Magic honor long-shot Armstrong

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Darrell Armstrong, a guy who was never supposed to make it in the NBA, will be honored by the Orlando Magic tonight.

Armstrong, now a Mavericks assistant coach, got a free-agent tryout with the Magic after bouncing around various alphabet-soup minor leagues. He stuck around Orlando for nine seasons, several as the Magic's starting point guard.

"When I finally got the opportunity, I took advantage of it," Armstrong said. "I always told people that if you give me five minutes, I’ll make it 10 minutes. If you give me 10 minutes, I can make it 20. That’s what I did with my career."

Armstrong, who was hired by the Mavs in the middle of last season, has taken the same approach as a coach.

His long-term goal is to become a head coach, and he believes working on Rick Carlisle's staff along with ex-head coaches Terry Stotts and Dwane Casey will help make that happen. His short-term goal is to get the Mavs to play as hard as he did.

Actually, make that play as hard as Armstrong does. Armstrong, whose 14-year career ended in 2008, occasionally practices with the Mavs when they're short on healthy bodies.

"The level of energy goes up one or two notches when he goes out there," Carlisle said. "He has a lot of the same things he had as a player -- great energy, great love and respect for the game, intensity. When Darrell’s around, you know he’s around. You feel his presence. His voice cuts through the debris."