For three weeks, the Orlando Sentinel is going through the Orlando Magic alphabetically, evaluating players, as well as coach Stan Van Gundy and General Manager Otis Smith, and assigning them grades for 2010-11.
Years as Magic GM: 5.
Contract status: Signed through 2012-13.
Praise: Smith is liked and respected in the locker room because he's willing to listen to his players' concerns while also being honest with them. He maintains a sound relationship with the team's captains, Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson, and those relationships help the team's chemistry overall. He's not afraid to pull the trigger on a blockbuster move, something Magic fans should appreciate even if his moves haven't always worked out.
Constructive criticism: Beginning with last year's draft, one could make the argument that every one of Smith's moves was unsuccessful. His first-round selection in last year's draft, Daniel Orton, never played (although he did receive some bad luck with a left knee injury). Smith's two free-agent signings, forward Quentin Richardson and Chris Duhon, were disappointments. Smith dealt Rashard Lewis and his mammoth contract for a hobbled Gilbert Arenas and an even worse contract, a move that's received much criticism from around the league. And the team's December trade with the Phoenix Suns, in which the Magic acquired Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark, wasn't enough to get the Magic out of the first round.
2010-11 grade*: D
The future: The Magic, under Smith's direction, are stuck with the league's second-largest payroll, an aging roster and few valuable trade assets with Howard's 2012 free-agency looming. While the Magic are still talented, it will take some nifty maneuvering for Smith to get the team back into NBA Finals contention. Magic owner Rich DeVos continues to give Smith a bottomless pool of money to play with, but the team's ownership will want some better results from their financial commitment.
*grades evaluate how a person did in his expected role.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times