Hedo Tukoglu (15) has seemed to be a rejuvenated player ever since getting back into the Orlando fold, averaging 12.2 points and 5.2 assists in six games with the Magic. The reason for the change? Maybe it's 'ball.' (Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
It might be that Orlando has impressed with their recent trades or that I really just miss visiting Mickey Mouse this summer in Florida, but this week's thoughts from Press Row have a strong focus on the Orlando Magic.Big Turk returns
If I'm a Toronto Raptors fan, I'm ticked off. If I'm a Phoenix Suns fan, I'm scratching my head. If I'm an Orlando Magic fan, I'm skipping down the street, grinning from to ear to ear. Within hours of being shipped from the desert to the Magic Kingdom, Hedo Turkoglu seems to have seen the light and has become a re-born NBA'er.
After a couple seasons of packing it in and cashing in on a brand-new contract (5 years, $53 million US) with the Raptors and Suns, Turk finally seems to be back to the versatile point-forward who was such a valuable commodity to Orlando's NBA Finals run back in 2008-2009.
He's averaging 12.2 points and 5.2 assists in six games with the Magic, which is significantly up from his forgettable, short-lived Phoenix-era (9.5 points, 2.3 assists). But, what's most noticeably different about Turkoglu is his confidence and swagger. If you caught the Boston/Orlando game on Christmas, it was pretty evident that the 31-year old is a completely different player. He didn't hesitate to shoot from downtown, he created his own shots, and most importantly created open looks for his teammates, basically all the things he was supposed to do here in Toronto. Never happened.
His comfort level is only going to rise - as will the blood pressure of Raps and Suns fans simultaneously. I really believe Turkoglu will once again be a major factor in the playoffs for a very good, revamped Orlando Magic team.Vinsanity
Call me Vin-sane, but I think we could see glimpses of the old Vince Carter over the 2nd half of the NBA season. Once again, you can call me Vin-sane. It seems Carter has trailed off into the sunset, as a new generation of superstars have emerged in the Association.
Now, let me clarify. When I say glimpses, I don't mean the electrifying, young, jump over a French dude, slam-dunk champion Vince Carter. I'm talking about the guy who was one of the league's most consistent scorers for a period of time with the New Jersey Nets. Those Nets' teams are similar to the Phoenix Suns right now. Decent teams, with a lack of inside presence, so Carter will get plenty of looks from the outside and when cutting into the lane.
In my opinion, he's an upgrade from Jason Richardson for the Suns. Carter has plenty more tools in his arsenal than J-Rich, and plenty more motivation. He's averaging just 15.1 points per-game, which is the lowest of his career.
People have written him off. Call me over-optimistic, but with the combination of Steve Nash and a run-and-gun offence, Carter should be able to boost his numbers a few percentile points at the least.
Disclaimer: Now that I have reluctantly put my faith in VC, he will likely be hobbling on the floor with a busted ankle in the very near future.
Here comes Camby?
Sticking with the Orlando theme, I've heard and read about rumours suggesting that Portland's Marcus Camby may be heading over to the Magic. I love that move - if it happens. Camby epitomizes what it means to be a true team player.
He does all the dirty work (grabbing rebounds, hitting the floor, taking charges), without searching for any recognition. The 2nd overall pick from the 1996 NBA Draft has 15 years of experience, including an NBA Finals run with the New York Knicks -- which could be integral for this Orlando team.
At 36 years of age, Camby is still earning his keep, averaging 6.3 points and 10.9 rebounds a game. Outstanding numbers for a guy who plays in such a physical position. Imagine the lanky centre coming off the bench to relieve Dwight Howard and then at time playing alongside him, to give the Magic a longer, more intimidating front-court. That would certainly help their chances against the Boston Celtics during a deep-playoff run.
Whether Camby wants to move is one thing, but if this deals go through, the Orlando Magic will be the deepest squad in the East, and the team to beat in the conference.
Back to accessibility links