Thursday, May 31, 2007
The Orlando Magic do not care for your recent basketball history
This might be the first "breaking news" post of this blog, but apparently the perpetually irrelevant Orlando Magic have signed Florida's Billy Donovan to a 5-year, $27.5 million contract. This is what one might call "long money." Now, I'm no historian, but could someone refresh my memory as to how many championships Mike Montgomery, Lon Kruger, Leonard Hamilton, Tim Floyd, and the gentleman directly to your left won in their respective storied NBA careers? What's that you say? None? None championships? Sounds about right. I'm too bored to look it up at the moment but I'm fairly certain that most if not all of those aforementioned fellows didn't even take a team to the playoffs. Now, this isn't to say Mr. Donovan won't buck this trend, just that it would be relatively surprising if he did. After all, remember the big to-do that was made when Larry Brown finally won an NBA title to go with his NCAA one? That's because nobody had fucking done it before, in sixty-some years of professional basketball and even more years of college ball. So let's just say the odds aren't too high on Billy D leading the Magic to the Promised Land. But hey, we reserve judgment.
That said, I could not help but think of the incredibly fabulous parallels between Billy D and his oft-linked mentor, Coach Rick "Success Is A Choice... Oh, fuck, wait..." Pitino. Now, you'd think this is one career move where Billy might want to steer clear of Rick's past trajectory, i.e. bolting for the NBA for sick money after winning an NCAA title and seeing a handful of your key players jump to the League. But no, Billy seems intent on following the Rickster all the way, precedent be damned.
One of Pitino's penchants while running the C's was bringing in dudes who played for him at Kentucky who weren't exactly burning up other team's scouting reports. On the plus side you had Walter McCarty, on the minus side you had Wayne Turner, flatly in between yet thoroughly undeserving of the sixth pick in the draft was Ron Mercer. So naturally, my mind started wandering about who we could fleece Donovan out of in exchange for the fifth pick, since he's naturally gonna be chomping at the bit to land Brewer, Noah or Horford and at least two if not all three of those guys should be available with this pick.
Unfortunately, I looked at Orlando's roster and guess what? It's fucking awful. The only two players they have who are remotely appealing are Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson. How beautifully Pitino-esque would it be if Donavan took, say, the number 5 and Pierce for Howard, then drafted Noah to replace him? Unfortunately absolutely no one, not even a Pitino disciple, is that stupidly arrogant, and apparently the salary numbers wouldn't even work there so why am I even talking about it, except that the prospect of Jefferson and Howard playing together makes me all tingly. That brings us to Jameer Nelson, who is a solid player but hardly worth the fifth pick.
My point in all this is that the Orlando Magic have an absolutely terrible roster. Aside from Howard and Nelson they had exactly two other players who averaged in double figures: Grant Hill's Corpse and Hedo Turkoglu, who is pretty much a picture of mediocrity and probably averaged 13 points a game simply because Howard was being double-teamed and fuck it, someone's gotta be open. The Celtics, on the other hand, had seven players average double figures. Granted, three of them missed fairly extended time for injuries (Tony Allen, Wally, and Pierce), but who cares? The Magic won almost twice as many games as the C's and made the playoffs. Seriously though, Doc's a great coach.