How good is Magic shooting guard Grant Hill feeling at 34?
After Sunday's practice, Hill, 6 feet 8, stood directly underneath the basket and dunked off of one leg -- first his right, then his left.
He said he had improved the range of motion in his left ankle, which has undergone five surgeries.
Hill, who overcame a sports hernia injury this offseason, continued clowning around with assistant coach Morlon Wiley. They took turns tossing a ball high off a wall above a basket, catching it on the bounce and dunking it.
After one dunk, Hill landed solidly on the floor, flashing a big grin.
"OK, Grant . . ." General Manager Otis Smith said.
Smith shook his head and pointed Hill toward the locker room, his way of telling Hill to end the frivolity for his safety.
After draining at least a dozen consecutive 3-point shots, small forward Hedo Turkoglu said he'd love to be invited to the All-Star Weekend 3-point shooting contest in February in Las Vegas.
"I don't know how it works, how I get in there," Turkoglu said. "If they came to me, I'd go. It's fun."
Turkoglu led the Magic in 3-point attempts (283) and 3-pointers made (114) last season, but his .403 percentage ranked 22nd in the NBA.
Guard-forward Keith Bogans sat out his second consecutive practice with back spasms. Coach Brian Hill hopes Bogans can be ready for Wednesday's opener at home against Chicago. If Bogans can't go, Hill might need to de-activate him and activate rookie guard J.J. Redick. Hill said Redick, who is recovering from a left foot injury, is "getting closer." . . . On the flip side, forward Trevor Ariza (bruised right foot) is still a few weeks from actually playing in a game. . . . The Magic have sold out all single-game tickets for the Bulls game. However, tickets can be purchased through season-ticket plans that start as low as $40. For information, call 407-89-MAGIC.
Orlando Magic veteran Grant Hill is an authority on the art of the comeback.
So it was no surprise that he had a quick comeback when asked if it were fair that he had to defend speedy Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon in his first foray as a shooting guard.
"Is it fair that he has to guard me?" Hill retorted, then laughed. That was the competitor leaping out of Hill.
Hill begins his chase of smaller, faster prey this season when the Magic open against the Bulls on Wednesday night.
An adjustment on the defensive end likely will be Hill's largest challenge as he moves full-time from small forward for the first time in his career.
"I remember last year having to guard Vince Carter and Kobe [Bryant] [in successive games]," Hill said. "There's some great players at every position, whether it's the '2' [shooting guard] or the '3' [small forward].
"No matter what position you play, you can't hide. You just have to man-up."
Carter finished with 32 points, but Bryant had just 21.
It's an interesting tale-of-the-tape between Hill -- the injury-plagued seven-time all-star -- and Gordon -- the rising guard who finished the preseason with a 38-point game.
Unless the Bulls use Kirk Hinrich on Hill and Gordon on Jameer Nelson -- which is not likely -- they will count on Gordon's youth and quickness against Hill.
The Magic will counter with Hill's vast experience and size.
Gordon is just 23. At 34, Hill almost qualifies for a basketball AARP card. Hill can't make up the years. Nor will be able to catch up to Gordon, at times.
But Gordon is an undersized shooting guard at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, and Hill is a big shooting guard -- and this is where he can give the Bulls (and future opponents) matchup problems. At 6-8 and 235 pounds, Hill should be able to shoot over Gordon or post him up with ease.
Off the court, meanwhile, the Magic say they are negotiating with the Florida-based Ginn Co., a real-estate development company, to sign an arena naming-rights deal, but the club says nothing has been finalized.
According to Sports Business Journal, the Magic will announce a four-year deal worth about $8 million and rename the arena "Ginn Arena" and also have exclusive naming rights for the new arena.