Who Makes the All-Star Team First for the Orlando Magic?

 

What does it take to be an All-star?  The first thing is marketability. There are a few Magic players that come to mind when we explore that possibility.

There are a few ways to make the NBA All-Star team. Being a popular player with highlights on ESPN every night will draw tons of votes from casual NBA fans. Putting up big numbers and being on an exciting team helps as well. Aside from the fans input, Coaches are able to fill out the bench for the All-Star team. For teams that do not get as much national television games this the way to crack the All-star team. There are a few Magic players that have the potential to make the All-Star team if the Orlando Magic continue to win.

Aaron Gordon

Aaron Gordon is the obvious choice for a lot of people. Gordon is a guy who can almost out jump everyone in the league. That in itself makes him stand out in a crowd. He also has been working on his jumper. Combine that with his ability to guard almost every position on the court sets him apart from everyone. Gordon is also the closest player on the team to being a household name at the moment.

Jonathon Simmons

Jonathon Simmons is a guy ready for a breakout season. He can be relied upon to guard the most elite wing players in the league. Simmons has been successful at guarding everyone from James Harden, LeBron James, Paul George, and Russel Westbrook. Much like Aaron Gordon he can guard almost every position on the court. While with the Spurs when LaMarcus Aldridge was injured, he stepped up and carried the load offensively and defensively. He’s a guy that is in the prime of his career and ready for the spotlight. He would be a guy the fans would love to see make the all-star team.

Jonathan Isaac

Jonathan Isaac is a guy who can play all 5 positions. Isaac can block shots, rebound and has quick hands on defense for stealing. To start the season off he might struggle at first picking up the offensive scheme during the game. But he is a skilled dribbler and has a nice set shot. Out of everyone on the team Isaac has the most upside. The fans are going to love this guy.

Elfrid Payton

Elfrid Payton is a guy that when he is on his game he is a force to be reckoned with. As he goes, so goes the Orlando Magic. Once the Magic adjusted their lineups and were in sync, Payton almost averaged a triple-double. When Payton is aggressive he is as good as any point guard in the game. The concerns about his 3 point shot is a little overstated. There have been other point guards who weren’t the best shooters but they were floor generals. Look at Tony Parker for example. While Parker may not be the most exciting player he always got the job done and yes he has made the All-star team multiple times.

5 Bold Predictions For The Orlando Magic During The 2017-18 Season

Terrence Ross

Terrance Ross is a dark horse. He is a guy who can guard and play multiple positions. He is a guy who could win the dunk contest(again) and the three-point contest. Ross is perhaps the most underrated passer on the team. With all the wing players for the Magic, it will be tough for Ross to stand out.

Evan Fournier

Fournier is a guy who when he is hot offensively he is hard to stop. Offensively there is almost nothing he can’t do. He is not a natural passer but he worked on it last season and improved that part of his game. He is not the best defender but he can be a nuisance in spurts on defense. Popularity outside of Orlando Magic fans and the country of France might not be there at the moment, but he could turn that corner.

Nikola Vucevic

Vucevic is currently second in the league in the MVP according to NBA Math. He is currently 17th in the league in scoring with 23.8 ppg as well as 17th in rebounding with almost 11 per game. Nikola Vucevic is one of the best passing bigs in the game today. There is virtually nothing he can’t do offensively, even shoot the three ball. The only knock on Vucevic is he is not a great defender. Numbers-wise, Vucevic should get the nod for an All-star selection this year, no doubt. The question for him as far as being an All-star is will the fans and media (outside of Orlando) notice. I think winning will solve a lot of those problems and the Magic are doing that now.

Overall the future looks bright for the Magic. There are many opportunities for the team to have a member suit up for the All-Star game. We’ll just have to see how it all plays out on the court.

The Orlando Magic Feel Disrespected and are Taking it Personal

For the past few seasons the Orlando Magic have been near the bottom of the league. The media and the rest of the NBA have them marked down as a win once schedules are revealed. The Magic players are tired of it.

When mentioning the Orlando Magic many do not consider the team a contender. In fact, most have no clue what the organization is doing. With no huge moves during the offseason, the same results are expected from outsiders. The over under on win total is a little better but not much.

