Posts Tagged ‘Morris Almond’

Telling it like it is, in the NBA

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Yet another reason to like the job which Otis Smith [GM] has done, thus far?

NBA Countdown: No. 8 Orlando Magic
Reaching the NBA Finals for the first time in 14 years and second in franchise history was a wonderful accomplishment for the Orlando Magic-but there was no guarantee a championship would follow.The Magic will go into the 2009-10 season determined to defend their Eastern Conference title but looking different than when they won it. Yes, they still have All-Star center Dwight Howard as their foundation and high-priced Rashard Lewis (who’s suspended the first 10 games of the season after testing positive for an elevated testosterone level) shooting 3-pointers, but the Magic changed their late-game, go-to guy by switching from Turkoglu to Carter.

It’s why general manager Otis Smith didn’t take any bows, or even take the time to catch his breath.

And it’s also why he made one of the boldest moves of the summer, changing his carefully crafted team chemistry by trading for All-Star Vince Carter and letting go of free agent Hedo Turkoglu, a key player in Orlando’s recent rise.

“You can’t stand still in this league,” Smith said. “If you do, you’ll be going backward.”

The Magic also added free agents in power forward Brandon Bass from Dallas and small forward Matt Barnes of Phoenix. They even added point guard Jason Williams, who last played during 2007-08 with the Heat. Surprisingly, they kept backup center Marcin Gortat by matching the offer sheet Dallas gave him.

With the Celtics adding Rasheed Wallace and the Cavaliers trading for Shaquille O’Neal, the Magic tried to keep pace with the other serious contenders in the East.

There are less than seven teams every year that really are trying to win a championship in our league,” Smith said. “Those three (in the East) are trying to win now, as opposed to saying ‘We’re OK where we are. Let’s stay the status quo.’”


Otis Smith was hired by the Magic on May 6, 2006.

This is what the team’s roster looked like on that day:

Augmon, Stacey F
Battie, Tony PF-C
Cato, Kelvin C
Diener, Travis PG
Dooling, Keyon G
Francis, Steve G
Garrity, Pat PF
Hill, Grant G-F
Howard, Dwight C
Kasun, Mario C
Morris, Terence PF
Nelson, Jameer PG
Outlaw, Bo PF
Stevenson, DeShawn G
Turkoglu, Hedo F

This is what it looks like today, 41 months later:

Almond, Morris G
Anderson, Ryan PF
Barnes, Matt F
Bass, Brandon PF
Carter, Vince G-F
Foyle, Adonal C
Gortat, Marcin C
Howard, Dwight C
Johnson, Anthony PG
Johnson, Linton F
Lewis, Rashard F
Nelson, Jameer PG
Pietrus, Mickael G-F
Redick, JJ G
Williams, Jason PG

This is Orlando’s record of performance, since that date:

59-23/.720, 1st Atlantic, 3rd Eastern Conference, NBA Finalist 
52-30/.634, 1st Atlantic, 3rd Eastern Conference, Lost 2nd Rd
40-42/.488, 3rd Atlantic, 8th Eastern Conference, Lost 1st Rd

This was their record of performance the season before Smith arrived:

36-46/.439, 3rd Atlantic, 10th Eastern Conference, No Playoffs

3 full seasons into his tenure with the Magic, Otis Smith should be considered as one of the best GM’s in the NBA.


By way of comparison, for the benefit of Raptors fans, this is what Toronto has accomplished under the direction of Bryan Colangelo [2-time NBA EOTY award recipient] during this same time-frame:

2005-2006 Roster [Feb 28 2006]
Araujo, Rafael PF
Bonner, Matt PF
Bosh, Chris PF-C
Calderon, Jose PG
Davis, Antonio PF-C
Graham, Joey F
James, Mike PG
Martin, Darrick PG
Peterson, Morris G-F
Sow, Pape PF
Villanueva, Charlie F
Williams, Eric G-F
Woods, Loren C

2009-2010, Current Roster
Banks, Marcus G
Bargnani, Andrea C
Belinelli, Marco G-F
Bosh, Chris PF-C
Calderon, Jose PG
DeRozan, Demar G-F
Douby, Quincy G
Evans, Reggie PF
Jack, Jarrett G
Johnson, Amir PF
Nesterovic, Rasho PF-C
O’Bryant, Patrick C
Turkoglu, Hedo F
Weems, Sonny G-F
Wright, Antoine G-F

Year #1-3
33-49/.402, 4th Atlantic, 13th Eastern Conference, No Playoffs
41-41/.500, 2nd Atlantic, 6th Eastern Conference, Lost 1st Rd
47-35/.573, 1st Atlantic, 3rd Eastern Conference, Lost 1st Rd

Year Prior
27-55/.329, 4th Atlantic, 1st Eastern Conference, No Playoffs


In the NBA, the cold harsh reality is that there are only 2 distinct tiers of teams:

Tier 1
Those few that are actually trying to win the League Championship.

Tier 2
Everybody else.

Much R.E.S.P.E.C.T. to Otis Smith for “cutting to the chase” and improving the Orlando Magic each season, thus far.


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