02 October 2007

I've Moved to ThirdQuarterCollapse.com


Some of you may have wondered why I had been updating this blog less frequently recently, especially in light of Tony Battie's potential season-ending shoulder surgery, which is pretty big news. The reason for the relative inactivity is the relaunch of Third Quarter Collapse as part of the SBNation brand. Thus, this post is the last one I'll make at this site. Ever.

The site will still be here to function as an archive, though. It's been a pleasure getting to know you over the past six-plus months and I look forward to hearing from you over at the new Third Quarter Collapse!

Thanks for everything.

- Ben

27 September 2007

Orlando Sentinel: Surgery a Possibility for Tony Battie


Brian Schmitz reported earlier this afternoon that Tony Battie, arguably our best power forward, injured his shoulder a few weeks ago and may require surgery:

Orlando Magic power forward Tony Battie might have to undergo rotator cuff surgery and miss an undetermined amount of time.

Battie was undergoing testing Thursday at Duke University, and the Magic were waiting on the results.
I'm no expert, but I know that shoulder injuries take a long time to heal. The Lakers' Lamar Odom, who had a torn labrum, underwent surgery in May and is still recovering. As the Orange County Register reported, he might even miss the start of the NBA season (via Forum Blue and Gold).

Tony Battie is not a great player, but he is important to this team. Think of it this way: when Battie is on the floor for the Magic, Pat Garrity and James Augustine are taking a seat, which is a good thing.

If Battie indeed misses time, it almost ensures that Stan Van Gundy will be forced to use Rashard Lewis at power forward instead of at small forward, his natural position. Lewis doesn't have the strength or ability to defend the low post well.

A bad defensive team just got a lot worse. I wonder how Otis Smith feels about letting Darko go now.

(Thanks to Orlando Magic Blog for drawing this story to my attention).

UPDATED: What NBA Preview Publications and Bloggers are Saying about the Magic

It started two weeks ago, when Deanna Gugel, writing for Brian Schmitz's Magic Basketblog, posted some preseason NBA rankings she gleaned from preview magazines. Athlon bore good news; Lindy's did not.

The same day, TSN Canada's Tim Chisholm wrote this fairly non-committal article about the Magic, in which he summarizes the offseason and predicts, "The last couple of playoffs spots in the East are going to be hard-won by whichever teams wind up with them," before writing that Dwight Howard is an "enviable presence" to have in a playoff race. He stops just short of saying the Magic will make the playoffs.

Not even a week later, ESPN's Marc Stein wrote that the Magic had the third-best offseason in the Eastern Conference, trailing only the Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons.

Today, Gugel posted more predictions, this time from the NBA annual published by The Sporting News in conjunction with Street & Smith. That publication has the Magic finishing in seventh in the conference, based on a mathematical formula. Our playoff opponent, according to that formula, would be -- are you ready for this? -- the Detroit Pistons. Like we haven't seen enough of them in the playoffs already.

If The Sporting News is to be believed, the Jameer Nelson and the Magic will have to endure another playoff series with the Pistons next April.
Photo by Gary W. Green, the Orlando Sentinel

But bloggers are having their say as well. ShamSports.com, irreverent as ever, writes that "the most realistic expectation" for the Magic is "a low playoff seed once again." A grim prediction, but one well worth reading, as it will make you laugh... and possibly cry.

Finally, Tom Ziller posted the Southeast Edition of his NBA Festivus series, complete with The Airing of Grievances and Festivus Miracles. It's the most positive assessment of the Magic yet, as it has them winning the division and getting the 4th playoff seed. Like ShamSports, it's an amusing and informed look ahead to the NBA season.

UPDATE - not long after I posted this entry, Black and Blue registered his season preview, which is also Magic-positive.

I'll try to update this post with preseason predictions from various news sources and blogs as they become available. Stay tuned.

Poll Results, New and Old

From time to time, I post a poll in the right sidebar of 3QC. In looking over some of my notes, I realized that I had taken some polls down without posting their results. With the exception of the top-most chart, which details the results of last week's question, these charts represent data collected well over a month ago. My bad.

So, in the interests of completeness and of full disclosure, here are the results, along with links to the entries to which they correspond:

Who do you want the Magic to sign as their 15th man?

