Posts Tagged ‘Orlando Magic

24
Nov
07

Dwight Howard for MVP

I’m officially starting my Dwight Howard for MVP campaign! Yes, I know it’s only 14 games into an 82 game schedule, so any MVP talk is premature, but I don’t care. Dwight has been incredible and deserves all the credit and MVP talk he can get.

 

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A number of people picked Dwight to be the most improved player this year, and I thought that was an interesting pick. I mean, how much more does a player need to improve to the point that he wins that award when he averaged 17.6 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks last year? The answer….24.5 points, 14.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks! WOW! Those numbers are ridiculous! Now, I don’t think he is the MVP because of those numbers alone. His team is 11-3 with wins over Toronto, Cleveland, New Jersey, New Orleans and Boston (the only team to beat them so far). The Magic are winning because they are running the offense through Dwight! For example, tonight the Magic played the Bobcats. Dwight matched up against fellow draft buddy, Emeka Okafor and he abused him! Howard had 34 points, 17 rebounds (6 offensive), 2 assists, 3 steals, and 4 blocks!! Hmmmm, you think those people who had him ranked as a 3rd or 4th round pick in fantasy drafts regret that prediction?? Who gives a damn that he only made 12 or his 21 free throws attempted, when he’s putting up numbers like this! In fact, I took him in the 4th round in one of my leagues, because they were using yahoo’s ranking system and he was ranked as the 44th player on that list, so I knew I could sit on him, and that pick may save my season; since I took Gilbert Arenas in the first round!

Last year, many people questioned whether you could run an offense strictly though him because of his tendency to turn the ball over, and I blamed their coach, Brian Hill! The offense was horrible. They would give the ball to Howard down low, then everyone would just stand there are watch him! No movement to create passing lanes. No cutting to the basket when your man double teamed Dwight! It was absolutely amazing and pathetic that Brian Hill was an NBA coach! This year Stan Van Gundy is in charge and they look like a completely different team. Yes, they have Rashard Lewis, and Dwight and Jameer are older and wiser, but the drastic improvements those two players have made should be largely credited to Stan and his coaching staff! Their offensive sets are seamless and fluid. Jameer and Dwight’s turnovers are down while their scoring and other production (Jameer’s assists) are way up! Hell, even Hedo Turkoglu is having a career year! The best thing Stan Van Gundy has done is realizing that you can and should run everything through his big man! Dwight is rewarding his coach for his confidence in him.

The crazy thing to think about is that Dwight could and SHOULD build on those numbers as the season goes on, because his confidence in his midrange game and new post moves are starting to grow! Can you imagine? Howard is only 21 years old, and will only get better!! He’s one of the most dedicated and hard working players in the league and is just now getting an offensive repertoire. During the game against Boston, Dwight took an 18-foot baseline jump shot, and MADE IT! It was so beautiful and surprising that I screamed with excitement and scared my 1-month-old daughter! He just caught the ball, turned and shot it without even thinking. He will be absolutely unstoppable once he has a 15’ to 18’ consistent jumper! He actually has good shot mechanics; he just needs to work on his confidence. Stan Van Gundy and Patrick Ewing are doing a great job working with him on that.

Now the reality check. I understand it will be extremely difficult for Dwight to average over 14 rebounds per game for a whole season…. But he should do it! That’s the only reality check I have. His scoring numbers are legit and could increase. His field goal percentage will increase as his confidence does as well. His free throw shooting is getting better, and he should increase his blocks to 2.5 to 3 per game.

Dwight Howard for MVP.

19
Oct
07

Orlando Magic Preview

Orlando Magic Preview

The Magic were the last team to make the playoffs last year, and the question is… did they improve?? A good question, quite frankly. They lost Grant Hill and Darko Milicic, but added Rashard Lewis and Adonal Foyle. Yes, they WAY OVERSPENT on Rashard, but he is a very good player and should do even better in the east with Dwight Howard on his team.

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Losing Grant hurts a lot from a leadership perspective, so we’ll have to see if Jameer is ready to be the leader they need. My best wishes go out to his family, by the way. They brought on Stan Van Gundy, who I really like. He’s not an offensive moron like his brother and I think he will do good things with this young emerging team. Their starting lineup is still influx because they don’t know what they are going to do with the power forward or shooting guard positions, but I’ll give you what I think is their best lineup:

Projected starting lineup with last year’s stats:
Stats follow this format – Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks, FG percentage & Minutes

PG – Jameer Nelson
14.3 – 3 – 3.3 – 0.8 – 0 – 42% & 32

SG – JJ Redick
3 – 0 – 2 – 0 – 0 – 50% & 11

SF – Rashard Lewis
22.4 – 6.6 – 2.4 – 1.1 – 0.6 – 46% & 39

PF – Hedo Turkoglu
13.3 – 4 – 3.2 – 0.96 – 0.22 – 42% & 31

C – Dwight Howard
17.6 – 12.3 – 1.9 – 0.85 – 1.9 – 60% & 37

Key Bench Players

Trevor Ariza
Carlos Arroyo
Keith Bogans
Keyon Dooling
Adonal Foyle
Bo Outlaw

PG
Jameer failed to meet the “breakout” expectations that everyone had for him last season, but he has looked good during the preseason this year. He has totaled 20 assists with only 3 turnovers in three games he has played this preseason, and with limited minutes, of course. Carlos Arroyo will be his primary backup, and if you think Jameer is a shoot first point guard, then Carlos Arroyo makes him look like Brevin Knight. Carlos looks to score as the first, second and third option, and if he REALLY can’t get his shot off, then he’ll look to pass. Keyon Dooling is the third PG, although he’ll be playing a lot of SG this season, because he too is a scorer.

SG
This is the position with the biggest question marks. I don’t think SVG knows who he is going to start here. The hope is that Redick wont be a complete disaster on defense, because they really need his shooting to space the floor for Howard. That being said, it does make a lot of sense to start Trevor Ariza or Keith Bogans here, if they decide to start Hedo and Rashard at the 3 & 4 spots. Hedo and Rashard will provide PLENTY of spacing, and Ariza and Bogans are very good defenders and will do well in the “hustle” categories. Personally, I like Ariza as the starter here. He’s a young super athletic player that could really excel if given the opportunity.

SF
Will Rashard live up to his paycheck? Does he really even need to, as long as the Magic win? I don’t think so. The Magic know they overpaid, and they’re fine with it, because they had to get someone to team up with Dwight so he would sign his extension. Rashard will see an increase in points, and I hope he should do more on the boards, especially if he plays a lot of PF, but people have been saying that about Rashard for the last few years, and we haven’t seen more than 7 boards per game, so maybe those expectations are unrealistic. Hedo will play SF a lot as well, and Ariza will back up this position when needed. I doubt Pat Garrity will get any burn at all.

PF
Another question mark. Do they go small and let Rashard and Hedo man this spot, or do they go big and put Dwight here with Foyle at center? I’m sure they’ll mix it up quite a bit during the season, and I imagine They’ll start Hedo or Rashard (interchangeable between 3 & 4 spot) here.

C
D12 a BEAST!! He’ll average 20 points per game, 12 plus boards and 2 plus blocks this season. I’m hoping he gets close to 3 assists because SVG will actually be able to teach people to move without the damn ball when Dwight has it, and he’ll pick up some easy dimes when he passes out of double teams. The loss of Tony Battie and Darko will really hurt them here, becase Foyle is not that good. He’s serviceable at best.

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I see the Magic being in the top 5 of the east purely on Dwight’s development, Stan Van Gundy, Rashard Lewis and Jameer’s growth. I really think Jameer is in for a big year.