Fact or Fiction: Rashard Lewis Should Start at Small Forward | Magic Basketball

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Sep 03

Fact or Fiction: Rashard Lewis Should Start at Small Forward

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Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Fact or Fiction presents both sides of key issues the Orlando Magic will face in the upcoming season.

Statement
The Orlando Magic need to shift Rashard Lewis to the small forward position and run a “more traditional” scheme if they want to be able to advance to the NBA Finals and win.

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Fact
Want to spark a debate?

Mention the name ‘Rashard Lewis’ to Magic fans and it’s like pouring gasoline on a fire. Aside from Brandon Bass, there’s not another player for the Orlando Magic — maybe Dwight Howard — that brings so much intense discussion to the table than Lewis.

It’s true that Lewis struggled a bit offensively against the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. The Magic were unable to advance to the NBA Finals for a second consecutive year, partly because Lewis was neutralized by Kevin Garnett — one of the best defenders in league history. And the fact of the matter is that Orlando has yet to win a championship with Lewis at the power forward position. It’s been three seasons, and the Magic have ultimately come up empty-handed in the playoffs. This isn’t to say that it’s impossible for Orlando to win the “gold ball” with Lewis at power forward. It just hasn’t happened.

Those are some of the facts.

If Orlando was able to acquire a premiere power forward then yes, moving Lewis to small forward wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Maybe, then, change can come.

It wouldn’t mean that everyone in the debate would be satisfied, though.

Fiction
The problem is that the top power forwards in the NBA, that could facilitate a switch of positions for Lewis, are on new teams — Chris Bosh with the Miami Heat, Amar’e Stoudemire with the New York Knicks, and Carlos Boozer with the Chicago Bulls. It’s highly unlikely that any of those players will relocate anytime soon. So in a sense, the Magic need to continue to play the hand that has gotten them this far and keep Lewis at power forward if they want a chance to win the title.

Why?

As has been mentioned before, Lewis is incapable of defending small forwards. Lewis doesn’t have the quickness to chase small forwards on the perimeter or the dexterity to fight through screens on a nightly basis. Plus, it’s difficult for Lewis to keep players in front of him because he can’t move laterally fast enough.

Some people may look at Lewis’ frame and assume he can’t defend power forwards but for the past three years, he’s proven that he can. Lewis’ athletic weaknesses are masked when he’s at power forward because, for the most part, he’s dealing with a slower-footed players that primarily operate on the low block. Lewis can use his lanky wingspan to alter their shots, he has enough athleticism to stay in front of them, and he has the strength to body ‘em up. Also, it really helps that Lewis has Howard on the weakside in the paint. That’s important because Howard is the anchor on defense and if he’s forced to help on the perimeter, which would be the case if Lewis were defending small forwards, that would be a problem. Howard’s presence is needed in the lane defensively. It’s worth mentioning, too, that Lewis is a good team defender and does a great job of defending pick and rolls.

Given the position that he plays, it’s important that Lewis is able to fulfill that responsibility.

In the end, it’s all about matchups and there’s not a lot of teams in the league that can stop Lewis at power forward. Unfortunately for Orlando, they have ran into teams in the postseason that had the personnel to stop them. That’s how it goes sometimes.

Two years ago, the Magic were a nightmare matchup for the Cleveland Cavaliers and they were able to advance to the Finals because of it. When it comes to winning a championship, a little luck is involved because the matchups have to be just right for a team to go all the way.

Boston proved that point last season.

Looking ahead to this year, there’s no question that Lewis needs to remain at power forward if the Magic want to beat the Miami Heat. Historically, Lewis has had a lot of success against Bosh and he will need to play out of his mind if Orlando wants to overcome Miami in a seven-game series. It can’t be understated that the 4-out/1-in philosophy on offense works in the Magic’s favor against the Heat, though it still may not be enough.

As for the Celtics, Garnett might shut down Lewis again but this is where Van Gundy needs to adjust. The argument that Lewis needs to be at small forward or power forward is irrelevant because the point is that he needs to play at both positions, depending on the situation. This is a prime example. Van Gundy will need to think outside the box when it comes to facing off against Boston because it’s unlikely that Lewis will have much success against Garnett (assuming he’s healthy).

One solution, as been brought up before, is to put Lewis at small forward against Paul Pierce for brief stretches at a time. Lewis will probably have his struggles defensively against Pierce, but that’s a price Van Gundy may have to pay to create an advantage of some sort.

As for the Los Angeles Lakers, that’s looking too far ahead.

_______

Lewis needs to remain primarily at power forward.

However, it’s true that Van Gundy has to utilize Lewis more at small forward. Lewis isn’t just a spot-up shooter, because he has a low post game that is lethal yet underused. The most important thing, more than anything else, is that Van Gundy needs to put Lewis in positions to succeed.

Whether it’s at small forward or power forward, it makes no difference.

Or let’s just stray away from conventional wisdom with slotting players in traditional positions.

Verdict: Fiction

26 comments
Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Steve

Once again, you don't read anything I write. You keep hammering down the same points, even though the majority of them aren't correct. By the way, none of my "insults" were directed towards you. They were generalized statements.

We're beating a dead horse here. You have your opinion.

