Lots of negativity around the Magic (I have some more coming later). Rumors are flying. Everyone is trying to guess who the next coach and GM will be. Everyone is trying to figure out what Orlando is going to do with Dwight Howard.
Yeah... we will get to those. We have a whole summer (or until the Draft, if you believe some reports) to deal with that.
Here at Orlando Magic Daily, we are still somewhat putting a bow on the 2011-12 season. I will be getting back to the What Went Right/Wrong analysis tomorrow (or this weekend). There is a lot going on.
Finally there is some news worth celebrating... or, at least, politely applauding.
Dwight Howard was named to his fifth consecutive All-Defensive First Team, beating out Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler for the center spot. Howard followed that up, getting named to his fifth consecutive All-NBA First Team, edging out Andrew Bynum and garnering the majority of first team votes despite what many would agree was a somewhat disappointing season for him (both on and off the floor).
I plan on doing a little more deconstructing Howard's season in the very near future as part of the What Went Right/Wrong season. It is still hard to argue with these accolades for Howard.
Howard averaged 20.6 points per game, marking just the second time in his career that he averaged 20 points per game in back to back seasons. He led the league in rebounding with 14.5 rebounds per game, marking the fourth time in five years he led the league in this mark. His PER was a very respectable 24.2. And even though he seemed a bit off (whether it was off-court distractions or whatever), he was still a pretty darn good player and defender.
For sure, even though this was a down year for Howard, he earned the accolades he received from the league the last two days.
Howard was joined on the All-Defensive First Team by LeBron James, Serge Ibaka, Chris Paul and Tony Allen. The All-Defensive teams are voted on by the coaches while the Defensive Player of the Year is voted on the media, at least somewhat explaining why Chandler was on the second team despite winning the league's official Defensive Player of the Year Award -- deservedly so too.
Howard received 16 first team votes and appeared on 25 of the 30 ballots in the league (I do not believe Stan Van Gundy could vote for a player on his own team... but I might be wrong). Chandler had the other 13 first team votes.
Howard was joined on the All-NBA First Team by LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. Howard received 75 of 120 first place votes, as voted on by the media.
In other award news, the franchise can be very happy that it will definitely be returning one award winner.
Amway Center won Facility of the Year at the Sports Business Awards, topping Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City and the Superdome in New Orleans.
"We are extremely honored and humbled that Amway Center has been named as the best sports facility in the nation for 2012," Orlando Magic Chief Executive Officer Alex Martins said in a press release. "The judges have recognized that the facility has been designed and operated with the patron in mind first. We thank Street and Smith's for this honor and congratulate all of the other very worthy finalists on the success of their facility."
Indeed, Amway Center had a fantastic second season. The building once again sold out every home game (on paper at least) and the lower bowl was filled a little bit earlier in the second half. OK, so Magic fans have not shed their wine and cheese crowd label quite yet -- the Magic had to produce a video that played at the end of halftime urging fans to return to their seats. But that actually might be one of the reasons the arena won the award. It is still the flashiest and best arena in the league.
It showed itself off when it hosted its first All Star Game in late February. The arena was very much the star of the weekend as players and staff came away impressed (why they could not have the soft serve machine on in the media workroom that weekend was the only disappointment).
We will see what happens in Amway Center's third year.
"To have the Amway Center recognized as the 'Sports Facility of the Year' is a testament to the vision, tireless support and triumphant spirit of the Orlando community," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "Receiving this coveted award is not only incredibly gratifying but further proof that teamwork makes it all possible."
And that was the good news. Back to rumors and whispers now, kids.