44-38 (Tom), 50-32 (Gil)
Last Year’s Record
Orlando made the biggest free-agent splash in the off-season, if you consider wildly overpaying for a limited player to be a big splash. The Magic brought in Rashard Lewis, who will — like Jason Richardson in Charlotte — post selfishly good numbers. He might even help the team get some more wins, since they sure could use some scoring punch. But I think the signing of Stan Van Gundy as coach will help this team a lot more, since they can really use some sorta defense.
The Lewis signing showed that Orlando GM Otis Smith doesn’t exactly know the rules of his job, since he ended up offering a needless extra year and waiving one of his trade assets. That asset was Darko Milicic, who was selected between LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony and is now on his third team. Of course, Darko’s the only one of the three to have a championship ring, so hey.
Dwight Howard got robbed in the slam-dunk contest last year and, while he still doesn’t play much one-on-one defense and has few offensive skills, he’s a rebounding beast who will benefit from having a designated scorer on the court in Lewis. I bet they take the Southeast title, for what it’s worth, and Stan Van Gundy laughs as Miami struggles to clinch a playoff spot.
Rejoinder From Tom
Seventy-five years from now, the double-brother Van Gundy coaching success era will baffle sport historians, driving much of sports talk radio not devoted to effective fighting methods against roaming bands of cannibalistic vampires.
Gratuitous Comics Connection
Orlando’s best comic shop is called “A Comic Shop.”
Gratuitous Pharma Connection
Orlando hosted last year’s International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering annual meeting.
The Bottom Line
Adonal Foyle and Bo Outlaw will have contests to see who can miss the most free throws. –GR