot seat.

I just hope he’s not using the Magic gig to get a whopper of a deal in Cleveland.

 

Anez Chatz: Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins on Rob Hennigan Dismissal

Apr 13, 2017 -- 7:06pm

Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins spoke with Scott Anez about the dismissal of Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan after 5 seasons. 

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Anez Sez: Five Years is Long Enough

Apr 13, 2017 -- 10:29am

It was time for the Orlando Magic to make the move

The Magic fired General Manager Rob Hennigan today.

Unlike last year, when Coach Scott Skiles’ resignation came as a shocker to many, the firing of Rob did not come out of the blue. This move was very much expected.

After all, t’s been five years of futility.

Granted, Rob did not have a whole lotta luck in the NBA Draft Lottery. Then again, as he even told me a few months ago, you have to go out and make your own luck in this league. Rob never did that.

The 2013 Draft was about as bad as it gets in terms of the crop of talent. Rob took Victor Oladipo with the #2 selection. Victor, after the Serge Ibaka trade last summer, is now in OKC.

In 2014, he selected Aaron Gordon and traded for Elfrid Payton.

Decent picks? Yes. Aaron could be very good in the future. Jury’s still out on Payton.

In 2015, with the 5th overall pick, Rob took Mario Hezonja.

After two years in the NBA, Mario has done nothing to prove that he can be a difference maker in this league.

But, the way the rebuilding model was constructed, Rob had to have a star, a lynchpin for the organization for years to come.

The list of his free agent signings over the last five years has left much to be desired. Again, Rob stuck to his plan of trying to build through the draft while surrounding them with ‘moneyball’ veteran guys who were cap friendly.

Go up and down the list---Jason Maxiell, E’twaun Moore, Channing Frye, Ben Gordon, Devyn Marble, CJ Watson, Keith Appling, Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Green. I can’t find one of those guys, not one, who actually panned out to help this team on a consistent basis.

Trades?

It was a mixed bag for Rob Hennigan in Orlando.

You can make a case that the best deal he made was the first deal he made. In 2012, Dwight Howard had the Magic over a barrel and everyone around the league knew that they were desperate to get something in return for him before he walked for nothing in free agency.

Rob dealt a disgruntled Dwight to the Lakers. In that trade, the Magic, essentially, got Nik Vucevic , Mo Harkless and a pick that became Elfrid Payton.

Rob made another solid deal in giving up Arron Afflalo to Denver for Evan Fournier.

But, overall, there were some bad deals that would ensue.

Tobias Harris to Detroit for Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilysova was a move designed to help the Magic make a playoff push last year---a push that never happened. Eventually, cap room would be gained by the deal, but Jennings and Ilysova never keyed that late season push.

Last summer, Rob pulled the trigger on the Serge Ibaka for Victor Oladipo, Ilysova and Domantas Sabonis deal. Yet, Ibaka is now in Toronto after the in-season trade to get Terrence Ross and a first round draft pick, which due to a tie breaker, will be anywhere from 23-26 this year.

In the end, the great thing about the NBA is you always know where you stand. This is a scoreboard league and the scoreboard on Monday night in Chicago told us all we need to know about the state of the Orlando Magic—Bulls 122 Magic 75.

Ball don’t lie. Scoreboard don’t lie.

The Magic gave Rob Hennigan five years for his plan to take shape.

The plan did not work

It was a time for a change. 

Anez Sez: Winds of Change at One Magic Place?

Apr 11, 2017 -- 9:55am

For the fifth straight season, the Orlando Magic will not make the playoffs.

On Thursday, they will hold their exit interviews and then all scatter for the summer.

So, as we look ahead to the final couple of games of the season, we also look ahead to Thursday—which could very well be a bloody Thursday at One Magic Place.

Will the Magic fire General Manager Rob Hennigan?

I don’t know the answer to that question.

But if I were king for a day, this would be the end of the line for Rob.

It’s been five years—five long years—the longest this proud franchise has ever gone not making the NBA Playoffs.

