Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images
Here’s another installment of the Magic Basketball Mailbag.
Is this year “THE year” for Orlando to win it all? Won’t one season of gelling and next year’s mid-level exception make Miami unstoppable?
It’s way too early to tell.
There are too many variables involved.
The Miami Heat could be unstoppable as the years go by, but there’s no way to be sure at this point in time. That being said, this year is probably the Magic’s best chance to beat the Heat considering their roster is at its infant stages. Even then, that didn’t stop the Boston Celtics from winning it all in 2008 under similar circumstances. Plus, the Celtics still have to be dealt with in the Eastern Conference. Oh yeah, and then there’s the Los Angeles Lakers.
It’d be a mistake to label Orlando as title favorites because they’re not, but they do have a chance.
For the Magic, that’s all that matters.
Of all the small forwards in the league not named LeBron or Pierce, who would best fit in Orlando with the current roster?
Kevin Durant, without question.
It’s simple, really.
Durant is a top five player in the NBA.
As it’s been stated in the past about Chris Paul, he would be the dominant perimeter scorer that the Magic could use to compliment Dwight Howard in the post. Also, there are not many players in the league can match the type of scoring and efficiency that Durant is able to produce on a nightly basis, considering the amount of possessions he uses up. And it’s not outlandish to suggest that Durant would become a more efficient player if he played with Orlando, since he wouldn’t have to score as much playing alongside the likes of Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, and others — his usage rate would most likely not be as high as it is with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Magic fans mention Carmelo Anthony sometimes and he’d be a good fit, too, but he doesn’t score as efficiently as Durant. The comparison isn’t close, either. Anthony can put up points with the best of ‘em and has been accustomed to using up more than 30 percent of possessions for a majority of his career with the Denver Nuggets but unfortunately for him, as was brought up last week by Tom Haberstroh in an article on ESPN Insider, he sacrifices efficiency for volume. It’s certainly possible that Anthony could perform in a much more efficient manner with the Magic, but probably not like Durant. Truth be told, that’s one of the main things that separates them as scorers.
|net def. +/-||dMULT||opp. PER||TRB%||STL%||BLK%|
|Anthony||+1.47||0.992||15.3 (vs. SF’s)||9.9||1.7||0.9|
|Durant||-2.31||0.618||13.3 (vs. SF’s)||11.0||1.8||1.9|
Durant is a superior defender, as well, knowing how to combine his athleticism and his wingspan to slow down opposing scorers. With Howard as the anchor, Durant could become lethal defensively because he could get a lot more aggressive on the perimeter. The same can be said about Anthony, with regards to his defense and him benefitting from playing alongside Howard, but he doesn’t have the tools or desire (sometimes) that Durant has.
Durant would be an excellent fit with the Magic but he’s not leaving the Thunder any time soon, so this is nothing but a pipe dream scenario.
*all the numbers that are shown were for the 2009-2010 regular season
Thanks for the questions!
If you have a question for the mailbag, you can reach me at eddy.rivera7 [at] gmail [dot] com