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Gilbert Arenas Planking in the Weight Room (Picture)

June 28, 2011
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Good news, Gilbert is in the weight room. Dropping planks on ‘em.

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Gilbert Finally Discovers Why He Hasn’t Been Gilbert – Palm, Meet Face.

June 27, 2011

Take your palm, now slam it against your forehead. Facepalm. Do it 25 more times.

Done?

OK, now read the following tweets from Gilbert Arenas:

Now by me making you give yourself 25 facepalms, I ultimately saved you probably at least 30 minutes of continuous disbelief and head shaking.

My gut reaction when reading this was to get mad at Gilbert for being, well… Gilbert. But the blame is not with him. Not in the slightest. He is a basketball player that goes and plays basketball. I’m assuming that someone told him that the cold was causing him arthritis.  Even if they weren’t, they sure didn’t stop him, and the media, from believing that it was.  Gilbert has been back from his knee injury since March 28th, 2009 minus the Gunbert incident which cost him half of the 09-10 season. So in over two years, he either was not told or did not choose to believe that he wasn’t healed properly.

Both the Washington Wizards and the Orlando Magic had a pretty strong vested interested in getting Arenas back to full health (he sort of makes a lot of money).  How could they miss this? How could two entire training staffs fail to realize that Gilbert was firing off the wrong muscles  when it took him 1.5 seconds to realize that Mike Bibby was burning past him?

I’d like to think that the team(s) were just caught up in the season and failed to capture what was truly going on, but it’s really hard to believe. Even if Gilbert ignored the trainers statements telling him that his leg muscles weren’t where they needed to be, the organization has the ultimate responsibility to make sure it’s asset is taken care of and for a lack of a better word, fixed.

The Magic (and the Wizards) training staff dropped the ball on this big time. Bottom line.

The good news for Magic fans is that HOPEFULLY the Hibachi will be back and better than ever come training camp in October.  He seems to be committed to his recovery plan, including staying off the court for a few months, and that could mean the Magic might potentially have a new starting PG come late October.

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B is for Basketball; and the Orlando Magic Draft – Report Card

June 24, 2011

After sitting around for nearly 200 minutes waiting for something/anything Orlando related to happen, we got news of the Justin Harper trade.  It was a long wait, but one that should have been longer for Magic fans if they had been forced to wait around for #53.  The Magic came into the night holding only the 53rd overall pick and ended the night with a 1st round talent and a mid-second round talent in their hands.

The most important part? No risk. These are second rounders with no guaranteed contact. They HAVE to prove themselves. Certainly the goal of a draft pick is to always have them make the team, but the lack of a guarantee gives the team payroll flexibility. Something, that sadly, they have little of throughout the rest of the roster.

Let’s take a look at the players:

Justin Harper – SF/PF – University of Richmond

- Draft Express had Harper listed as the 3rd best Senior in the draft and 28th best player overall.

- “Proficient at getting defenders off balance with a pump fake/jab step and then blowing by them and getting to the rim using the dribble ” – NBADraft.net.  NBADraft.net had Harper listed at 26 on their big board.

- Ranked 28th on ESPN and Chad Ford’s big board.  Ford, along with everyone else, says that Harper needs to add size and toughness to stick in the NBA.  Ford also praises his range but warns that he can fall in love with his jump shot at times.

- Led the Atlantic 10 in scoring in conference games (20.3 ppg) and averaged 7.3 rebounds per game in conference play. He averaged 17.9 ppg for the season.

- Best player on a team that went to the Sweet 16.  Dropped 22 points and 9 boards in Richmond’s Sweet 16 loss to the Morris brothers and Kansas (loaded with NBA talent).

DeAndre Liggins – SG – University of Kentucky

- Ranked as the 62nd best prospect by Chad Ford and ESPN, 56th by NBADraft.net and 58th by DraftExpress. 