  • Kevin Kruger, 10 votes
  • Torrell Martin, 5 votes
  • Bo Outlaw, 2 votes
  • Somebody else, 0 votes

Was signing Adonal Foyle a good move?
  • Yes, 8 votes
  • Kinda, 6 votes
  • Are you kidding? 0 votes
  • What's an Adonal? 1 vote

Would you trade Keyon Dooling and Pat Garrity to Denver for Reggie Evans and J.R. Smith?
  • Absolutely, 9 votes
  • Probably, 1 vote
  • I don't know, 3 votes
  • Probably not, 1 vote
  • Absolutely not, 0 votes

24 September 2007

Summer of 2007: An Orlando Magic Photo Album

Yesterday marked the official beginning of autumn, although you wouldn't know it based on the weather; it's still miserably humid outside. But now that summer's over, I thought I'd take a look back at the Magic's offseason activity. It was busy, tumultuous, and certainly not a vacation.

May 31st: Billy Donovan Hired as New Magic Coach

Photo by Red Huber, the Orlando Sentinel

June 6th: Magic Release Donovan from Contract, Allow Him to Return to Florida

Photo by Tim Casey

June 11th: Stan Van Gundy Hired as Newest Magic Coach

Photo by Fernando Medina, Getty Images

July 11th: Rashard Lewis Acquired From Seattle in Sign-And-Trade Deal

Photo by Fernando Medina, Getty Images

July 11th: Grant Hill Departs Orlando, Joins Phoenix

Photo by Jeramie McPeek, Suns Photos

July 12th: Magic Award Dwight Howard with Five-Year Contract Extension

Photo by Fernando Medina, Getty Images

July 17th: Darko Milicic Leaves Orlando, Signs with Memphis

Photo by Joe Murphy, Getty Images

August 24th: Magic Sign Adonal Foyle, Free-Agent Center

Photo by NBA.com

July 26th: Magic Sign Marcin Gortat, 2005 Draft Pick

Photo by NBA.com

So, there you have it: a pictorial look at the Magic's summer. I did my best to cover the major items, which is why these photos of some Magic players boxing, however amusing, didn't make the cut. The Magic's web site has its own photo gallery, which is worth checking out if you have some time to kill. It happens to include my all-time, non-action, favorite photo of a Magic player.

20 September 2007

Poof! FSN Makes Magic Disappear

Hardy-har-har-har, I know. It's a Thursday, I have a ton of schoolwork, and I need to entertain myself. Please forgive the entry title.

Anyway, there's still no agreement between Bright House Networks and Fox Sports Net to make Magic games viewable on basic cable. Earlier this summer, the Magic dumped their in-house production team to cut costs and awarded 35 of their games to FSN. But Bright House, the only cable-provider in the Central Florida area, wants FSN to be part of a "sports-tier package," which costs extra. Unless an agreement is reached soon, the Magic will be the only team in the thirty-team NBA that doesn't have free broadcasts of all its games. 42 of the Magic's games will be available on Sun Sports, which is free. But it's still a crappy situation.

And it just got crappier, as Tim Povtak reports (in not such strong language, I should add). Magic fans wanting to see how well Rashard Lewis fits in with Orlando are going to have to wait a while, because 11 of their first 16 games will be broadcast on FSN.

This issue couldn't come up at a worse time for the team. As the Sentinel reported weeks ago, Harris Rosen, a tremendous fill-in-the-blank, is trying to block construction of the team's new arena via a signature drive. To recap: if he gets the signatures he needs, approval of any sporting venue costing over $25 million will have to go public vote. The Orange County Commission is retaining lawyers and will fight Rosen, who's probably just bitter because the money is going to benefit THE CITIZENS OF ORLANDO rather than the fat-cats who stay at his I-Drive hotels. Rosen has an army of dedicated nincompoops followers going door-to-door to collect the signatures, and he's avoiding Maitland and Winter Park, cities with an apparently high concentration of Magic fans. Thus, a majority of the people who will receive visits from the signature-gatherers are fringe Magic fans at best. If they're currently on-the-fence on the Magic, might this current TV flap sway them to sign the petition? After all, why would the average resident want to pay for a new arena for a team that they can't even watch on TV?

Stop me if you've heard this one before: the Magic have gotten themselves into a huge mess, and their fans are suffering as a result.

In other news, the Bucks inexplicably matched the Heat's offer sheet to Charlie Bell, which will keep the disgruntled guard in Milwaukee despite his insistence that he doesn't want to play there. As a result, you can completely disregard this post I wrote a few days ago. Additionally, the Heat won't be adding defensive-stopper (and perfect Pat Riley player) Mickael Pietrus from Golden State because they couldn't put together a good enough trade package; shockingly, the offer of Jason Williams and Michael Doleac (remember him?) wasn't enough to make Chris Mullin OK the deal (Via Fanhouse). Thus, the Heat have had a mediocre offseason at best, and are no longer locks to make the postseason.