This is a scoreboard league, and the scoreboard says that this team under Rob’s direction is going in the wrong direction. 35 wins last season. This year, this team will be lucky to get to 30.

I believe it’s time for a different set of eyes. I believe it’s time for a fresh start. I believe basketball operations desperately needs a new culture put in place. 

I don’t know of any GM in this league who would be given a longer leash than what Rob has had here in Orlando. Magic ownership gave Rob five years for that plan to work. The plan did not work. It’s time to move on.

So, the next logical question is, if the Magic do make a move in firing Rob, who would be the prime target to lead the Basketball Operations Department?

I wish I could tell you that I have the inside scoop on this…but I don’t.

I can tell you this---my main criteria has always been experience.

Give me a name, ala Magic Johnson in Los Angeles

Give me someone who has a cache--someone who gives this franchise a marquee again. Give me a person who can get out there in the free agent market and turn people’s heads and make them think Orlando again.

Who is that guy?

He’s not Doc Rivers.

I, along with some of you, was played by Doc a few weeks ago when he planted that story out in L.A. about him coming back to Orlando. That was disingenuous. I’m out!

I do like Pat Garrity, a former Magic player. 

Pat is working under Stan Van Gundy in Detroit right now. Pat is a really smart guy who would come into Orlando with one agenda—winning. That’s it.

Now, does Pat he have that swag that is gonna attract big time free agents to Orlando again? Maybe Maybe not.

Let me throw out another name at you…..

Grant Hill.

Grant’s name has been out there for a while now

I would love to see Grant Hill back with the Orlando Magic.

He’s got the name—he’s got the smarts---he’s got the class—he’s got the experience of playing the game and watching and commenting on the college game over the last several years.

Now, I think this possibility may be a bit of a longshot because of the fact that Grant does have minority ownership in the Atlanta Hawks and also enjoys a nice little NCAA Tourney gig with CBS Sports

But, of all the names that I have seen out there. Grant’s name is the most impressive and makes the most sense in leading basketball operations into the future for the Orlando Magic.

Now, you’d have to put a person below Grant, someone who is gonna work it 24-7, but I love the idea of Grant coming back to this Magic organization.

Whatever the case may be, I think it’s time for a fresh start in the front office.

This is gonna be a very interesting week, and a very pivotal summer, for the Orlando Magic.

Anez Chatz: Tracy McGrady

Apr 04, 2017 -- 6:28pm

Former Orlando Magic G and newly elected Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady joined Scott Anez to talk about getting elected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, his days with the Orlando Magic and more. 

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Anez Sez: The Tweet Seen Round the World

Apr 04, 2017 -- 11:58am

Much is being made about the photo that was tweeted out yesterday by a player agent---the photo of new Magic player Patricio Garrino signing a contract in the Orlando Magic office.

Garrino signing the contract was not the interesting part of the photo.

The interesting part was what was pictured in back of Garrino as he was inking the deal. (SEE PHOTO BELOW)

In the background, you can very easily see a dry erase board that lists potential trade possibilities and free agent targets.

Ouch.

Look--every NBA front office has this kind of information. Every front office has some kind of dry erase board being used to detail options for the summer ahead. This is not out of ordinary by any means.

What is out of the ordinary is these pictures being sent out for the entire world to see.

Magic GM Rob Hennigan did tell the Orlando Sentinel that the lists are not indicative of plans and that he was simply listing options including some of which other teams have inquired about.

Perhaps the player agent snapped the epic photo when Magic folks were out of the room for a brief second---I don’t know what happened.

But I am shocked that it did happen.

The photo has since been taken off of social media, but the damage was done.

We’ve talked a lot about Rob Hennigan and his tenuous future with the organization after five years of losing basketball. But, if there’s one thing that Rob has not done over the last five years—he has not run a loose ship.

Over the last five years, it’s been the exact opposite. Rob has operated in much secrecy. He has battened down the hatches in terms of any potential leaks to the media or anyone else in the front office. The entire organization has been in stealth mode for five years now.

