Magic fans should have been worried about the possibility of another loss.
When General Manager Rob Hennigan was asked during the season-ending interviews who would represent the Magic at the draft lottery, Hennigan said that decision had not been made.
Was he kidding?
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Everything else about the Magic has changed in the past year. But they already had their longtime lottery good luck charm sitting in their own offices.
Would the Magic dare tempt fate and send somebody not named Pat Williams?
I couldn't imagine who might make a better candidate, but I drew up a list of options recently just in case.
Coach Jacque Vaughn: Hasn't he suffered enough? Do the Magic want Jacque to appear before a national TV audience as coach of the team with the NBA's worst record? He could hide during the regular season because no one knew the Magic were still in the league. Hopefully, Vaughn will be on an island somewhere sipping a tall drink with a little umbrella.
Hennigan: Well, he'd certainly represent the Magic's new youthful makeover, given he could pass for a Wall Street lawyer. Captions will be needed during Hennigan's interview, however, once he starts using his pet code phrases "process-driven" or "probability realm." And he might just trade the right to the No. 1 pick on the spot for two ninth-graders with upside.
CEO Alex Martins: Martins might be able to politick the No. 1 choice into the Magic's laps, aligning those ping-pong balls just right with his power of persuasion. He twisted enough arms to get the arena built and keep the franchise in Orlando, didn't he?
Small forward Maurice Harkless: With the lottery draw at Disney/ABC Times Square Studios in the Big Apple, New York City native Harkless might provide the perfect karma. Plus, he played at St. John's. If the Magic's youngest player brings back the top pick, the team might let him stay up past his curfew to celebrate.
A lucky Magic fan: "A lucky Magic fan" sounds like an oxymoron. Unfortunately, this is the highlight of the year for the faithful. In reality, being in the lottery is a season-ticket holder's nightmare. But what a thrill it would be for the fan who effectively brings home the biggest win of the season.
Shaq: He was once a genie named Kazaam!, right?
As it turns out, there was no reason for concern.
Armed with the best chance to win the No. 1 pick in the draft, the Magic will go to their lottery bullpen and call on Williams, their dependable closer, to be one of the team's representatives for the May 21 event in New York.
Williams, the co-founding father, first general manager and current senior VP, has been ol' reliable when it comes to delivering a top pick.
He was present for the franchise winning in 1992 (Shaquille O'Neal), 1993 (Chris Webber, who was traded for Penny Hardaway) and 2004 (Dwight Howard). Can he make it four No. 1s?
No better choice than Williams. He's beaten lottery odds -- and blood cancer.
Change centers. Change GMs. Change coaches. Just don't change Pat's role.
Get on the bus
Magic players were each given a self-help book titled "The Energy Bus" at the end of the season.
The book, by Jon Gordon, essentially is about fueling positive energy in your life by hopping on the "bus."
Wait. The Magic didn't get enough from Vaughn, the Prince of Positivity? Goodness gracious and gosh darn, I was around Vaughn's sugar-coated speeches so much during a 20-win season that I got cavities.
Here's what one reviewer had to say: "The Energy Bus is more than a book. It is a great tool for building a winning team. Every team or person, who wants to be a champion, will face adversity. There are 'Energy Vampires' on every team. I use this book as a reference to assist me in turning a negative into a positive."
So said Doc Rivers, his team currently trailing the New York Vampires.
J.J. Redick headed north for a new job, and he might be watching his free-agent stock go south.
Redick's playing time has dropped significantly after he averaged 28 minutes in 28 games in the regular season.
He played 16 minutes in Game 1 (going 1-of-6); played just eight minutes in Game 2 (taking one shot); and played only seven minutes in the second half of Game 3 on Thursday night after scoring 11 in the first half.
"The rotation is the rotation," Redick told reporters.
J.J. doesn't sound thrilled with coach Jim Boylan. Boylan said before Game 3 that he had told J.J. to remain confident, but Redick said, "Jim never talked to me. He didn't say anything to me. I haven't spoken to him during the playoffs. I did not get that message.
"I don't need anybody telling me to be confident. I would have appreciated it. It wasn't a matter of Jim or my dad or my wife or God saying be confident."
No wonder J.J. is testy. An unproductive postseason could dim his value – projected to be about four years, $32 million.
This 'n' That
Thunder star Russell Westbrook is expected to have knee surgery in the next few days. Can we just ship Miami the trophy now? ... Don't you love the car commercial starring 7-foot-1, 325-pound Shaq? He has been talking about comfort – with his knees crammed against the steering wheel while it appears he's sitting in the back seat. … Looking at the Lakers, Kobe should demand to be amnestied.