Denton's Notebook: Training Camp Day 2


By John Denton
October 3, 2012

ORLANDO – Forced to miss the first training camp of his 14-year NBA career, new Orlando Magic forward Al Harrington said he’s been mostly miserable while sitting on the sideline watching the action on the court.

But if age and experience have taught the 32-year-old Harrington anything, it’s that he has to take care of his health if he wants to return to full strength later in the season.

Harrington, who was acquired from Denver in the four-team, 12-player deal centered around Dwight Howard, needed routine arthroscopic surgery on his knee following last season. However, a staph infection set in and Harrington needed three more procedures to clean out the damage in the knee. Team projections have the versatile forward back with the Magic and ready for game action by mid-December.

``It’s tough for me because this is the first time that I’ve ever missed a training camp. I was just thinking today while I was sitting on the side that it’s going to be tough for me to sit and watch this for a month,’’ said Harrington, while holding an air cast that he still wears to immobilize his leg. ``I’ve got to take it slow because I’m older now and I have to take care of my body. I have to be smarter to make sure that I don’t get out there too soon.’’

In his 14 NBA seasons, Harrington has played for six NBA teams (and the Pacers twice) and several head coaches. He’s had to adapt to several different offensive schemes and he sees no problem fitting into new Magic coach Jacque Vaughn’s system.

``Just watching the offense that we’re going to run, I’ve been in that before. Right now we’re playing a lot through the elbow (of the free throw lane) with three players on one side and two on the other. It’s a mental game and (Vaughn) wants everybody to make basketball plays,’’ Harrington said. ``I played in a system like that in Golden State and New York and even Denver’s offense is like that because George (Karl) doesn’t call a lot of plays. It’s a lot of fun playing free. There’s a lot of pressure on (point guard) Jameer (Nelson) because he has to decide where the ball is going to go. It should be fun and we have to make it happen.’’

MAGIC IN SPANISH: The Magic will televise 12 home games and one road game in Spanish during the 2012-13 season.

The Spanish-televised home games will be produced by Fox Sports Florida, while the road game will be produced by Fox Sports Southwest in Dallas. The first of 13 games televised in Spanish will be Nov. 9 versus the Brooklyn Nets.

Longtime Magic broadcaster Joey Colon, entering his 15th season with Orlando’s Spanish radio broadcasts, will handle the play-by-play duties for the television broadcasts. Spanish radio broadcasts will continue with all games in Spanish exclusively on the Magic’s Spanish website, ElOrlandoMagic.com. This is the first time the games will be broadcast on the team’s website site.

The other games being televised in Spanish are: Nov. 13 (Knicks); Nov. 25 (Celtics); Nov. 30 Nets; Dec. 29 (Raptors); Jan. 2 (Bulls); Jan. 5 (Knicks); Jan. 20 (Mavericks); Jan. 24 (Raptors); Feb. 10 (Trail Blazers); Feb. 20 (at Mavericks); March 10 (76ers); March 12 (Lakers).

In an effort to further connect to the growing Hispanic fan base in Central Florida, the Orlando Magic launched ElOrlandoMagic.com in October of 2010. The new-and-improved Spanish website serves as the official source for the Hispanic community. It features original content and coverage of the Magic, including in-depth game coverage, breaking news, features, video clips, photo galleries, podcasts, press releases and team information in Spanish.

BIG OPPORTUNITY: Justin Harper is a second-year player for the Magic, but this is his first training camp because of the NBA lockout that delayed last season.

Harper, a second-round draft pick in 2011, didn’t get many opportunities to play as a rookie after missing out on working out with the team in September and not having training camp in October. As a result he saw action in just 14 games last season, mostly during mop-up time in blowouts.

Now, Harper knows that he needs a big training camp to make the Magic roster this season.

``This is a big opportunity for me and it’s almost like starting out with a clean slate with new management and new coaches,’’ said Harper, a 6-foot-10 forward who has bulked up to 225 pounds. ``I’ve got to go out there with the mindset to work hard and prove how bad I want to be here. I have to carve a niche out for myself.’’

Harper has worked on his speed and quickness over the summer so that he can be versatile and guard both small forwards and power forwards.

ETC: Vaughn couldn’t have been more complimentary Wednesday morning of the Magic’s work through the first three practices. Said Vaughn: ``It was great today. The effort was unbelievable and their attention to detail was there. For me, that’s great to see right now.’’ … Near the end of Wednesday morning’s practice Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis was instructing Magic rookie forward Andrew Nicholson on defensive positioning. Instances like that, where the veterans are helping the younger players, makes Vaughn smile. ``The coaches don’t play and those guys have to see the situations on the court,’’ Vaughn said. ``Sometimes they see it faster than the coaches do. If they have an idea, I’m going to listen to it. We want the best solution and it doesn’t have to be my solution.’’ … Nicholson, the 19th overall draft pick of the first round of the June NBA Draft, spent most of his summer in Orlando readying himself for his first NBA training camp. Nicholson and fellow rookie Kyle O’Quinn are still learning rudimentary things such as the NBA’s three-second rule on defense and other dos and don’ts. Said Nicholson: ``It’s definitely a learning experience because you’re still a rookie. I’m still learning stuff that I never really knew about.’’

John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997. E-mail John at jdenton@orlandomagic.com or follow him on Twitter at @JohnDenton555.

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