The KGB has nothing on Rob Hennigan!

That’s why this picture on twitter yesterday shocked me.

What did it tell me? Not a whole lot. Like I said, every front office has these types of lists, number one.

Secondly, we don’t know if Rob Hennigan is gonna be here in a few weeks to potentially carry out what’s on this list. So I don’t put a lot of stock on what we saw on that board.

Bottom line is that this picture being tweeted out for the world to see cannot happen.

It did.

It’s just another part of another difficult NBA season in Orlando.

 

Patricio Garino

Anez Chatz: UCF C Tacko Fall

Mar 23, 2017 -- 6:24pm

UCF C Tacko Fall joined Scott Anez to talk about UCF's historic NIT win over Illinois and his interest in playing in the NBA. 

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Anez Chatz: UCF MBB Head Coach Johnny Dawkins

Mar 22, 2017 -- 4:39pm

UCF Head Basketball Coach Johnny Dawkins joined Scott Anez to talk about his team's win over Illinois State in the NIT & his impressive first season with the Knights. 

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Elfrid Not the Answer

Mar 14, 2017 -- 3:42pm

The numbers that Elfrid Payton are putting up right now are staggering.

Monday night, in another Orlando loss to Sacramento, the Magic point guard tallied 13 points, ten rebounds and 13 assists.

Make that three triple-doubles in the last five games for Payton.

To put the NBA triple-double into perspective, it’s akin to an NFL quarterback throwing for three TD’s and running for a couple while making a game saving tackle.

It’s like going five-for-five from the plate in baseball and making a couple of spectacular plays in the field.

The triple-double in basketball is the ultimate team stat because it tells you that the player did it all, on both sides of the court, offense and defense.

Kudos to Elfrid.

BUT, I will continue to say that, despite the recent surge, Elfrid is not the answer for the Magic at the point guard spot.

I’ve watched him now for nearly three years and while his offensive game has progressed, his defense has regressed. He continues to be lax in guarding his man.

Aside from that, here’s the one main reason why I don’t see Elfrid being the catalyst for this team going forward...He’s not a leader.

Can you honestly say that Elfrid Payton has ever made his teammates better? I haven’t seen it.

I realize that the kid is just 23 years or age…I get it. I understand there are many of you saying to yourselves, “Here we go again. The Magic giving up on a guy who is gonna go on to stardom somewhere else.”

I’m not buying it.

Good to great point guards make those around him better. Teammates get excited about playing alongside a guy like that. I don’t get that feeling this team.

And the great point guards do it with a smile on their face—they play the game with joy and passion.

I get the feeling that the game is a chore for Elfrid Payton. When’s the last time you saw him smile on the court?

Leadership oftentimes is a very difficult thing to define…But ya know it when you see it.

I know this…I have not seen the IT factor out of Elfrid Payton in almost three years.

So, despite Elfrid’s recent stellar play, I think it’s high time that the Magic go in a different direction this summer.

Tags: Magic, NBA, Orlando

Anez Chatz: Orlando City Soccer Analyst Tom Traxler

Mar 06, 2017 -- 10:04pm

Orlando City Soccer Broadcast Analyst Tom Traxler joined ESPN Afternoons with Scott Anez to react to the Lions 1-0 win over New York City FC in the season opening match and talked about the new stadium. 

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Anez Chatz: ESPN Soccer Analyst Taylor Twellman

Mar 02, 2017 -- 8:43pm

ESPN Soccer Analyst Taylor Twellman joined ESPN Afternoons with Scott Anez to break down the MLS, the upcoming, season-opening match for Orlando City and whether or not the Lions can make the playoffs in Kaka's final season. 

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Anez Chatz: Orlando Magic SG Terrence Ross

Feb 28, 2017 -- 6:27pm


 

Newly acquired Orlando Magic shooting guard Terrence Ross joined ESPN Afternoons with Scott Anez to talk about how he's adjuting to playing with the Magic, how he fits with the new team and his goals for the rest of the season. 

