Wednesday, May 23, 2018

To win or not to win, that is the Magic's question

Rob, psst. Over here. It's me. Guy with the pointy ears and pitchfork. The NBA Devil.

Yeah, sorry the room temperature got a little warm. I've been down in Georgia, where I was looking for a shooting guard to steal.

I brought along the Mrs. — she's over there in the blue dress — and some of my trademark chocolate cake. Have some.

With the all-star break over, I just dropped down on your shoulder to persuade you to blow up your plan with the Magic.

Forget about the draft lottery and try to make a run at the playoffs! It's not too late, Rob. It's never too late in the Eastern Conference.

If playing in the East isn't being stuck in purgatory, I don't know what is.

Look at these teams — the Bucks, Celtics, 76ers, Cavaliers. Stick a fork in 'em. A little devilish humor!

The Magic are just 7 1/2 games out of the No. 8 spot. You still have 28 games left.

You can catch the Charlotte Bobcats. I'll talk to Bobcats owner Michael Jordan. He lost more than a few bets playing liar's poker with me. Never been a big fan of that Tar Heel because I follow the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest.

Look, Rob, the Magic just beat Oklahoma City, the best team in the West, and Indiana, the best team in the East.

You have enough veterans who've been to the postseason: Arron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson, Big Baby Davis. You have the Young Guns. I love Nik Vucevic and Victor Oladipo. Oladipo is my favorite; he plays like a man possessed.

Your team is hot, which I love, because I'm never a fan of any kind of draft. All this losing to get one of the best college players makes no sense. The worst team hardly ever wins the lottery.

The Magic had the worst record last year and didn't get the top pick, so I'll accept losing when my place freezes over.

There's still time to turn this thing around. People who buy tickets love winning, you know.

Have Jacque Vaughn shorten the rotation, get the ball more to Vooch, run with Oladipo and order Afflalo to take the late clutch shots.

You can do it, Rob. I'm sure you can work it out. Take it from the devil: It's the little things.

I'm in the details.

P.S: I want to apologize about Dwight Howard leaving. The Lakers made me do it.

Hello, Mr. Hennigan. It's me. Your guy with the halo, accompanied by the harp music. The NBA Angel.

Thank you for seeing me. I'm heaven-sent. Just left my pearly gated community.

I see you've eaten some devil's food cake. Here, try some of the cake named after me.

May I sit on your shoulder while we chat?

The reason I made an appointment is to politely remind you to stay on the path to the draft lottery, Mr. Hennigan.

Don't let anybody else get in your ear.

Sure, you've beaten the Thunder and the Pacers. You're on a little roll. That's so nice.

Think some happy thoughts. Hark, the herald angels sing and all that. It's great for the fans, Mr. Hennigan, that the Magic showed they could win against the best teams, especially at home.

But don't lose sight of what could be at the end of the rainbow: Your next star.

I've heard NBA executives praise Jabari Parker (even though he is a Blue Devil). I've read the scouting reports on Andrew Wiggins. You don't need an angel to tell you that you need a wing.

Joel Embiid, Julius Randle and Dante Exum are sure to make terrific pro players. This is the top draft class since 2003 with LeBron and D-Wade and 'Melo.

Looks as if you're never quite out of the Eastern Conference race, but there's no reason to make any kind of playoff push now.

It makes no sense to win 30 games only to miss the postseason — and miss out on the best college players.

Get carried away with too much of this winning stuff, and you could cost yourself ping-pong balls.

Remember, Mr. Hennigan, it's like you have told Magic faithful: Please, have patience with all the losing, enjoy the process and renew your season tickets. If heaven can wait, so can your fans if they want you to build a contender from scratch.

You and your young coach, Jacque Vaughn, have done great work with young people. You're developing more kids than Sesame Street.

The rest of the season, these next 28 games, should focus on Victor Oladipo, Nik Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless, Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O'Quinn and Justin Bieber.

Stick to the blueprint, Mr. Hennigan.

P.S: I want to apologize about Dwight Howard leaving. I thought he wanted to go to the City of Angels with me just for the weekend. — Orlando Sentinel

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