Things are starting to come together in Orlando.The 3′s are dropping at an alarming rate and the newly acquired “ART” trio is slowly getting into the swing of the offense (some a little slower than others) while scoring in general is coming a little easier. Winners of 7 straight games with a record of 23-12 and 4th in the suddenly top heavy Eastern Conference it would appear everything is ALRIGHT….Giggity giggity.
Cautious optimism would be wise for the Magic and their fans. Dwight Howard has continued to be dominant game after game but the number two guy on this team has yet to be clearly established. Jameer Nelson has seen his time fluctuate with the arrival of Gilbert Arenas and it appears Coach Van Gundy is judging playing time by game flow nightly at the point guard position. Jason Richardson has been number the 2 guy at almost every stop along his NBA career (Golden State, Charlotte, Phoenix) but has seemed reluctant to relish that role again with such strong personalities on the floor with him. Hedo Turkgolu is certainly making the strongest case and probably is the most logical choice especially filling that role for the Magic in his last stop in town. People around the league are beginning to wonder what exactly it is about the blue & and white uniform that allows Turkgolu to play well. While I will not profess to know the answer to that query, there is no disputing the fact that he is a better player in this uniform. That said Turkgolu is not the same player he was even if he has played better since arriving.
Running a Howard and a musical chair # 2 offense in the regular season should notch Orlando another 50 plus wins and a top 4 seed in the East but it will be imperative to gain consistency once the playoffs start. I don’t think Orlando is too concerned yet and the argument can be made that having all these offensive options mutes the need for clarity and defined roles. I would not buy that argument but it can be made.
If nothing else happens consistency must come from the point guard position. The Nelson/Arenas scenario has the potential for disaster and with the exception of the 110-95 win in Cleveland the two guards have yet to play well in the same game. Yet they have both played poorly on multiple occasions. Somebody has to step up here and Arenas is at a slight disadvantage since he comes off the bench. There are not many around the league that would argue who the better talent is (Arenas) but there is also no question as to who is the most stable (Nelson). Furthermore Otis Smith has to recognize the need for another big. The team has depth at the guard and wing position but still lacks depth behind Howard, although Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass are doing the best they can. All signs indicate that another trade is coming or that the team will sign a veteran big before the playoffs start. Chris Webber of NBA TV suggested the team look to acquire Portland’s Marcus Camby. Such a deal would be difficult under the salary cap unless RIchardson or Arenas were dealt away or a 3rd team were involved but is intriguing. Thanks Chris.
If you take into consideration the lack of practice time that this roster has has had to gel, 7 straight wins is pretty amazing. If and when the team addresses its lack of size more time will be needed to get that player (or players) acclimated. It remains to be seen if an elite team can get by in the playoffs with so many different players being added as the season progresses and no clearly defined # 2 option. Just ask Lebron James how that worked out for him in Cleveland. However this team is head and shoulders above and different from those Lebron led teams. Superman never had a sidekick in the comic books and maybe Howard doesn’t need one but just the committee of Orlando’s superfriends that can recognize when opposing teams are trying to apply kryptonite. That is a strong hypothetical that I hope Otis Smith and Van Gundy don’t believe in. Somebody cue up the bat signal in the Orlando locker room.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com