“The Magic have been lost without a paddle in the past few years, and I’m not expecting that to change in 2017-18. Fresh off a 29-win campaign, the Magic have eclipsed the 32-win mark only once since 2012 and didn’t exactly make any major offseason moves to improve their status in the Eastern Conference.”

These sort of things are what’s making the Orlando Magic tick this season. Once signed, Arron Afflalo made it known that the Magic were not going to be an easy win for anyone this season. This is one of his many social media post showing how focused he and the Orlando Magic are.

Wartime

The Magic are ready to go to war versus the NBA, the media, and anyone who talks negative about the team. They will look at the guys they are facing on the other end as the enemy. Find out their weakness and exploit them. Dennis Smith Jr. was getting looks as a possible replacement for Elfrid Payton during this year’s draft. Many thought Orlando made the wrong pick by passing on Smith. For Payton and Isaac, those should be considered insults and drive them to prove doubters wrong.

Up Tempo Offense is About More Than Offense for the Orlando Magic

Last year when the Magic were facing off against a players ex team Coach Vogel would draw up plays for that player. This is common around the NBA and all sports really. When facing a team that traded you or didn’t think you were a good fit for them players tend to play a little harder. This season, every game versus every opponent the Magic need to take them all personal. Warlando is the slogan now.

During the preseason Dallas pulled just about their whole team to show how much respect they have for the Magic. They even left their head coach at home. When asked about opponents resting players against Orlando Jonathon Simmons had this to say.

National Media

On a recent episode of the Bill Simmons podcast the group had an interesting take on the Orlando Magic, to say the least. After criticizing the roster and a lack of improvement in the win column a bold statement was made. Joe House basically said that Orlando should not have a team. Nothing directed at the city of Orlando(whew), the criticism was focused on the roster moves since Dwight Howard’s departure. A similar statement was made by Michelle Beadle of ESPN’s SportsNation. These types of statements have to come to an end. The Orlando Magic hear them and will look to change the perception of the organization. It all starts with the players on the court, they have to take it personal.

 

 

 

Orlando Magic Notes: What is the next step for Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon?

The Orlando Magic are revving up the rebuild engines. If they truly are to turn the corner of their current rebuild process, they will need Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon to cement themselves as cornerstone pieces.

The Orlando Magic believe they have improved their roster heading into next season. The team has added eight new players this summer in an attempt to further the development of the team. They also have tenured players working hard this summer to expand their games. Of those tenured players, Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon are the two who must take the next step in expansion for the Magic to build off last season.

Elfrid Payton

Elfrid Payton had a season of mixed results last year. Payton saw his starting role relinquished twice in favor of inferior players. And twice he was able to regain his starter status. Amidst trade rumors, he finished the year on a statistical increase in points, rebounds, and assists. Payton is the Orlando Magic’s all-time triple-double leader. He trailed superstars Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, James Harden and up-and-comer Nikola Jokic in triple doubles last season at five on the year. Payton did not have the resources needed last year to improve his game. He desperately needed shooters and he started the year with a roster full of big men who lacked the ability to knock down perimeter shots. The only legitimate threats were Evan Fournier and Jodie Meeks — when he was healthy.

Elfrid Payton is naturally a pass first point guard. His strength is attacking the paint and breaking down defenses. He plays solid defense on the perimeter but needs to improve his ability to guard the pick and roll.

Elfrid Payton,Orlando Magic, Sports, Florida Sports, The Oliver's twist

What makes this coming year outlook so different with Payton is his performance after the all-star break last season. The cohesion and chemistry with the starting five improved vastly after the trade of forward Serge Ibaka. After figuring out everyone’s role and how coach Frank Vogel wanted the team to play, Payton was visibly more comfortable and began to play up to his forecasted potential that made him a lottery pick in 2013.

The Orlando Magic have a slew of other capable defenders such as Jonathon Simmons, Jonathan Isaac, and Aaron Gordon to help fight over pick and rolls and screens which should allow Payton to become more aggressive on defense

This summer he has been working with the likes of Chris Paul on improving his game and it should pay dividends for him this year.

