Ask Otis: January 21, 2011

By Otis Smith
January 21, 2011

Question: How come you always stand in that hallway no matter what arena your in? Can't they get a GM a chair! – Mike, Orlando

Otis: “I’m comfortable standing. I guess it’s nervous energy.”

Question: How do you teach and inspire leadership and growth in those around you? And what qualities do you value and think are important for success? Thank you for your time. – Ben

Otis: “I think it’s important to push people to grow. Sometimes, people get comfortable in their own skin and they are afraid to step out on their own. Timeliness is also huge for me. You can’t do anything if you are not on time. Ability to adapt to situations, whatever you may face, you have to be able to adapt. Also, ‘can’t do’ is not in the dictionary. You have to be willing to try and figure out different ways to do different things.”

Question: What two areas must this team improve to make a serious run at a championship? – Paul, Greenwich, CT

Otis: “I think you have to get better defensively; which we are. We also need to shoot free throws a lot better than we are as a team. When it comes down to the postseason the games are going to be pretty close.”

Question: Do you think we can get back to being one of the top defensive teams this season? – Scott, DeLand, FL

Otis: “I think so. I think all of our schemes are in place to do that. Any time you change personnel it takes a minute to catch up to doing what you are trying to do. A lot of our guys come from different programs that played defense in many different ways. We just have to get to that point.”

Question: How important is it for you to resign Jason Richardson in the offseason? Or do you feel we won't miss a beat with J.J. Redick as our starting 2? – Alex, Daytona Beach, FL

Otis: “I think you have to look at the whole team. The whole landscape to see which way the team goes. Do we value J-Rich? Yes, we do. We would like to keep him here as long as he wants to be here.”

Question: Do you think Dwight Howard's defensive dominance has sort of regressed this season? If so, do you think him focusing so much at the offensive end (establishing post-moves), practicing shooting free thows so much have played a factor or is it the many questionable calls by officials that have played a part? – Nick, Queens, NY

Otis: “I don’t have the answer to whether or not he is worried about all that stuff. When you add a lot of bodies to a system, it’s not quite the same. Foul trouble plays a big part in it. When you get into foul trouble you are less aggressive on the defensive end. I think he will pose the same threat down there whether he is blocking shots or not.”

Question: Did you consider waiting to trade Rashard Lewis and wait to see how he would have played next to Hedo Turkoglu? – Matt, Orange City

Otis: “No.”

Question: Have you considered trading Quentin Richardson, Chris Duhon or one of the other players currently not in the rotation to get a back up big man? – Vaughn

Otis: “No.”

Question: With all the talk about other teams attempting to acquire Carmelo Anthony, have you put any effort into trading for him or another superstar that could be a go-to scorer along side Dwight Howard? – John, Tampa

Otis: “No, I’m a general manager who is not doing his job (sarcasm).”

Question: Can you describe what your relationship is like with Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy? – Chris, Hong Kong

Otis: “We actually have a very good working relationship. I understand my job and he understands his job. Neither one of us are one of those guys who needs to meet everyday to talk about the objective for the day. We do that in the summertime. The objective is to win an NBA title and anything short of that is short. He understands that and we actually have a pretty good working relationship.”

Question: Do you think Gilbert Arenas can ever return to his All-Star form? And what does he and the team have to do to get him rolling? – Josh, Maitland

Otis: “I don’t think it’s a matter of him turning into his All-Star form. I think it’s a matter of being comfortable in the system. Anytime you trade players during the course of a season it’s always difficult. And it’s equally difficult for point guards and for someone who is used to playing in one system and then playing for a totally different structured system. Every guy that we acquired in the trade is going to have some difficulties. “

Question: Where does Jameer Nelson stand in your mind in being able to lead this team to a championship? – Orlando, Las Vegas

Otis: “I think he is equally important as any guy we have on our roster. When he is playing at a high level, the rest of the team plays at a high level. When he doesn’t, the team doesn’t. It is as simple as that.”

Question: Do you see Earl Clark as a young player who can earn significant minutes playing a certain role off the bench next season? – Jorge, Orlando

Otis: “I think Earl can play in this league. You take a young guy like that who needs to learn a new system. We went through the same thing with Brandon Bass a year ago. It just takes guys a while to get used to what we do on both ends of the floor.”

Question: Have you learned anything from watching the Cleveland Cavaliers and Denver Nuggets try and retain their superstars? – Brandon, Hampton, Virginia

Otis: “I think you look at everything, but you do your job the best you can. What I found interesting is that as General Managers, we want it one-sided. We want to be able to trade any player we want to trade, but then when a player goes somewhere else we want to be upset about it. It’s the business that we’re in. It’s a give-and-take system. Part of it is that you get a guy into your system. You get a guy comfortable with what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. You approach it like a man and hopefully at the end of the day, he finds this is the best place for him. Usually, that’s the case."

Question: How is Daniel Orton coming along as a rookie? Kevin, Orlando

Otis: "He’s coming along. Right now, he’s back into rehab after knee surgery. When he comes back, probably sometime after the All-Star break, later than that, I’m not sure we get him on the floor. Until then, he has to get strength in his leg."

Question: Do you feel the mid-season trade has made us legitimate title contenders? And after watching us play them, do you think we have what it takes to get past the Celtics and Heat in the East? – Marcus, Orlando

Otis: "I think the trades had to be made to keep us in title contention or I wouldn’t have made them. How do we stack up against the Celtics or any other team in our league? Probably better than most. They are a very good team, very well coached team. So are we. We’re going to beat each other brains out. What it comes down to in the postseason is a seven-game series. Then it’s a chess match."

Question: If you could change the team colors, what would they be? Alexis, Deltona

Otis: "Harley colors: Orange and black. (Laughs) I don’t know if I’d ever want to change the team colors. I think our team colors are fine the way they are."

Question: Are there any plans for Fran Vazquez to play for the Magic? After all, he was a high pick and would be a good fit in Stan Van Gundy's system paired with Dwight Howard. – Erik, Charlotte, NC

Otis: "Sure. Those are the conversations we’re having now. His contract is up. There are a few things that are keeping us in limbo too. The CBA has been the main one, probably the biggest one for him. Then from there, you just negotiate out from there. But we probably started talking to him seriously about it few months ago. But how we do it, that remains to be seen."