- Ford calls Liggins an “exceptional defender” and says he can guard three positions.  An obvious weakness for the Magic last season.

- Averaged only 8.6 ppg as a Junior for Kentucky but averaged heavy minutes at 31.6 a game.  Those are minutes played with NBA lottery pick talent like Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones.

- Not known for his offense at all but for his tenacity and versatility.  A guy that was described by NBADraft.net as “someone who takes pride in shutting down his matchup.”  DeAndre was named to the SEC All-Defensive team in 2010-2011.

- Praised by Otis Smith for his toughness coming out of Chicago.  Out of HS he attended a year of prep school so he is actually a year older (23) than most of his classmates.

- The best part about Liggins is that he knows how to play to his role. He has been surround by elite NBA talent in his 3 years under Calipari and the Kentucky Money Machine. He is a defender. He knows that. 

***

Why a “B”?

The Magic came into the draft with low expectations. They could have traded into the first round, and they tried, but were smart not to overreach when the value wasn’t there. They ended the night with a 1st round talent and they gave up nothing more than invisible draft picks (2nd rounders in ’13 and ’14) to get there.  They also picked up Liggins who is a guy who has a real chance to find a niche as a speciality defender in this league.  Most importantly, both guys will come CHEAP and with LOW risk.

Yes it would have been a lot more exciting to say that Otis made some sort of super slash and traded half the roster, but I believe him when he said the value wasn’t there. You can’t make trades just to make them.  If the right trade was there, and he made it, then it could have pushed this to an A or B+.  It wasn’t though and what you have is Rashard Lewis-lite and Stanley Robinson with confidence.  Those are good things. 

If they develop one day into solid role players than Otis will have struck gold. If not, then it’s no big deal. I’d say that is a solid job of mitigating risk and acquiring assets.

Solid job = B

You can follow  Magic Basketball Online on Twitter and add MBO on Facebook to get the latest story updates!  You can now download the MBO app for the Android and Windows Phone platforms by searching for Magic Basketball Online.

Justin Harper set to join the Magic after draft day trade

June 24, 2011
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As originally reported earlier in the evening, the Orlando Magic acquired the draft rights to Justin Harper from the Cleveland Cavaliers for two future second round picks.  The future picks come in 2013 and 2014.

Justin was a player that Otis Smith and the Magic had listed on their board somewhere in the 20’s and when they had a chance to swing a deal at 32, they jumped on him.

When asked what position Otis saw Justin playing for the team, he responded with “I think he can play both positions (3 and the 4)”.  He then stressed that the difficulty for Justin will be defending the quickness of a 3 and strength of a 4.

For Justin it was a long journey from Richmond, VA to Orlando.  Coming out of high school he wasn’t heavily recruited and only had 4 Division 1 offers.  He worked hard to improve throughout his 4 years at Richmond to get to the point he is at today.

Despite not having any contact with the Magic throughout the draft process, he is certainly happy to be where is heading.  Justin further added, “”Just glad to be part of Orlando and an already great team”.

You can follow  Magic Basketball Online on Twitter and add MBO on Facebook to get the latest story updates!  You can now download the MBO app for the Android and Windows Phone platforms by searching for Magic Basketball Online.

Orlando Magic select DeAndre Liggins from Kentucky 53rd overall

June 23, 2011
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With the 53rd overall pick, the Orlando Magic selected DeAndre Liggins the 6’6″ SG from the University of Kentucky.  Liggins is known as a strong defender with a weak offensive game.

Otis Smith spoke about Liggins after the pick and spoke about his toughness and ability to hit big shots on a talent heavy team at Kentucky.  Much like Justin Harper, DeAndre was higher on the Magic draft board and they didn’t expect him to be available when they picked at 53.

Liggins will have an uphill battle to make the Orlando Magic team (think Robinson, Stanley) and will be even tougher with the upcoming lockout situation.  His defensive tenacity and length could be a valuable asset to the team though if he is able to prove himself in a short period of time.

You can view his draft profile here.

You can follow  Magic Basketball Online on Twitter and add MBO on Facebook to get the latest story updates!  You can now download the MBO app for the Android and Windows Phone platforms by searching for Magic Basketball Online.

Magic to acquire the draft rights to Justin Harper for two future 2nd round picks

June 23, 2011
by

According to a source close to the situation, the Orlando Magic are finalizing a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers to acquire their 2nd round draft pick Justin Harper. The Magic would keep their 53rd overall pick while sending two future 2nd round picks in the exchange.

Justin Harper is a 6’9″ PF out of Richmond who has been compared very much to Rashard Lewis.  He was listed as a bubble first round pick and once he slipped to the 2nd round, the Magic poached hard. You can read his draft profile here.

The trade is still not finalized, but expect an announcement early in the AM.

With the Magic being the aggressor in this acquisition, Harper has a very good chance to make the team.  He is also a very valuable trade asset for the Magic to use to acquire other pieces if need be.

You can follow  Magic Basketball Online on Twitter and add MBO on Facebook to get the latest story updates!  You can now download the MBO app for the Android and Windows Phone platforms by searching for Magic Basketball Online.

Mockery Draft: We’re Smarter Than You and We’ve Got Jokes

June 22, 2011

This post was originally posted on Howard the Dunk and was a back and forth Mock Draft conducted by Andrew Melnick and myself.  We alternated picks and tried to do our best mocking along the way.  All odd numbered picks are mine and the even picks are Andrew’s. The only rule we made was that no trades could take place.

Hereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee we go, the Dan Gilbert’s are on the clock:

***

Pick 1 – Cleveland Cavaliers
Derrick Williams, SF, Arizona

I’m convinced that Cleveland wants Derrick Williams and is running a smoke screen around Irving. Since Williams will likely play the same position vacated by LeBron, Dan Gilbert will have fun requiring him to wear number 23.

Pick 2 – Minnesota Timberwolves

Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke

With a forward off the board, there is only one other position for Kahn to fill through the draft – point guard! With Johnny Flynn and Luke Ridnour on the roster and Ricky Rubio finally coming over from Spain, why not? They could fill a huge need and take a center like the Underkanter, but then how could they justify paying Darko Milicic $20 million? Oh wait, they still can’t.

Pick 3 – Utah Jazz

Enes Kanter, C, Kentucky-ish

Combining Favors and Kanter would provide with Utah Jazz with the best frontcourt in the league in terms of “guys drafted really high that nobody ever saw produce”. Also, strongly considered taking Jimmer with this pick. Too high pick wise, but he’ll be gone come 12. Jimmer in Utah = LeBron in Miami.

Pick 4 – Cleveland Cavaliers

Brandon Knight, PG, $$$$$

After passing on Kyrie Irving, the Cavs luck out with Knight still on the board. The John Calapari product will have to take a pay cut during his rookie contract but will be tutored by Baron Davis and should be able to grow a fantastic beard.

Pick 5 – Toronto Raptors

Jonas Valanciunas, C,  Lithuania

Fortunately for Toronto, he seems to be the anti-Andrea Bargnani in that he actually welcomes contact  With Jonas slipping to 5, Toronto ignores his contract restraints and hopes that he can provide the energy and effort that Bargnani runs so passionately from.

Pick 6 – Washington Wizards

Jan Vesely, F, Czech Republic

Jan Vesely likes to run the floor and dunk. John Wall likes to run the floor and dunk.

Pick 7 – Anaheim Princes
The Jimmer, PG, BYU

A drunk Tyreke Evans drives the lane! He throws it out to the corner and Jimmer jacks up the contested 3! Misses! Cousins rebounds the ball and immediately punts it into the upper deck!

Plenty of LOLz remain when you read the remainder of the first round  HtD Mockery Draft after the jump. Click READ MORE to continue:

Read more…

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