Aaron Gordon

Aaron Gordon‘s career has been defined with injuries. Many Magic fans were getting frustrated with Gordon and his never-ending series of freak injuries. It seemed as if every year right before the season started he would endure an injury. Last season was about staying healthy for Aaron Gordon and starting the season on a positive note.

With the addition of Serge Ibaka, Aaron Gordon was anointed as the team’s starting small forward. While he showed signs of improvement as the season went on, he was clearly out of position. After the all-star break, the line-up changed and he was moved back to the power forward position exclusively. That’s where he displayed the playing style that got him to the NBA. Gordon excelled by using his size and athleticism to exploit mismatches. After the break, Gordon nearly averaged a double-double in points and rebounds.

Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic, Florida Sports, The Oliver's Twist

Aaron Gordon’s shooting woes, doomed him as a small forward. While capable of knocking down the three ball, he failed to do so efficiently. His current strengths, indicated he needed to be close to the basket. Recent indications are for Gordon to become a versatile stretch-four who can mix and match his court duties. The ideal scenario for Gordon is to develop into a more athletic Draymond Green type of player. He is surely capable of affecting the outcome of a game in multiple ways, and Orlando will surely want to see him take a leap in his game this season.

The Orlando Magic Should Experiment with Jonathan Isaac his First Year

The case for optimism

Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon have both been working hard to improve this summer. What both of these guys need is consistent coaching schemes and more defined roles — both of which should occur this season. Coach Frank Vogel still believes in both players being able to develop consistently into their late season forms from last year. The team added competition and veterans to the roster to help develop the young players and reach their full potential. Both Payton and Gordon came into the league billed full of untapped potential and as project players. The coaching staff behind Vogel excel at getting the most out of players. A second year in Orlando will bode well for everyone involved.

So the question is will both players make the splash that Orlando needs them to make this season?

Orlando Magic Notes: Could Jonathon Simmons Be The Orlando Magic Leader Next Season?

Last season, Evan Fournier was arguably the leader of the Orlando Magic. He wasn’t prepared to fill that role but he grew in to it as the season progressed. This year the Magic could look at Jonathon Simmons to lead the way.

This upcoming season the Orlando Magic have options. 

Might this be the year center Nikola Vucevic or guard Elfrid Payton truly step into the lime light of leadership? Or might fan favorite Aaron Gordon improve from last season’s play and establish this Orlando Magic team as his own?

Enter the names Jonathon Simmons and Shelvin Mack into the leader equation. Both are newcomers to the team this season and could provide a spark from a leader perspective. Of the two, Shelvin Mack is most leader ready. He has been on multiple winning teams. He has seen what it takes for a team to go from lottery bound to playoff sensation. The former situation becoming too familiar in Orlando. Simmons has had the privilege of learning his NBA habits from one of the leagues best players in Kawhi Leonard and future hall-of-fame coach, Greg Popovich.

After much thought and analysis, Simmons is the best man for the job.

After watching Jonathon Simmons play last season and throughout the playoffs, he could emerge as a quiet by nature but lead by example type of leader.

The argument can be made that Bismack Biyombo was expected to do more or less of the same when he was acquired last summer but to a certain degree, hardly anyone expected him to be anything more than a defensive presence. 

Listening to Simmons speak and watching him work out this summer, he appears primed to turn the corner in development.

He may not be a 20 point per game scorer this upcoming season but he will be the guy to challenge his team mates to perform better — on and off the court. He will accept the challenge of guarding the best opposing wing player night in and night out this season right alongside forward Aaron Gordon.

Mario Hezonja is Worth the Risk and the Orlando Magic Should Go All-In on Him This Season

Head coach Frank Vogel played stout defense with the Indiana Pacers. That concept will be adopted by the Magic heading into his second season with the team. But it all started with one guy who could play tough individual man defense.

The Orlando Magic will surely make playing defense the focal point in Orlando this season and Simmons is a guy who could fit in any lineup the Magic need him regardless of style of play.

Could he be the guy Orlando needs as a face of the franchise, who knows? Only time will truly tell. From the surface it’s clear that Simmons is hungry and ready to accept a larger role. It’s time the Magic roll the dice and see who they can be with Simmons as the leader.

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