I wanted to wait for some chaos to occur before I nitpicked this sacrilegious mess (no personal offense) of this Orlando Sentinel 64-player Magic tournament apart. It didn’t take that long for Indiana Hoosier fans to troll away at what appeared like harmless fun. We're witnessing nightmarish situations unfold. I talked about it on the radio with 740 the Game's Carson Ingle and Orlando Magic Daily's Phillip Rossman-Reich, but I wanted to get this down into post form as well.
First, let me say that the #1 seeds of Shaq, Dwight, McGrady, and Penny are correct. And that’s about it. I think the seeded top ranks should’ve been Dwight, Shaq, Penny, and Tracy, but that’s fine. And yes, Dwight would win my tournament. Now let's get to the meat of the arguments and controversy.
Victor Oladipo should never have been in this tourney.
And the #16 seed took down Penny at the start of the tourney. I don’t need to tell you about my soft spot for Hardaway. Victor will be great for this franchise, but he hasn’t earned a seed. Victor is about to knock off Darrell Armstrong to get into the 'Elite 8' thanks to a few Indiana message board sites imploring that they vote Oladipo to the top. Troll on, Hoosier faithful, troll on. I'm cheering on Victor to win the whole thing so this atrocity can be erased from the internet. And yes, I'm sure the Sentinel is happy about the extra web hits and the extra chatter being brought about with Victor's inclusion and domination, but you don't botch history and the importance of the past.
WHERE ARE RASHARD LEWIS, RAFER ALSTON, AND STEVE FRANCIS?!
Goodness. You've got Rafer who was a savior once Jameer got knocked out for what appeared to be the remainder of the '08-'09 season. Alston was a key factor in SVG's side getting to the Finals. Speaking of that 2009 postseason, you had Rashard Lewis being ultra clutch on quite a few occasions. Don't come back at me with the PED argument, because then why is Hedo in this? Oh, and Sweet Lew was an All-Star Game selection too. It's not like Orlando has had a boatload of those in its still brief history. Steve Francis needs to also be in this bracket. Yeah he went crazy, but he posted outstanding numbers during the mid-2000 rebuild before the keys were completely handed over to Dwight. Currently, Francis is the only point guard to ever average over 20 points per game as a teammate of Dwight's in a season.
Why are Jacque Vaughn and Tyronn Lue in the poll?
Because they're coaches now? They were at best sub-par during their stops in Orlando. Maybe Jacque can strive to be named after a region in the 35th anniversary bracket tournament.
Vucevic and Afflalo #5 seeds?
We all love Nik, and Arron has been decent, but you can't have those two in the poll and then ignore Tobias and Harkless. Consistency folks, we don't see any.
What's with adding 'big name' analysts Kenny Smith and Steve Kerr?
Kerr played half a season in '92-'93 and barely made an impact. Steve wasn't the sharpshooter we would come to know once he teamed up with Jordan. Kenny Smith's seed is numerically higher than the amount of games that he played (6) in pinstripes. He was washed up at this point, not far removed from when he ripped our hearts out in Game 1 of the '95 NBA Finals.
Who is too highly ranked?
Dennis Scott was a solid perimeter threat that broke a few records in his day, but he's more suited as a #4 seed than a second spot. Grant Hill at #2 as well? He needs to be no higher than four as well because he only played 200 games in 7 years and basically handicapped our franchise during that period of time. Jason Richardson put up some decent numbers, but the sixth seed was such a defensive disappointment and didn't come close to playing like he did in Phoenix. Glen Davis as a 6th seed is too kind, especially since Redick is the same ranking as well. Big Baby doesn't have the on-court evidence to back up what he can truly bring to a team seeking to compete. He's a hell of a quote machine though.
Who needs to get boosted higher?
Courtney Lee at #9 is a joke. He had one rookie season here but oh man what a season. From dunks to that epic mask, Leesus was the perfect fifth man during that Finals run. IT'S NOT HIS FAULT FOR GAME 2! KOBE FOULED HIM AND PAU COMMITTED GOALTENDING! Hedo Turkoglu should be a strong #2, not a three. Turk is the best small forward in Magic history, you treat him as such. Mickael Pietrus along with Courtney was the defensive anchor of those Stan Van Gundy deep playoff rosters. Peaches also found ways to produce some clutch and wacky buckets. Air France was beloved by the fan base and a twelve seed is a great injustice. Until Vucevic notches another solid season, Rony Seikaly is still the 3rd best center in franchise history. #6 seed is too low for Rony.
Other guys who need to get kicked out
Keith Bogans had way more facepalm moments (FOOT ON THE LINE EVERY TIME) than decent ones. Yeah we got KeBo on a few stints, but that doesn't mean you belong in the bracket. Quentin Richardson is a great guy (3-POINT AIR GUITARS!) but come on now. Q-Rich barely produced statistically. Gilbert Arenas isn't doing himself any favors by showing us how he's treating his Magic money. Ron Mercer I'd also give the ax too simply because I like Tariq Abdul-Wahad way more. Don't get me started on why I think Mark Price, Chris Gatling, Michael Ansley, and Kelvin Cato belong in the tournament too.
I won't be creating a bracket of my own. I'd definitely participate in a collaboration with other Magic media members though for sure. It's just frustrating that more effort doesn't get put into these things. It's just a cheap ploy for web hits and leaves casual fans constantly misinformed about our only (hopefully Orlando City changes this) major professional franchise.