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Anez Chatz: Jason Siegel

Feb 27, 2017 -- 6:34pm

President of the Central Florida Sports Commission Jason Siegel joined ESPN Afternoons with Scott Anez to discuss the upcoming NCAA Tournament in Orlando. 

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AnezSez: 5 Hot Takes Post NBA All Star Break

Feb 24, 2017 -- 1:52pm

Five Hot Takes Post NBA All Star break play began for the Orlando Magic on Thursday night.

So let’s go ahead and give you my five HOT TAKES from the 112-103 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers…

5…Stan Van Gundy used to say that the NBA game is NOT a fourth quarter game—it’s actually a first quarter game. Agree to disagree, Stanley. This league is all about the fourth quarter and who has the onions to step up in crunch time. That’s why stars are so vital to the win-loss column in the Association. Damian Lillard’s star shone the brightest on Thursday night when he tallied 17 of his game high 33 points in the final period as Lillard led the Blazers to victory after trailing by 11 with under 9:00 to play.

4…I liked what I saw out of Mario Hezonja. At least in the first half, I did. Second half he kinda disappeared. But, Mario, over the last few weeks, has finally started to gain an edge about him again. Earlier this year, the second year player was totally lost to the point where he entered a game off the bench and forgot to tie his shoes. Thursday night, Mario scored 10 points on a perfect 4-4 shooting in the first half. He was defending his man aggressively. He made his rotations and disrupted a number of Portland plays. This is the Mario I want to see in the final 23 games of the season!

3…The Orlando Magic do not know how to win basketball games. Coach Vogel has been talking about that all season long. As a matter of fact, he even said on Thursday that he won’t even talk about the possibility of playoff basketball here in Orlando in the final stretch of the season. His main goal is to get this team to the point where it knows how to win games. He’s absolutely right. The core of this team (Vucevic, Fournier, Payton and Gordon) has done a lot of losing together over the last three seasons. The Blazers and Lillard knew what it took to win that game in the fourth quarter Thursday night. This Magic team is still trying to figure it out.

2…With Serge Ibaka now in Toronto, I noticed an energy and a togetherness on this Magic team that I did not see through the first 57 games of the season. I’m not a big fan of banging on a guy who just walked out the door. It’s cheap and it looks petty. But, I will tell you this, the chemistry on this club, even with the newcomer Ross on the floor quite a bit, seemed so much better than before the trade last week. There have been rumors about Serge being a difficult guy to deal with in the locker room. True or not, I do know that, even in defeat, this Magic team played with much more synergy and engagement than I have seen all season long.

1…I like Terrence Ross! He’s a freak athlete. He can shoot the three. He can pick and pop. He can go midrange on you. He also has the ability to get to the hoop and finish. Thursday night, Ross tallied 13 points on just 4-17 shooting. The kid is not bashful. He will chuck from anywhere at any time. But, that’s a good thing for this Magic team. We need a DOG. There’s nothing the man can’t do offensively. Defensively, he has the ability to guard three positions. The knock on Ross over the last four plus seasons in the NBA has been a lack of consistency. But, he has a golden opportunity to erase that stereotype here in Orlando because Coach Vogel is gonna get him the basketball.

Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan on Serge Ibaka Trade

Feb 14, 2017 -- 8:06pm

Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan spoke to Scott Anez about the Serge Ibaka trade to the Toronto Raptors, the plans for the trade deadline and the future of the team.

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Anez Sez: Gordon May Have to Slam the Dunk Contest

Feb 09, 2017 -- 11:21am

Magic forward Aaron Gordon is hurting.

Aaron was forced to the sideline for the second half of the blowout loss in Houston on Tuesday night because of pain in his right foot.

An MRI revealed a bone bruise in the foot and he’s officially listed as day to day.

Next week, Aaron Gordon is set to compete in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

However, he should be making alternative plans at this point.

