Magic Basketball Mailbag, 6/15/10: Part II | Magic Basketball

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Jun 16

Magic Basketball Mailbag, 6/16/10

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Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Here’s another installment of the Magic Basketball Mailbag.

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What I would like to see this offseason (one can dream) is a push for a sign and trade for LeBron or Wade. Either one matched with Howard would be a dynasty for years to come, comparable to or maybe even greater than Shaq/Kobe era. A starting 5 of Jameer, LeBron/Wade, Barnes, Bass, Howard would be lethal. Maybe we can include Rashard and VC in the deal. Is this total fantasy or is this something that can be accomplished? With the crushing finishes the last 2 seasons and the new mega arena opening, I would think this is something ownership would want to shoot for.

A sign-and-trade for LeBron James or Dwyane Wade would be practically impossible. It’s nice to think about the possibilities, but it’s fruitless to think they’re possible realities.

However, that doesn’t mean something can’t be done with players like Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, or Amar’e Stoudemire. Granted, the odds that either Boozer, Bosh, or Stoudemire come to the Orlando Magic are extremely low. Let’s make that clear. There’s almost no way that the Magic could trade for someone in that triumvirate, but they do have the pieces to accommodate a move theoretically. General manager Otis Smith always talks about assets and he has plenty of them to make a splash — Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, trade exception of roughly $6.9 million, and draft picks. It’d be tough to move Vince Carter, but he is essentially an expiring contract that can be used to match salaries if necessary. Would those pieces be enough to trade for a big-time player? Maybe.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Smith explored the possibility of acquiring a power forward that is a stud and workhorse, given that the last two teams to beat Orlando in the playoffs had monster frontcourts and will remain threats to them for the immediate future. Again, no one should expect anything to happen but Smith likes to play things close to the vest, so don’t put it past him to try to make something happen behind the scenes.

On your Twitter account and around MBN, you’ve mentioned that you wouldn’t mind seeing Rashard Lewis shift to small forward, but only if the Magic obtained the right fit at power forward. What traits would that hypothetical power forward have, and are there any guys Otis Smith could reasonably acquire via trade or free-agent signing who fit that description?

Great question.

In my opinion, there’s only three players I would consider at power forward for the Orlando Magic based on their skill and availability … Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh and Amar’e Stoudemire. If any one of those players came to the Magic, then I wouldn’t mind seeing Rashard Lewis slide to the small forward position. In that scenario, the frontcourt would be better suited to face off against teams like the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Of course, acquiring Boozer, Bosh, or Stoudemire would move Orlando away from it’s 4-out/1-in philosophy but that’s okay. When it comes down to it, against the Lakers and the Celtics, the Magic need someone that can get them buckets. Each of these guys bring to the table some skill-sets on offense that would make it easy for head coach Stan Van Gundy to adjust and tweak the current system in place. Even though Boozer, Bosh, and Stoudemire don’t shoot threes, they can still spread the floor to give Howard enough room offensively to operate on the low block as his game continues to mature. And even if teams decide to double-team Howard, the aforementioned trio can shoot efficiently enough from 16-23 feet to keep defenses honest and make them pay for leaving them open.

Via Synergy Sports Technology:

Carlos Boozer
2009-2010 regular season Time Poss. PPP* Rank Rating
OVERALL OFFENSE 100% 1452 1.05 90% Excellent
Cut 22.7% 329 1.29 65% Very Good
Post-Up 21.1% 307 0.87 54% Good
P&R Roll Man 13.8% 200 1.28 89% Excellent
Spot-Up 10.9% 158 0.91 49% Average
Chris Bosh
2009-2010 regular season Time Poss. PPP* Rank Rating
OVERALL OFFENSE 100% 1585 1.06 92% Excellent
Post-Up 34.6% 549 1.09 90% Excellent
Isolation 18% 285 0.92 76% Very Good
P&R Roll Man 11.8% 187 1.24 87% Excellent
Spot-Up 9.8% 155 0.88 40% Average
Amar’e Stoudemire
2009-2010 regular season Time Poss. PPP* Rank Rating
OVERALL OFFENSE 100% 1759 1.08 95% Excellent
Post-Up 18.8% 330 0.98 82% Very Good
P&R Roll Man 17.6% 310 1.18 80% Very Good
Isolation 14.2% 249 0.95 82% Very Good
Cut 13.6% 240 1.45 87% Excellent

The main thing, however, that makes Boozer, Bosh, and Stoudemire appealing is their abilities to excel in pick and rolls. The 1/5 pick and roll with Nelson and Howard is devastating enough, but imagine adding a 1/4 pick and roll or 1/4 pick and pop to the Magic’s arsenal of plays? People may proclaim that Howard’s presence in the lane may be an issue, as was stated when Shaquille O’Neal played with Stoudemire in Phoenix, but Van Gundy is one of the best coaches in the NBA and there’s no doubt he could find a way to make the arrangement work to an optimum level. Certainly an offense that showcases a premiere power forward alongside Howard would change things a little bit, given that there would be more post-ups and shot attempts closer to the basket, but Los Angeles has proven that you can win a championship with two big men as long as they have differing skill-sets offensively.

