What hopes do all 16 teams have of hopping in the postseason driver's seat? Take a ride with NBA.com as we outline each team's Keys to Success.
After losing All-Star and surprise acquisition Grant Hill
at the beginning of the season, the Magic faced an uncertain future. Enter Tracy McGrady
. The youngster's rapid emergence has more than just the Magic Kingdom abuzz. McGrady is rumored to be up for a well-deserved Most Improved Player Award along with All-NBA honors, and he has at least been mentioned as an MVP candidate. McGrady is the team's top scorer (26.8ppg) and second-leading rebounder (7.5 rpg), but most importantly he has led the Magic back into the playoffs as the seventh seed.
In his fourth season with the Magic, Charles "Bo" Outlaw
has become the club's defensive specialist. He leads the team in blocks and rebounding, and ranks third in steals. Outlaw is the perfect defensive complement to McGrady's offensive firepower.
KEY IN THE KEY:
Despite important contributions from Michael Doleac
and Andrew DeClercq
, center John Amaechi
is the team's top low-post threat. Orlando needs production from their center to take pressure off of T-Mac and to open up the outside game.
KEY DISTRIBUTOR: Darrell Armstrong
is more than just the quarterback, he is the heart and soul of the team. Not only does he lead the team with 7.0 apg, but the team's captain makes sure Orlando's young stars -- McGrady and Rookie of the Year candidate Mike Miller -- have the ball in their hands when it counts. A strained groin could factor into his effectiveness in the postseason.
KEY WIN, KEY VID: With a 96-95 win at Philly on March 28, the Magic became the only team in the NBA to beat the Sixers twice at First Union Center. Topping the conference leaders at home gave the Magic much-needed confidence heading into the postseason. Plus, it gave T-Mac a chance to strut, his stuff, including a buzzer beater for the win, in an important game.
28.8+ | ISDN+
Forward Pat Garrity
provides instant offense off the bench and is a fearless shooter from long-range. Since getting the green light from coach Doc Rivers, Garrity -- who was a participant in this year's 1 800 CALL ATT Shootout during All-Star Weekend -- has given the Magic another option when the clock is winding down. He's also versatile enough to spell McGrady or Miller.
KEY LONG-RANGE GUNNER:
A local product who hails from the University of Florida, Magic rookie forward Mike Miller
has turned heads this year with his ability to produce from almost anywhere on the floor. The super-rookie strikes for 40.7% from beyond the arc, which is even more impressive considering he's able to keep his man honest with his driving ability.
KEY INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE:
With Grant Hill out for the season, young All-Star Tracy McGrady is all smiles about leading the Magic into the post season.
The Magic's "Key Win" over Philly did double-duty, in that it gave the team confidence and it secured McGrady's status as the "McMan." T-Mac had an answer for "the Answer" that night, notching a then-career-high 44 points (he since scored 49 against Washington), including the game-winner with 2.7 seconds remaining.
After being named Coach of the Year in his rookie year, Doc Rivers gets a playoff birth in his second season after coming "oh, so close ..." in 2000. With one of the youngest teams in the league, and one of his top players out for the year, coach Rivers proves that he has a little magic of his own in getting the best from his talented players.
T-Mac and Miller were the Magic's high-profile acquisitions coming into this season, but back-up point guard Troy Hudson
has given the team steady direction off the bench. Hudson has also come on strong lately, averaging 12.0 ppg and 5.4 apg over the Magic's final eight games of the season.
KEY TIDBIT: John Amaechi
, the first player from Great Britain to play in the NBA, owns his own tea company, the Amaechi Tea Company, which sells tea, teapots, teacups, and T-shirts. Orlando is hoping that "Meech" and the Magic can throw a little tea party of their own and make a run deep in the playoffs this year.