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News » Orlando Magic Getting Inside 2008-07-11

Orlando Magic Getting Inside 2008-07-11

Orlando Magic Getting Inside 2008-07-11
The Orlando Magic went into the summer determined to strengthen their backcourt.

They have gotten off to a good start.

The Magic signed free agent shooting guard Mickael Pietrus from the Golden State Warriors, expecting him to slow down all the guards and small forwards that smoked them last season.

People like LeBron James, Rip Hamilton, Michael Redd and Dwyane Wade might not have such an easy time against them anymore.

They also drafted shooting guard Courtney Lee, a four-year starter with good defensive skills from Western Kentucky. The addition of those two led to the decision not to re-sign last year's starter Maurice Evans, a free agent who will go elsewhere.

It also meant they are unlikely to bring back free agent Keyon Dooling, who has spent the last three years as a backup at both guard positions.

Although the Magic first tried to sign point guard Chris Duhon, he left for the New York Knicks, giving Pietrus the opening he wanted. Instead of another point guard to work with Jameer Nelson, they switched to a shooting guard.

The addition of Pietrus and Lee does not bode well for guys like Keith Bogans and J.J. Redick, shooting guards who may not be around when next season starts. Bogans was the starter early last season, but he lost his job to Evans, who has lost his job now to Pietrus.

The Magic believe that Lee could end their string of bad middle-of-the-first-round draft picks that have included Redick (No. 11, 2006), Fran Vazquez (No. 11, 2005), Reece Gaines (No. 15, 2003), Ryan Humphrey (No. 19, 2002), Steven Hunter (No. 15, 2001) Jeryl Sasser (No. 22, 2001) and Johnny Taylor (No. 17, 1997).

The Magic are trying to continue their rise in the Eastern Conference, following their finest season in 12 years. They won 52 games and reached the second round of the playoffs before losing to the Detroit Pistons this spring.

They believe that the continued maturity of a young nucleus -- particularly Dwight Howard -- and the re-arranging of the backcourt will allow the team to take the next step.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: July 11, 2008


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