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Time for Magic fans to return to reality

February 6, 2011

The return to the Finals fantasy can now end.  Everyone, including me, jumped hard on the Magic bandwagon when the Magic 2.0 cycled off 9 straight wins and it looked like the new look squad was legit.  With the loss this afternoon, the Magic are now 7-8 since that win streak.  When it comes to the Magic 2.1, unfortunately they are who we thought they were.

We all have these grand illusions that veteran NBA players are all of a sudden just going to get it or transform their game into something it’s never been.  Yes, this occasionally happens (see Redick, J.J.) but the majority of the time we know who they are.

The problem is, as fans, we create these disillusions in our heads that Hedo Turkoglu is all of a sudden going to start making good decisions or that Dwight is going to develop into an 80%+ free throw shooter.  Short of some sort of miracle Viagra-esque growth pill, Jameer Nelson is not going to grow six inches, nor find two more steps of speed.  His shots will continue to be blocked at the rim, he will continue to get beat by the faster PG’s, and he will continue to be more liability than asset against legit teams.

You can go down the roster and find plenty of off-season and new acquisition dreams of super development.  Jason Richardson has never been challenged with playing serious defense in his life, nor has Gilbert Arenas.  If you think they are going to wake up in a Holiday Inn Express as Bruce Bowen or Chris Paul, we have issues with the reality of the NBA.

As this team stands, they are a second round knockout team.  They have one GREAT player in Dwight Howard and lot of decent players surrounding him.  The Celtics have four very good players and the Heat have TWO great players plus one more very good player.  Oh, also, those teams can rely on their stars when it counts to deliver a victory.  As great and special as Dwight Howard is, we all know that he can’t be out fourth quarter scoring option.

As Magic fans, you can subscribe to any number of the teams irrational NBA quasi-theories :  young talent getting their shot (Earl Clark), veteran transformation with a new role (Jason Richardson), troubled soul cleansed with new environment (Gilbert Arenas), or, maybe the greatest one, “the right system” (Hedo).  Hell, Magic fans were so excited that Vince Carter was gone that they failed to realize that Jason Richardson provides nothing different than Vince did.  When is the last time you saw J-Rich commit a hard foul in transition or dunk on someone? Or do you see a lot of ole’s and missed layups?

It’s human nature for fans to do this, but in the end all its doing is making you that much more upset that you “bought in” for nothing more the inevitable second row exit.  We are waiting for some sort of fantasy breakthrough and it’s just not realistic.  Barring some random hot shooting streak by the team, they aren’t going to be any more than they already are.

And I agree; how dare reality not conform to life through our fan-tinted glasses.

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