If this is an injury that lingers into early next week, Aaron needs to do the prudent thing and get the heck out!

I’ll tell ya why…

Number one…The NBA is gonna need time to find a replacement for Aaron. The league will also need some leeway to adjust their marketing materials.

Secondly, and most importantly….You don’t want to put the unofficial second half of the season in jeopardy if you are Aaron Gordon.

We have four games left before the break, after that, just 24 games will remain until the end of the regular season. You do not want to put 24 games in jeopardy for a young guy who needs all the reps he can get right now. This is a very important season, year three, for Aaron in terms of his development.

I know. I get it. His agent is seeing dollar signs with the very real possibility of Aaron, the fave, winning the contest this year--but if he’s hurting, that would be a pound wise but penny foolish idea.

Bottom line is that I want to see Aaron Gordon get better this season.

It’s been a mixed bag so far. He was benched early in the season but regained his spot mainly because Jeff Green was giving this team a big fat zero as a starter.

I will say this though…..Aaron has proved this year that he can be a defensive force in this league. And the only consistent aspect of this team might be the fact that Aaron brings it on the defensive side of the floor every night.

But there are holes in his game.

While the defense has been solid, he’s not rebounded as he should. Aaron is averaging just 4.5 rebounds a game this year.

He’s got to improve his consistency on the offensive end.

While he’s had a couple of 30-plus point games this season, he often times disappears from the scoring sheet. Case in point is the game against Toronto last week when went 0-7 from the field and scored just one point.

I hope Aaron Gordon is gonna be OK.

But if the foot is still bothering him early next week, it’ll be time to kiss dunk contest goodbye and focus on developing his game in the final couple months of the season.

Anez Sez: Gordon May Have to Slam the Dunk Contest

Feb 09, 2017 -- 11:21am

Magic forward Aaron Gordon is hurting.

Aaron was forced to the sideline for the second half of the blowout loss in Houston on Tuesday night because of pain in his right foot.

An MRI revealed a bone bruise in the foot and he’s officially listed as day to day.

Next week, Aaron Gordon is set to compete in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

However, he should be making alternative plans at this point.

If this is an injury that lingers into early next week, Aaron needs to do the prudent thing and get the heck out!

I’ll tell ya why…

Number one…The NBA is gonna need time to find a replacement for Aaron. The league will also need some leeway to adjust their marketing materials.

Secondly, and most importantly….You don’t want to put the unofficial second half of the season in jeopardy if you are Aaron Gordon.

We have four games left before the break, after that, just 24 games will remain until the end of the regular season. You do not want to put 24 games in jeopardy for a young guy who needs all the reps he can get right now. This is a very important season, year three, for Aaron in terms of his development.

I know. I get it. His agent is seeing dollar signs with the very real possibility of Aaron, the fave, winning the contest this year--but if he’s hurting, that would be a pound wise but penny foolish idea.

Bottom line is that I want to see Aaron Gordon get better this season.

It’s been a mixed bag so far. He was benched early in the season but regained his spot mainly because Jeff Green was giving this team a big fat zero as a starter.

I will say this though…..Aaron has proved this year that he can be a defensive force in this league. And the only consistent aspect of this team might be the fact that Aaron brings it on the defensive side of the floor every night.

But there are holes in his game.

While the defense has been solid, he’s not rebounded as he should. Aaron is averaging just 4.5 rebounds a game this year.

He’s got to improve his consistency on the offensive end.

While he’s had a couple of 30-plus point games this season, he often times disappears from the scoring sheet. Case in point is the game against Toronto last week when went 0-7 from the field and scored just one point.

I hope Aaron Gordon is gonna be OK.

But if the foot is still bothering him early next week, it’ll be time to kiss dunk contest goodbye and focus on developing his game in the final couple months of the season.

Anez Chatz: Florida #NSD with GatorZone's Scott Carter

Feb 01, 2017 -- 6:10pm

 

Gatorzone.com's Scott Carter joined Scott Anez to discuss Jim McElwain's 3rd recruiting class at the University of Florida. 

