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The Online Interview with Magic GM John Gabriel!

NBA.com: With the draft quickly approaching, what is the main focus for you and the organization?

Gabriel: There isn’t a team in the league that doesn’t use this time of the year to not only improve itself but breathe new life into the team and your fans by making a transaction and showing you’re moving in the direction of trying to win. The draft still is the lifeline of personnel moves for your franchise and will continue to be. The positive effects of the draft aren’t as quickly felt because of the youthfulness of the draft, i.e. “underclassmen declaring,” but maybe the injection of the European players will expedite that back.

NBA.com: What is your assessment of this draft in comparison to recent years?

Gabriel: The last two years, I’ve said the same thing… they mirror each other in that they’re maybe a little deeper than the past five years. You have such a bigger pool of players you are drawing from because underclassmen declare. This draft is no different. It will have its strengths in some undersized power forwards, power forwards and point guards.

NBA.com: You’ve already had some players in for private workouts. Do you have more scheduled before the draft comes around?

Gabriel: We will continue to bring in between 20-25 players, like we did last year for interviews and workouts. They’re going well, helping us to sift through. With only one pick, we don’t have to bring in quite as many as we did in previous years.

NBA.com: What do you look for from a potential selection when you bring him in for your private interview/workouts?

Gabriel: We would hope that these interviews are just used as finishing touches to the evaluation process that has gone on over a player’s collegiate career or European play. We will use them to look at some of the finer details, perhaps unseen in the evaluation process. For example, shooting, shooting range, consistency, actual physical stature of a person as you get to stand five inches from them for the first time vs. 35 feet.

NBA.com: How was the experience at the Chicago Draft camp this year?

Gabriel: It was good to see the other NBA teams in Chicago while evaluating what has turned out to be most of the second round and free agents of draft eligibility. Last year we enjoyed the luxury, if you will, of seeing our players in Chicago - Steve Hunter and Jeryl Sasser. This year, I’m not sure if our player was there, but it doesn’t mean we didn’t like some of the guys who performed well:

Udonis Haslem, 6-9 PF from Florida
Lonny Baxter, 6-8 PF from Maryland
Tito Maddox, 6-4 PG from Fresno State
Lynn Greer, 6-2 PG from Temple
Aaron McGhee, 6-8 PF from Oklahoma

NBA.com: How have the pre-draft camps changed in the last few years now that the players who know they are going to be high draft picks don’t want to participate in the games?

Gabriel: Pretty much everyone goes to get their physical done. It’s simply a waste for players to travel all over the country and be given 18 sets of x-rays by every team that sees them. But now only the late first-round and second round picks elect to play.

NBA.com: What are your feelings on Yao Ming and everything that Houston is going through to try to select him?

Gabriel: The whole thing is sort of fascinating. There seems to be fewer and fewer clear cut number one picks, so it’s nice when it does happen and it’s extra special when it’s a ‘big’ because there’s so few. I think history says it’s only one in every eight to ten years that there’s a clear number one pick and at that same time period that guy happens to be a big man. The drama to it all is that teams must cross the continent to see if he’ll even come.

NBA.com: Are you relieved you’re not in Houston’s shoes having to negotiate a deal with Yao and China?

Gabriel: Oh yeah. I’m so glad we don’t have to do that. It’s hard enough to make the right pick let alone coax his whole government to give him a hall pass to come play for us.

NBA.com: Free Agency starts up soon after the draft ends. How do you see the free agent market turning out this year?

Gabriel: I think you’ll see a little less player signings this year across team lines and more interest in trading players just because of the restrictions of taxation and the salary cap which have always been there in some form or fashion whether it be a tax or a team’s own budget level. I think we’ll see some things happen. We’ve always managed to play some role, even if it’s a small one in free agency, and we hope to do the same.

NBA.com: What are your goals in hopes to improve the team? Have they changed after seeing the quick turn-around teams in the East have been able to make like New Jersey and Boston?

Gabriel: We’ve always wanted to act as soon as possible. As in the past, we will look at possibilities of improving with all of our assets in ’02 vs. waiting for ’03, if it’s possible. We must also make sure that we don’t panic. When you lose a player like a Grant Hill, it has an effect on every other position and every other player. We like the chemistry on this team and we want to make sure that we don’t act in haste and make a move that hurts us down the line and lose the chemistry that this club slowly, slowly over the last three years, but carefully, has developed.

NBA.com: Is there a possibility the Magic may be involved in a trade to move up or down in the draft, or are you content with your current selection?

Gabriel: Yes. That doesn’t change. Our job is to listen to everything, know what’s going on in the league, start a trade of our own, be a part of three-way if possible, and we’ll do the same this year.

NBA.com: This July will mark the second year for the Magic Summer Pro League, what does that mean for the organization to have a summer league in it’s own backyard?

Gabriel: The summer league was very well received by the teams that participated last year, to the point where we’ve added two more clubs making it the third biggest summer league in the league next to Boston and Salt Lake City. We’re excited about it. It’s an unconventional format in that it’s a closed practice setting open only to the teams that are playing and other NBA teams for scouting. It’s a great working environment and we expect big things from Hunter and Sasser. We will then leave and go to Boston for five days the following week and play in the Shaw’s Summer Pro League.

special thanks to NBA.com!

What can we take from this interview.

Well a couple of things. One John probably already has something in the works to move up in the draft and I strongly believe in a draft movement for the Magic. Also the Magic are probably trying to get a late second round pick to get a big power forward like the Gators Udolnis Haslim.
 

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It's hillarious how they ask him about the draft in the past 2 years because the only real thing they have in common is that he has screwed us up when we had great draft picks ready and everything but offcourse he had to be Gabe and screw us up offcourse. One good thing I notice is that we have many players working out from PG to PF to C. It'll be interesting to see who we pick but really I see the favorites to be picked are Frank Williams or Amare Stoudamire.

He sure is releived to not be in Houston's spot because he would probably screw-up again and go for Juan Dixon because they won the NCAA championship. Hillarious stuff! :p

All in all, this Interview was dull & pointless. I read it on Magic.com and it just gives me more question marks about the draft, Gabe please dont mess this up man! :upset: :rolleyes:
 
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