10 Thoughts on the Orlando Magic in 2011-2012 (NBA Season Preview)

  1. The elephant in the room for this team is the keeping of Dwight Howard.  One has to assume he’ll be traded, as the Magic have huge, huge holes on their team and even with a top 3 player in the league, would need a miracle to get out of the second round of the playoffs.  While Dwight might like to stay, being bounced early again would surely change his mind.

 

  1. Meanwhile, the Nets are offering a great deal for Howard. Brook Lopez is good enough to man the middle and numerous draft picks will be a huge help in rebuilding.  Without Dwight, this is going to be a lottery team, even with Brook, and with numerous picks in the deepest draft in memory, the team could turn it around very quickly.  Of course, all those terrible contracts still don’t help (Glen Davis and Jason Richardson, I’m looking at you), but quality talent could make this a quick rebuild.

 

  1. The Lakers, meanwhile, are offering Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, but cannot find a way to take back Hedo Turkoglu unless a third team wants to help them.  Gason and Bynum surely keep the Magic in the playoffs, but without quality picks, it’s hard to see why these two would take the Magic further than they did the Lakers, especially without Kobe… the second round of the playoffs.  If Orlando really wants to be the Atlanta Hawks, though…

 

  1. I actually almost pity Jameer Nelson.  He’s a good point guard with a slightly overpriced prospect. He should be right around the middle of the league in efficiency, but there have been so many amazing talents at the 1 to come into the NBA that there’s really no way he can be what he looked like when he signed his contract.  Seriously, check this list of 1’s most teams would rather have than Jameer: Rose, Paul, Deron, Lowry, Westbrook, Nash, Conley, Rubio, Irving, Rondo, Tony Parker, Felton, Wall, Curry, Lawson, and Holiday.   And that leaves off any question marks like Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker, Jeff Teague, Baron Davis, and Jason Kidd.  That’s well over half the league surely better and another near third that’s arguably better!  Seriously, if he came into the league in the 90s, he’d have a far better reputation and career.

 

  1. Jason Richardson is a bit overpaid, especially given that he can’t create for himself and his explosiveness has taken a hit.  He’s also bad on defense.  Hedo can create for himself, but is horribly overpaid, terrible on defense and declining.  To fix these holes you really need another great player.  Glen Davis is not that player.  He’s a great help defender, but undersized and a mess on offense.  Oh, and, naturally, he’s overpaid.

 

  1. The real hope for this team, strangely enough, to keep Dwight and contend, is JJ Reddick. Now a good defender, somehow, there’s little reason he can’t be run around a ton of screens for a reasonably efficient offense.  Well, if he’s healthy, anyway… and his efficiency returns to previous levels… and the Magic brass realize this is a viable option.

 

  1. Stan Van Gundy is a great coach who has made a lot happen with a terrible roster besides Dwight.  It’s hard to imagine him keeping his job after this debacle, but, well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his next team overachieve.

 

  1. The rest of the roster is floor spacers.  That’s not bad when you have Dwight, but would some upside somewhere be too much to ask?

 

  1. A special shout out goes to Chris Duhon.  He’s got a nice long-term contract, which immediately upon signing he basically became unplayable.  Formerly at least solid, he lost his shot, stopped passing, starting turning the ball over and got fat.  At least his defense was still remotely respectable.

 

  1. This team has to trade Dwight.  I can’t imagine anyone staying in this situation with any leverage. This is a team that needs a new GM and a huge rebuild.  Package every bad deal possible out with Dwight and hope for lotto jackpot.

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