Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Here’s another installment of the Magic Basketball Mailbag.
Somehow we need to get a sign and trade for Richard Jefferson. I just don’t know who to trade for him. We need a slasher and someone to get to the hole since Vince won’t do it. The Celtics beat us because they were able to stay home on their own guys. No help on Dwight. Nobody was ever open to shoot it. If we swung to Jefferson at least he can penetrate. Do you agree?
Unfortunately, I don’t.
If you’re looking for a wing player that is a slasher and can get to the hole, Richard Jefferson is not that guy. For a time, Jefferson was that guy but not any longer. Since 2008, when Jefferson was a member of the New Jersey Nets, his attempts at the rim and free-throw line have decreased steadily. It’s worth pointing out that Jefferson, since being traded from the Nets, hasn’t been playing in offensive systems that perfectly compliments his strengths. Still, these numbers are red flags.
|At Rim FGM-A||At Rim FG%||FTM-A||FT%|
|2007-2008 (55 games)||3.6 – 5.9||.600||6.6 – 8.3||79.8%|
|2008-2009 (82 games)||2.3 – 4.0||.570||5.1 – 6.3||80.5%|
|2009-2010 (81 games)||2.1 – 3.1||.677||2.6 – 3.5||73.5%|
Another issue with Jefferson, and this was prevalent when he was with the San Antonio Spurs this year, is his inability to spread the floor effectively. The Spurs and the Orlando Magic run similar offenses, and one of the reasons that Jefferson was a poor fit was because he didn’t make or even take many threes. More often than not, Jefferson would step in from the three-point line, attempt a long two, and hurt San Antonio’s spacing offensively. It’d be no different with the Magic.
Much of Jefferson’s game is reliant on athleticism and the long two, which is the most inefficient shot in basketball, so he’d be an equally poor fit with Orlando. Yes, Vince Carter has his flaws as a player, but he’s still a good fit with the Magic. Carter isn’t a perfect fit, given that he’s not the dominant scorer he once was, but he’s still able to spread the floor and give Dwight Howard the space he needs to operate efficiently on the low block.
And Carter, even at his age, is better than Jefferson.
Let’s say Penny Hardaway made the cut for the Miami Heat and played on that team. Do you, as a Magic fan, care? Is he so far removed from the franchise that it wouldn’t really register?
Penny Hardaway won’t make the cut, let alone have a chance to make the roster for the Miami Heat, but let’s proceed with the hypotheticals since it’s fun to think about.
Would I care? No.
The main reason for my indifference is because Hardaway is nowhere near the player that he once was in the mid-’90s. Hardaway is 39, today actually, and even though he’s done some great things in his career, he’s irrelevant in today’s world of the NBA. There’s a mystique about Hardaway that will never go away and that’s great because sometimes people forget how good he was in his prime. However, if Hardaway were to play for the Heat, it wouldn’t register much with the conscious of Magic fans in my opinion. Yeah, it’d newsworthy to an extent and a footnote in the annals of history, but that’s it. Don’t forget, Hardaway played in 16 games for Miami — started in eight of them! — in 2008 and almost no one cared about it because it didn’t mean anything. Hardaway’s performance on the court didn’t merit any attention.
Would it be a betrayal, like the final nail in the Shaq coffin of the ’90s?
Shaquille O’Neal leaving in 1996 was different because he was on his way to becoming the best player in the league, and he was 24. O’Neal was entering the prime of his career, and his importance to the Magic meant just as much as LeBron James’ relationship with the Cleveland Cavaliers. When O’Neal left, it struck a cord with Magic fans on a number of levels. Hardaway, if he were to sign with the Heat again, would mean next to nothing. It wouldn’t be betrayal. The circumstances are much different now than they were then and quite frankly, Orlando has bigger things to worry about than Hardaway. Yeah, it’d be a fun storyline if Hardaway somehow made the roster for Miami but that’s all it’d be. Hardaway’s relevance on the national scale almost all but disappeared when he was traded to the Phoenix Suns in 2000.
By then, Hardaway was damaged goods.
Unfortunate, but it is what it is.
Thanks for the questions!
If you have a question for the mailbag, you can reach me at eddy.rivera7 [at] gmail [dot] com