NEW YORK, Reuters
Depending on how you look at it, the Orlando Magic could be picking up 30 years of experience or 75 years of age.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, center Patrick Ewing, a future Hall of Famer who turns 39 early next month, is coming to Orlando and 36-year-old power forward Horace Grant, a four-time NBA champion, is likely to join him.
Their experience and size could help the Magic.
And in return, the healing sunshine in Florida, the state named by Ponce de Leon as he sought the Fountain of Youth, could also help Ewing — or so point guard Darrell Armstrong believes.
“Patrick can give us an inside presence, something we haven’t had the last couple years,” Armstrong told the Sentinel. “It’s a good opportunity for him.
“Playing with Tracy McGrady, Grant Hill, Mike Miller, in the environment we have here, all the sunshine, it will make him a young man again — at least for 10 days,” he joked.
Last season, the Magic were carried by McGrady, their 22-year-old blooming superstar, with help from Armstrong, a rejuvenated 31-year-old point guard, and 21-year-old, second-year swingman Mike Miller, still feeling his way.
Grant Hill, a 28-year-old established superstar with the Detroit Pistons, played only four games for Orlando last season due to an ankle injury, but has promised to be “100 percent” next season. And coach Doc Rivers, a former teammate of Ewing’s, already had the no-name team members scrambling and overachieving even before McGrady’s advent.
McGrady was the seventh leading scorer in the NBA last seson at 26.8 points a game. He made the third most shots (788) and took the fourth most (1,724). All too often, in other words, he was the entire Orlando offense.
Hill all too often was in the same situation with Detroit. It remains to be seen if they can share the ball but in Armstrong they have a floor general who can get them the ball.
Armstrong, a starter the past two seasons, set career highs of 7.0 assists and 36.9 minutes a game last season while averaging around 16 points a game both years.
On draft day last month, Orlando added two rookie 7-foot (2.13 metres) centers, making Steven Hunter of DePaul the 15th pick and trading Michael Doleac to Cleveland for 20th pick Brendan Haywood out of North Carolina.