Forthcoming for the Magic is the start of training camp (Sept. 29th, a week from Saturday); Forthcoming of us at 3QC is a post regarding the fantasy value of some Magic players and a post or two in the starting lineup series, which I've managed to stall for over a week now. Maybe they'd be finished if I didn't have The Canterbury Tales to slog through.

18 September 2007

Sentinel: Magic invite Outlaw, Kruger, and Martin to Training Camp

Tim Povtak reported in this morning's Orlando Sentinel that Bo Outlaw, who was told earlier this summer that he didn't fit into the Magic's future plans, will join the team in training camp and will have a chance to compete for the team's fifteenth and final roster spot. Said GM Otis Smith, "It's just hard to say no to Bo." I just wish someone had shouted "No, Bo!" before Andrea Bargnani went and did this to him last season:

Joining Bo as non-roster invitees will be point guard Kevin Kruger and shooting guard Torrell Martin. Those two players averaged 8.8 points per game and 3.2 points per game, respectively, on the Magic's summer-league team. Complete statistics for that team can be downloaded in a PDF file by clicking here.

Given the Magic's cache of average-at-best big-men (Tony Battie, Adonal Foyle, Pat Garrity, James Augustine, Marcin Gortat), I think Outlaw's chances of making the team are slim. Of all the players, I think Kruger has the best odds. Sure, he'd be a third-string point guard, but his presence would allow the Magic to unload the expiring contracts of either Carlos Arroyo or Keyon Dooling in a trade. Torrell Martin has to be all but ruled-out; the Magic are thin at shooting guard, but not thin enough to warrant taking a flyer on him.

We'll see shortly how it all shakes out; camp begins on September 26th.

17 September 2007

Adonal Foyle is Awesome

I'm hardly the first person to say this, but there are few players in the NBA as likable as Adonal Foyle. Okay, he's never been much of a star, but he's just so freaking nice. I urge you to check out his official site, which, as Black and Blue pointed out, even features poetry by the Magic's newest acquisition. Additionally, Foyle runs a student-oriented political-participation website, Democracy Matters. Both of his sites are very professional and clean-cut... just like their founder.

What excites me most about Adonal is the prospect of seeing him make this face after a teammate's authoritative slam-dunk. And given that he's joining a team featuring Dwight Howard (the league's leader in throwdowns) and Trevor Ariza, I'd say the odds of seeing Adonal's "OH NO HE DIDN'T!" face are pretty damn high.

Finally, I thought I'd recommend Cooliris, my favorite browser plug-in. I use it when reading link-dump blog posts, as it allows me to view links without leaving the current page. Trust me: it's super convenient.

Rival Heat Make Offer to Charlie Bell

J.J. Redick has a broken hand.

That's the only Magic news that's come out since the death of Jameer Nelson's father two weeks ago. Given the dearth of Magic news, I'm forced to scan the internet for rumblings from the camps of our division rivals: the Hawks, Bobcats, Heat, and Wizards. Today, as Ira Winderman reports (thanks, TrueHoop), the Heat signed 28-year-old swingman Charlie Bell to a five-year, $18.5 million offer sheet. Because he is a restricted free-agent, the Milwaukee Bucks, the team for which he's played the last two seasons, have the right to match the Heat's offer and retain Bell.

The Bucks' Charlie Bell and the Magic's Hedo Turkoglu battle for a loose ball in a game from last season. Bell and Turkoglu will be seeing a lot of each other this season, as Bell will likely leave the Bucks to join Orlando's rival, the Miami Heat.
Photo by Darren Hauck, the Associated Press

It's hard to see why the Bucks would want to match the Heat's offer, given the contract's length Bell's explicit statement that he doesn't want to play in Milwaukee. So what does the Heat's acquisition of Bell mean for us? Charlie Bell is not a great player, but he's not a bad one, either. He'll exceed the departed Eddie Jones' scoring (9.5 points per game last season) and will probably soak up plenty of minutes at shooting guard. That means less playing time for Daequan Cook, the Heat's first-round draft choice this year; and for Penny Hardaway, whom we know well, the aging veteran with shaky knees attempting to make a comeback. I think it's safe to say that the Heat are better off when those two players aren't on the floor.

Will this move vault the Heat back into true title contention? Probably not, but it does bring them that much closer to catching Washington and -- ahem -- Orlando in the wide-open Southeast Division.