Playoff Postmortem: Orlando Magic

Many times, Orlando has been referred to as the “Team of the Future.” They had that tag in the mid-90s with Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway plying their trade in the old O-Arena. They even beat MJ in the Playoffs once and were favored to win in the 1995 NBA Finals against an aging Houston Rockets team.

They were swept, however, and it was never the same again.

Ryan Anderson couldn't believe what happened. We could.
(image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Jameer Nelson and the Magic
are in a bind
(image by Mike Ehermann/Getty Images)
A year later Shaq moved to Los Angeles, and Penny eventually faded in Phoenix and elsewhere. The “Team of the Future” became a promise trapped in the past.

And history, funny how this always happens, appears to be repeating itself.

Dwight Howard plays Shaq, and perhaps Jameer Nelson is the closest Orlando has to what Penny was in his heyday. This edition of the Magic has seen many triumphs: an NBA Finals appearance in 2009 and Eastern Conference Finals in 2010. This was, for all intents and purposes, built as the “Team of the Future.”

Was Gilbert Arenas worth Rashard Lewis?
(image by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Then 2011 rolled in, and brand new mistakes were made to dampen that slick promise.

After their tour of duty in the 2009 NBA Finals, Orlando didn’t take back Hedo Turkoglu. They regretted it in 2010, and sought after him for 2011. They got him midstream, but he wasn’t the same. They also got Jason Richardson and some Earl Clark guy. Big deal those two. (Okay J-Rich is a threat, but at a career-low 13.9 scoring clip in the regular season, he doesn’t exactly make the opposition tremble)

Then they got rid of the underwhelming, but grossly overpaid, Rashard Lewis for… wait for it… drum roll please… another underwhelming, but grossly overpaid, player in Gilbert Arenas. Agent Zero has some off-court baggage as bonus, too! Oh joy.

It was a recipe for, well, I don’t really know, but it sure as hell wasn’t going to win a championship.

And now that Stan Van Gundy has some unexpected extra time to try and trim his waistline, everyone is left wondering again.
 Could Dwight Howard be pointing at a direction
away from Orlando?
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

What the hell happened to the Orlando Magic?!

It’ll be very interesting to see how things will change, as they SHOULD change, before 2011-2012 opens half a year from now. By all indications, next season might just see Orlando lose another franchise big man and get left in the doldrums. If, or when, that does happen, then no amount of magic can possibly save them.

Next Post »
0 Comment