In light of tonight’s game against Orlando, I thought I’d seek out the guys over at Magic Basketball to ask about the state of their franchise. The affable Nate Drexler answered my inquiries.
Q: In under 25 years the Magic have had two MVP caliber centers force the team to send them elsewhere in their prime. Is there something inherently wrong about the ownership/city/Mickey Mouse/nightlife/groupies that make it difficult for superstars to stay in Orlando, or did the front office fail to give them a proper supporting cast so that they would want stay?
ND: I don’t think there is one rule that governs both situations. For Dwight, it was a combination of things. He hated Stan Van Gundy, has personality quirks that have rendered him a “diva” by all accounts, and did not have a dream-like supporting cast. Still, though, he loved Orlando for the community, the weather, the nightlife, and so on. The thing is, Los Angeles is a far cooler city in a far bigger market with a much higher probability to win championships. There’s just not much you can do about that. I think it speaks more to the swag of LA than it does the negatives of Orlando.
Q: The Magic are slated to have a top 5 pick in the next draft. Is there anyone you’re going to be watching closely during March Madness?
ND: Not really. I hate to be a negative Nancy, but I’m not seeing a ton of useful options coming up in this years’ draft. I like where the Magic sit right now, plenty of young talent and a lot of room to grow, but I don’t think there’s any one potential addition out there that is going to make a ton of change for this team. I’m looking at another development year before a big name gets added.
Q: Of these youngsters: Andrew Nicholson, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, E’Twaun Moore, Kyle O’Quinn, and Maurice Harkless; which are most likely to still be in Orlando when the Magic next make the playoffs?
ND: Moe Harkless. The city and team has embraced him, and it appears that Nikola Vucevic will simply be worth too much when his cheap contract expires in two years. At that point I think he’ll follow some bigger money. Harkless, on the other hand, will stay the course and continue improving as a defender, and will continue to be a lower salary player that the Magic can afford.
Q: [BONUS] The waitresses at the Waffle House on South Apopka Vineland Road will dance and sing if you play YMCA on the jukebox. Are all Orlando Waffle Houses that awesome?
ND: I can’t speak to the greatness of every Waffle House in the Orlando area, but I can say that Orlando’s restaurant game is second to very few. People tend to think of Mickey Mouse, Atlantis, and Cocoa Beach when they hear about Orlando, but the cuisine situation is worth the price of admission.