TS% eFG% AST% TOV% USG% ORtg
Carlos Boozer .599 .562 15.8 14.3 24.8 112
Chris Bosh .592 .522 11.5 10.7 28.7 117
Amar’e Stoudemire .615 .557 4.8 12.1 27.3 117

The main attractiveness with players like Boozer, Bosh, and Stoudemire is that they are dominant and efficient scorers. Plus, they can get their own shot at any time. The only minor issue with Boozer, in particular, is that he doesn’t get to the free-throw line as much as Bosh and Stoudemire do. Also, Boozer is a little undersized at power forward and did have troubles scoring against the Lakers’ length in the playoffs, which is a concern. But Boozer, as well as Stoudemire, has proven to get the job done in the postseason. Bosh’s track record is still relatively unproven in that regard, but he did have success against Orlando a few years ago and in the 2008 Summer Olympics when he won the gold medal. Stoudemire isn’t perfect, either, given that he’s curiously a less effective rebounder than he should be.

adj. +/- net +/- stat. +/- PER WARP Win Shares/48
Carlos Boozer -3.24 -2.3 +3.84 21.3 11.7 .178
Chris Bosh +6.97 +6.0 +4.38 25.0 14.0 .182
Amar’e Stoudemire -6.06 -1.3 +1.41 22.6 10.8 .181

That being said, there’s no question that Bosh is the best (and youngest) of the bunch.

Boozer, Bosh, and Stoudemire have their question marks on defense for different reasons, but that shouldn’t be an issue playing alongside Howard and for Van Gundy.

All in all, can general manager Otis Smith land one of these guys? It remains to be seen.

How do the Magic deal with the misconception of toughness?

… by ignoring it.

Not sure the misconception will go away, though I found it ironic that the Orlando Magic were labeled “bullies” when they played the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The perception might change if the Magic acquire a premier power forward to pair with Dwight Howard and alter their style of play offensively to rely less on the three-point shot, but that’s no guarantee with the mainstream media.

*points per possession

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Thanks for the questions!

If you have a question for the mailbag, you can reach me at eddy.rivera7 [at] gmail [dot] com

6 comments
Samo
Samo

I'd take bosh.. Better player all around. The Magic would be a nightmare for any team, if we can add a player like him.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Hoop Dreams

Spacing, as @Shane mentioned.

When Otis Smith first sought out to acquire Rashard Lewis and the decision was eventually made to play him at power forward after Tony Battie got hurt, Dwight Howard's game was still developing offensively. Howard needed all the space he could get to operate effectively on the low block. Now? Howard has matured on offense to the point I think he can handle dealing with a more traditional power forward that plays closer to the basket. That being said, it's still crucial that Howard gets that spacing and the player in question (let's say Bosh) gives him that space, that way there isn't any congestion in the paint. Another thing is that Jameer Nelson is at his best when he's probing in the lane, so he can't be impeded when he's dribbling penetrating.

@derekk

Bosh would be the perfect fit for Howard, more so than Stoudemire.

Boozer puts forth effort on defense, but he's still a liability on that end of the floor (plus his length can be an issue, at times). It should be mentioned that everything goes out the window, in that regard, if he were to play with the Magic because he has Howard backing him up defensively.

derekk
derekk

I dont think I know enough about those three, but from my thoughts, Im less enthused about Amare and Boozer because of how much their offense is through cutting and rolling. I think Jameer would make a great PnR attack with them, but not like Nash or Deron did. Amare and Bosh have the great post up games and seem more promising and Bosh is a clear best option. The biggest thing would be how they play with Dwight down low. Again, Bosh and Dwight are so good posting up/iso'ing, you can literally just see who has the easier matchup and throw it down to Bosh or Dwight specifically. If they develop any chemistry and passing, it's all over for the league. I also really like Amar'es face up attack, I think it will make it easier for him to hit those midrange J's, attack off the dribble and pass into Dwight. Boozer seems like a more willing defender than Amar'e and maybe even Bosh. He also has a nice midrange, like all three basically, which is a huge plus, but Im not sure how he'd mesh in the post with D12 like I can sort of see with Bosh or Amar'e.

Shane
Shane

The issue is that with a second big in the lane, it makes it easier to double team Dwight. However, if you have someone like Bosh or Amar'e at the 4, and the rest of the floor still spaced with shooters, it would still be just as detrimental for teams to double Dwight, even if it's easier. In fact, with another player of that calibre, I think it's even harder to double Dwight, even with abandoning the 4 in 1 out scheme. Not to mention a frontline like Dwight-Amare-Lewis is massive and could certainly contend with the Lakers and Celtics bigs.

Hoop Dreams
Hoop Dreams

"People may proclaim that Howard’s presence in the lane may be an issue..."

This talking point has perplexed me for a while.

Can you explain why some people think it would be so bad for Howard to play with a traditional PF who plays 15-feet-and-in and can rebound?

Bynum/P. Gasol.
Lopez/Stoudemire.
Garnett/Perkins.
Randolph/M. Gasol.
Martin/Nene.

These are all big combos who don't shoot the 3 and yet play pretty well together.

Having more than one skilled big near the basket increases your chances of putbacks and offensive rebounds (easy points and second chance opportunities), things that help win close games!

Besides, most Magic players are jump shooters, who exactly are we clearing the lane for? Howard? I don't think he needs the entire painted area to himself. Putting your bigs on opposite blocks or going high-low seems to have worked for years.

Am I missing something?