Saturday , Nov , 29 , 2003 C.Y. Ellis

The Not-so Magic Kingdom

After their worst start ever (1-14) the Orlando Magic fired Doc Rivers and replaced him with ex-76ers coach and Magic assistant Johnny Davis. The problems though for this once bright and optimistic franchise continue to fall. Ever since reaching the NBA Finals and being swept by Houston, Orlando has played like Mickey and Goofy were on their roster. But hope was again found in the Kingdom when Tracy McGrady came on the scene and electrified the NBA world, but while Magic fans flocked to T-Mac the other huge disappointments of the Magic front office continued to plague the team. Grant Hill came in and has played as many games in a Magic uniform as Shawn Kemp did last season, all the big name free agents the Magic seemed so confident they could allure (Jason Kidd, Tim Duncan, Gilbert Arenas etc.) have showed no interest and all went in another direction. The Magic traded away their #2 scorer last year in Mike Miller, receiving and unproven still trying to find his niche Drew Gooden; while Miller was no superstar he was a consistent proven scorer. Letting Darrell Armstrong leave in free agency hurt this team on the floor, with his 3-point accuracy and limitless energy, but hurt them even worse in the locker room, where he was the team leader.

The Not-so Magic KingdomNot to blame all the Magic’s troubles on front office moves because in the end it comes down to the players on the court performing. While few can argue McGrady has not lived up to his billing, he has yet to show that one true superstar quality, which is getting every player around him to play better. Jordan turned Pippen, Horace Grant, and John Paxson into superstars, Shaq did it with Penny and Kobe, and today a very young Carmelo Anthony is displaying that same winning team attitude in Denver that he had leading Syracuse to a national title. McGrady has yet to do that, he’s carried the team on his back, and them complained about it, but what he needs to do is put the whole franchise on his back and get a couple teammates to help him carry such a large load.

Other notes from around the NBA

— Bulls also axed their coach Bill Cartwright, putting Pete Myers in as interim, Scott Skiles is supposed to be the next coach there.

— Larry Brown made his un-popular return to Philly and watched his Pistons get beat-up by Atlantic leading 76ers.

— Paul Silas has more to worry about then Lebron’s minutes with Ira Newble and Ricky Davis (again, happened in Charlotte) both getting into it with the Cavs coach.

— Indiana has a NBA best 13-2 mark and are 7-0 on the road, Lakers, Dallas, and the Kings are all 8-0 at home while Cleveland is still winless on the road at 0-9 and 0-30 going back to last season.

— Other then Orlando is there right now a bigger disappointment then Minnesota’s revamped team at 8-7

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving