The Orlando Magic are 13-6 since their big trade that netted them Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson. Pretty good record and a slightly higher winning percentage (68 percent) than their overall season winning percentage (64). Included in those 19 games was a nine game winning streak, also pretty good. So things should be peachy keen, right?
Wrong. Last night, the Magic lost to the Pistons in Orlando, which brought out the negativity. Most notably from a certain superstar center who seems to be getting antsy about the talent surrounding him. From the Orlando Sentinel:
“Either we get it together or we’re just going to be a playoff team that doesn’t win a championship,” Magic center Dwight Howard said. [...]
“Guys have got to guard on the perimeter,” Howard said. “They’ve got to do a better job. It can’t be just one dribble to the basket every time.”
To be fair, losing to the Pistons — a team featuring 17 wins and a bunch of players who hate playing for the team — would be disheartening. But I kind of think Dwight is overreacting here. The Magic haven’t been great defensively in their last six games, but it was just two weeks ago that they were ending up a stretch of nine games where their opponents topped 95 points only twice. That’s good defense, man.
However, the first part is more troubling. Dwight being vocal about the Magic falling short in the playoffs isn’t very encouraging for this season’s prospects, and it’s even less so for the coming season. Entering the postseason with a defeatist attitude isn’t going to help win any games and actually losing in the playoffs could make Dwight resigned to his fate with the Magic. And an unhappy Dwight is one that might leave eventually. It’s basically the worst possible scenario for all Magic fans, and hearing the first inklings of it coming from their star player is especially worrisome.
Of course, the Magic have another 36 games to figure everything out before the playoffs, which is why I’m of the mind that Dwight kinda needs to chill out about this not winning a championship business. That’s quite a bit of time and the Magic just had a bad loss. It’s only natural that he’d be down on his team. But if this same sort of thing is happening in two months and Dwight’s still talking about how underwhelming the Magic are, then we’ve got problems.