Cohen: Midseason Report Cards
By Josh Cohen
January 18, 2011
After reading a brief synopsis of how I think the Orlando Magic have done in each of the different categories, including team resilience, chemistry, defense, offense and attitude, vote on the grade you think the team deserves in each.
Also, vote on the grades you think some of the players deserve based on their performances thus far this season. VOTE HERE
A - Excellent; Absolutely sensational; Definitely at a championship level
B - Pretty good; Generally content with a few exceptions here and there; Still need some improvement if they want to win the title
C - Somewhat disappointed; Expect more consistency; Hope for improvement the rest of the season
Submit your grade and then see how your opinions compare with other Magic fans.
All season – pre and post two blockbuster trades – the Orlando Magic have shown to be resilient and durable.
Earlier in the year, the Magic staggered a few of their opponents with late-game heroic shots. Jameer Nelson connected on game-winning buckets against New Jersey and Indiana, while Dwight Howard secured a win for Orlando in the final seconds with a putback against Washington.
Most recently, the Magic have battled back from early first-quarter double-digit deficits to have opportunities to win games in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. During this recent road trip, Orlando erased first-half double-digit deficits against Oklahoma City and Boston before falling in the late stages.
What grade do you give the team's resilience at this point of the season?
Solidity and cohesion seemed to be absent prior to the deals. It had appeared that the energy and championship purpose had vanished from a unit that last season had so much chemistry and desire.
Since the trades, however, it looks as if everyone is happy playing with one another and that teamwork is the essence of their quest to become champions.
Largely due to the unselfishness of fan favorite Hedo Turkoglu, players are getting the opportunity to showcase their aptitude. During their recent franchise tying-high nine-game winning streak, at least five Magic players scored in double figures in each of the contests.
What grade do you give the team's chemistry at this point of the season?
Inconsistent and vacillating all season long, the Magic have not transformed into a stifling defensive power.
Unlike last season when it ranked fourth in points allowed and seemed to always put defense at the forefront of its goals, Orlando has not strung together a reliable defensive agenda this year.
While Stan Van Gundy continues to suggest that the Magic will remain focused on improving on that end of the floor, it is a little concerning that besides Dwight Howard, Orlando does not possess the personnel that have proven to be defensive stalwarts.
What grade do you give the team's defense at this point of the season?
Dwight Howard has evolved into a low-post machine with his enhanced options in the paint. He is averaging a career-best 22 points per game and lately has shown resolve at the free throw line. In Orlando’s last three games, D12 has shot 36-for-47 from the charity stripe.
Since the deals, moreover, Orlando has re-established its 3-point excellence. The Magic have buried at least 11 3-pointers in their last five games. Jason Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Hedo Turkoglu, J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson are all top-notch long distance shooters.
However, the most glaring weakness is the team’s struggle to penetrate to the rim. When Orlando acquired Gilbert Arenas from Washington last month, it was believed that he would be the replacement for Vince Carter, who generally served as the premier attacker at getting to the hoop. But Arenas has not demonstrated any explosiveness and still appears to be recovering from knee issues that plagued him over the last three seasons.
What grade do you give the team's offense at this point of the season?
Every player on the Magic believes this team as it is currently constructed is capable of capturing the NBA championship this season. Since training camp, the team recites the same message at the end of each practice and team huddle: Championship!
Dwight Howard was reportedly very happy with the trades that were made and seems to have rubbed his confidence onto the rest of the organization.
Just like everything else in life, as long as they remain confident and poised, the sky is the limit for this team.
What grade do you give the team's attitude at this point of the season?