Chat Trasncript: Assistant GM Dave Twardzik

For almost a year now, Dave Twardzik has been in his role as assistant general manager of the Orlando Magic. Bringing more than 30 years of professional basketball experience as a player, coach and front office executive, Twardzik has been a major asset in the Magic's push for a return to the playoffs.

Long before his front office days, Twardzik was a standout player in both the ABA and NBA. After spending four seasons with the ABA's Virginia Squires, the ABA and NBA merged and Twardzik joined the Trail Blazers where he helped lead Portland to the NBA title in 1976-77. He appeared in 280 career NBA regular season games with the Blazers and had his jersey number 13 retired by the club in 1981.

As the Magic gear up for the June 28 NBA Draft, Twardzik chatted live with fans on OrlandoMagic.com. See what Dave had to say about this year's Draft, the Magic's needs and much much more.


Brandon (Birmingham): Bottom line... What is the teams greatest need that can be filled in this years draft? Shooting? Speed on the wing? deepth inside?

Dave Twardzik: To address that, you have to look at DeShawn Stevenson's decision to opt out. That being the case, we'd need a two or a three. We feel pretty comfortable with our depth at the bigs.


Paul (Orlando): Did you have a chance to look at Ronnie Brewer for the upcoming draft? What's your opinion on him?

Dave Twardzik: We did have Brewer in, he was one of our first workouts. He has good size, is very athletic and has a good feel for the game. The biggest criticism of him is the mechanics of his shot, due to an injury he sustained to his right arm when he was young. But he's intriguing, because he can play the one, the two and the three.


Bill(Orlando): Whats the feelings on Ariza, he showed great hustle and heart when given time, so is he in the plains for the future?

Dave Twardzik: We like Trevor alot. We like the energy he brings. He shows versatility, can play multiple positions. He takes a great deal of pride in his defensive ability and offensively, he doesn't require you to run plays for him, he takes what he can get. This is a guy who can defend the two, the three and a little bit of the four.


Braden (Honolulu): Will the Magic be active in Free Agency?

Dave Twardzik: I don't think we'll be so active. Our big year may be the following the year, because of our cap number. This year, not so active, but we're looking forward to next year.


Fendi Lim (MLA, Philippines) : What do you think of Foye being compared to Wade? Are there any similarities between both of them?

Dave Twardzik: Well, it's extremely flattering for Foye as Dwyane Wade has proven to be one of the best players in our league. Foye is a bit smaller, but has a very good pro body. He's a tough defender. He's a bit undersized for the two, but his game is more of a two game than a point game. But he really competes, which we like.


Leigh - Chicago: Dave, You see many teams taking on a certain identity. They are either play tough defense or are driven by the speed of the fastbreak. What direction do you see the Magic heading?

Dave Twardzik: First off, you're seeing our league gravitate to being smaller. Years ago, every team needed a seven-foot center, and I don't see that anymore. I see teams playing smaller guys in the backcourt too. We had Jameer and Carlos Arroyo both in the backcourt last year, and other teams do it. With Coach Hill, our identity will be a very well prepared team, with a primary focus on the defensive end and then we'll want to run for easy baskets.


Deltona: Being a old Blazer fan, I wonder if anyone calls you "Pinball" anymore. I don't think anyone here relizes what a hell of a point guard you were.

Dave Twardzik: Ha-ha (Laughing) It's a very flattering question, but I wish you didn't bring up "Pinball." I was a decent player on a very good team. We played well together and our individuals also sacrificed for the well being of the team. I was fortunate to be on a very good team. I hope nobody in our office reads that Pinball comment!


Austin (Winter Park): Dave, first off, great job at GM these past 2 years. You and Otis have done an excellent job. Anyway, there hasn't been much about Grant Hill in the news lately. How's he been doing and what are his plans for the future right now?

Dave Twardzik: Good question. Grant is back in town and looks great. He was in Vancouver BC with a strength and conditioning coach. They are kinda working on rebuilding him athletically. He is working hard and has another year on his contract and we're all encouraged by his continued progress. We look forward to the chance that he can contribute to our team next season.


David (Jacksonville): What is the most important attribute that you look for in a player coming out of the draft.

Dave Twardzik: Our coaching staff and scouts put a premium on a players' basketball IQ. Does he have a good feel for the game? Coaches like players who understand the game and can think on the floor, as opposed to being told what to do on the floor. This game is so much about reacting to things on the floor, that basketball IQ is key.


John (Orlando): What do you think we can land in the second round? Any late surprises in this Draft?

Dave Twardzik: The second round is a place where you want the best guy available. We pick 41 and 44 so we are happy about that. It's hard to project what will be there, because even in the first six or seven picks of the first round, nobody really knows who will go where and in what order.


Danny NY: Hey! I was wondering, where do you see the team next year, like, do you see a nice playoff run, a championship, what?

Dave Twardzik: We're very encouraged with how we finished the year after we made our trades. The first goal, and you always re-evaluate your goals, is to make the playoffs. Then, once you make the playoffs, you want to win that first series. And so forth. We want to continue to build on what we started at the second half of last year and compete for a playoff spot and take it from there.

Dave Twardzik: We're happy with how we finished and performed last year, and we are really looking forward to camp. We think we're really gonna have a good year. Thanks for chatting and keep supporting the NBA and the Orlando Magic.