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Anez Chatz: UCF #NSD with Brandon Helwig

Feb 01, 2017 -- 6:04pm

UCFSports.com's Brandon Helwig joins Scott Anez on National Signing Day to discuss Scott Frosts's second recruiting class. How did the Knights do?

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Anez Chatz: FSU #NSD with Warchant's Gene Williams

Feb 01, 2017 -- 5:50pm

Warchant's Gene Williams talks with Scott Anez about FSU's top-5 ranked signing class on National Signing Day.

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Anez Chatz: Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan

Jan 24, 2017 -- 6:05pm

Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan sat down with Scott Anez to discuss his team's struggles, the goal of the playoffs, his job status and more. 

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Anez Chatz: University of Florida AD Scott Stricklin

Jan 18, 2017 -- 5:08pm

 

Scott Anez chats with new Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin on ESPN Afternoons with Scott Anez. Stricklin discusses his new job at Florida, the trajectory of the Florida Football and Basketball programs and more. 

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Anez Sez: What Now Magic Fans?

Jan 17, 2017 -- 10:52am

I’ve grown to loathe the NBA Draft Lottery.

I know…I know.

Many of you reading this blog right now love the Lottery. You love projecting which young player goes where. You love the projecting out how good a kid is gonna be.

I hate the Lottery for alotta reasons. Not the least of which is….Look where it’s gotten us, True Blue Nation!

While my heart is telling me that there is still a chance for the Orlando Magic to make the playoffs this season (4.5 games back of the 8th and final playoff spot in the East), my head is telling me, “Let it Go, Sez. Let it go.”

Truth of the matter is, after the 125-112 setback in Denver on Monday evening, this Magic team is showing no signs that it can get back on track to make a postseason run. After surrendering a season-high 58.4% shooting and 125 points to the Nuggets, this team’s defense continues to be an albatross.

The Magic sit at 17-26, nine games under the .500 mark going into New Orleans on Wednesday to close out what has been an unsuccessful six game western road trip. In order to get to the magic number of, say, 42 wins, which typically puts you on the cusp of playoff contention in the East, the Magic would have to win 25 of their remaining 39 games.

Impossible? No. Unlikely? Yes.

So the question becomes…..Now what?

The NBA trade deadline goes down on Feb. 23. Will the Magic, with some attractive one year contracts on the payroll, be buyers or sellers?

I hate to admit it but you gotta look to sell.

The hole that the Magic have dug for themselves, I’m afraid, seems just too deep from which to extricate themselves, so I say go out and try to get some pieces to build around in the future.

Now, what does that mean, exactly?

I think you have to take a look at guys like Jeff Green, Jody Meeks and CJ Watson (one more year left on contract) to begin.

I’m not quite sure how much value those guys have around the league, but dangle those guys to see what’s out there. By the way, I’m NOT in favor of offering up Serge Ibaka. I like what Serge has done this season and I am in favor of re-signing him in the offseason. But, if you can package him to get a star-like player in return, you have to take a look at that possibility.

Bottom line is that this team is likely headed for another Draft Lottery—so everything should be on the table.

Anez Sez: Playoffs Or Bust?

Jan 10, 2017 -- 11:22am

As we head into Wednesday’s game with the Clippers in Los Angeles, the Orlando Magic sit at the 39 game mark. 

And right now, the 16-23 Orlando Magic are in trouble.

Just two games from the midway point of the NBA season, I think it is safe to say that this current six game western road trip, a trip that started with a loss to the Lakers on Sunday night, is pivotal.

Look, this franchise’s goal this year was clear cut---make the playoffs

This is a franchise that has not made the postseason since 2012 when the Magic were taken out in the first round by the Indiana Pacers. So, this is a franchise--ownership, management, fans, media—hungry for relevance.

Well, don’t look now, but the Magic are going the wrong way.

Orlando, a loser of three straight games, sits in the 12th spot in the East--3 and a half games behind that eighth and final playoff spot.

I’ve said it many times this season….I can’t figure out this Magic team.

The inconsistency is maddening.

A caller chimed in the other day on ESPN Afternoons with Scott Anez and said…”Scott, maybe this is just a bad basketball team.” Maybe it is. Perhaps, all this investing of emotion is a waste of time. But, I do see ample talent on this roster. I also see a very good head coach, but Frank Vogel, I get the feeling, is as frustrated as us with all the inconsistency that we have seen from this team.

Case in point….For whatever reason, the Magic are a mere 7-12 so far at Amway Center. This team though has played with much more of an eye of the tiger on the road this year. The Magic are 9-10 away from home going into Staples Center on Wednesday.

So make no mistake about it, this is a monumental trip for the Magic.

Remember a little over one month ago, they departed on a five gamer, and I recall before the trip saying  that this season could go sideways in a hurry during that trip. Yet, they began the trip with a rare win in San Antonio and followed that up with three more victories. Actually, if it’s not for a miracle comeback by the Grizzlies in Memphis, it would have been five for five on that trek.

So, as a Magic fan, you hope beyond hope that this western junket has a similar look.

However, let’s say you go 0-6….1-5. Well, then….That puts this team in a serious hole as the second half of the season starts. If you do have a disastrous road trip, you come home at least 10 games back of the five hundred mark and with things as bunched up as they are in the East, you can pretty much say bye bye to any sort of playoff hope.

So, to say the least, this is a huge trip for the Orlando Magic.

Gordon Gives Us a Glimpse

Dec 16, 2016 -- 10:43am

I am hoping that Wednesday’s performance was a benchmark game for Magic forward Aaron Gordon.

It was quite a night for the third year man out of Arizona—a career high 33 points on 13 of 21 from the field. He hit on four three-pointers

Aaron was taking what the defense gave him and as he said after the game, he made the game simple.

Defensively, not many guys in this league could do what he did in that game. He guarded four positions. He checked Chris Paul, Austin Rivers, JJ Redick. Aaron even checked Blake Griffin down low.

This is what Magic GM Rob Hennigan envisioned Aaron Gordon to be back in 2014 when the Magic made him the fourth pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

Let’s call it like it is---the Magic throughout this post Dwight Howard rebuilding process---have not had a whole lotta luck in developing young players. The flip side of that is that you have to have players who are developable.

I’ve said this about Aaron from the start---this kid has the work ethic and the talent to be able to develop.

We all know about his athleticism. That was on full display last season during the dunk contest last season.

The trick is to work within that athleticism and tap into potential greatness.

The concern about moving Aaron from the power forward positon to the small forward spot this year was that he wouldn’t be able to handle the scoring load from that three. It’s a legit concern.

Aaron is shooting it at a clip of about 32 percent from three point range this year.

But, what I saw on Wednesday night against a good basketball team was a confident Aaron Gordon.

One of the things I like about the new head coach Frank Vogel is that he has a very long leash with his players---and that’s exactly what he’s done with Aaron. Sure, Aaron was movedto the bench in earlier this year, but Coach Vogel has given Gordon the freedom to identify his game.

if you had to identify Aaron’s game, what would it be?

You would think of one thing--the high flying dunks. The athleticism, right?

Well, you have to be much more than an athlete to play at a high level in the Association.

My hope for Aaron is that his basketball talent and experience level catches up to his athleticism.

Coach Vogel used Paul Geroge’s name in vain Wednesday when talking about Aaron. It’s an apt comparison. George, once known as just an athlete became an all star under Vogel in Indiana over the last few years.  Vogel is using the same blueprint with Aaron.

He’s trying to allow Aaron the freedom to find out who he is---and yet---he’s giving him a framework to do it.

Aaron Gordon is extremely young. Heck, he should be a senior in college this year.

But if there’s anybody on this roster who has the ability to turn into that star player that everyone in this league craves, it’s Aaron Gordon.

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