Steve
Steve

Nothing personal Eddy just jokes. But Howard cant man the middle by himself not wth Boston stacking up the way they have with both ONeal's, KG, Kendrick Perkins and Big Baby. Thats alot of bodies to throw at Howard who only has six fouls to use. He'll have his hands full enough just dealing with Shaq, you throw those other four guys and Howard can't man the middle against all of them together. He does need a solid PF on his side, they may have led the league in rebounds but in seven game series it's a different ballgame. It's all about matchups and exploiting them, the Magic have been exposed two years in a row at the PF slot and I think it's time to try a new strategy. And Arenas can average at least 20pts and seven assist playing the PG for Orlando, you can take Howard, Lewis and Arenas and that's your big three core players and build around them. Pietrus is great at the SG he can shoot run the floor and make free throws, more importantly he's a much better defender the Carter hands down. And as for insults save the stupidity comment dont dish it out if you cant take it.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Steve

I'm all for having an articulate and respectful discussion, but one of my biggest pet peeves is dealing with stupidity.

You don't think I'm already aware of the Carter-for-Arenas rumors?

I touched on that topic a while back, and it's a bad idea. Arenas' best days are way behind him, too. As for Lewis' inability to rebound at the power forward position, it makes no difference because the Magic compensate by having the best rebounder in the NBA. Last year, Orlando led the league in defensive rebound percentage so your point about Lewis is irrelevant. Arenas won't give the Magic 25 points and 7 rebounds on a given night because he's not going to have the basketball in his hands as much as he used to, nor should he. Likewise, Arenas has NEVER been regarded as a good defender. Ever.

Save the insults.

Steve
Steve

Check this out Eddy, this is from ESPN's website to coincide with what I was saying: With Arenas looking to reboot his career, there have been rumors circulating the internet that general manager Otis Smith might look to acquire him in a trade involving Vince Carter. But according to Michael Lee of The Washington Post in a report on Thursday, “the talks didn’t get very far” and it appears that the Wizards were the ones to initiate the conversation with the Orlando Magic. Since Smith has history with Arenas, dating back to their days with the Golden State Warriors, it’s easy to conjure up the possibilities of a reunion taking place with the Magic. And given that Carter, for all intents and purposes, is on the trade block, a swap involving him and Arenas seems plausible in theory. Even though a trade with Carter and Arenas would be easy to pull off because of their matching salaries, there’s no question that the move wouldn’t make much sense from Orlando’s perspective because Arenas has four years left on his max contract.

This is real Eddy I dont know where you learned about hoops but obviously you dont play basketball. Vince Carter's best days are behind him, shop him for Gilbert Arenas and move Pietrus whose young and hungry to the SG position then move Lewis to his natural position at the SF. Can you tell me how many championship NBA teams who's starting PF averaged 5bds a game. That allows you to shop Jameer for a decent PF who can help Howard down low on defense and rebounding. If they don't move Lewis to the SF it was a waste of contract money and they WON'T EVER win a championship and you can take that to the bank. Arenas will give you 25pts and 7 seven assist on any given night, he applies IMMENSE PRESSURE on the other teams defense at the PG position. Someone get Otis on the phone and tell him to make the deal and give me this Eddy Rivera's job with ESPN cause he doesn't have a CLUE about basketball.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Brad

More nonsense. Nelson was the Magic's second-best player in the playoffs last year. Unless Orlando gets Chris Paul, he isn't going anywhere.

@Ryan

The Magic didn't lose to the Celtics because they got out-rebounded.

Ryan
Ryan

I think Rashard still could play some 3 but should he really switch back after 3 years of playing the power forward? I don't think Anderson or Bass are good enough to start but I think they should play more often. I think by next season Ryan could start. I think the Magic got knocked out because of not enough rebounding. I think Stan will just keep things the way they are

Brad
Brad

I have to say anything that mentions trading VC or Nelson are great ideas to me. I may be a bit biased considering I don't like either of them, and don't think we can win a championship (especially now) with them.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Steve

None of your ideas are logical, whatsoever.

Trade Carter for Arenas?

Start Lewis at small forward?

Trade Nelson for Elton Brand or Kenyon Martin?

Get out of here with that nonsense.

Steve
Steve

And its a win for Washington, Vince Carter will put buts in seats and he and John Wall can give the people in D.C. something to look forward to in these tough times. They would have John Wall and Vince Carter in the backcourt and a young hungry beast in Javale McGee a nice up and coming team and VC can be the veteran mentor to the young players. Besides no one can stop Lebron he's the top SF in the league. So let Lewis bomb away the three's and keep Lebron honest and making him play "SOME D". I mean Lewis shot pretty well against him in the postseason he's no Kevin Garnett in stopping Lewis from getting his shot off. And once again his length, if he gets fouled he's an 80 plus percent foul shooter. Check his highlights the guy can catch ally-oops and finish on the break, you see NONE OF THAT since he's been in Orlando playing the four. I mean for 100million bucks I at least have to max out on the guy's talent not just shooting corner three's.

Steve
Steve

Whats to understand? The game is about matchups, the man played 10 seasons in Seattle averaging over 20pts and 6bds a game at the SF and we are debating if he should start there? I added about Gilbert because Jameer is ok at point guard, but Otis Smith was with the Golden State staff when they drafted him. Also they have a good relationship, he was mentoring Gilbert when this gun situation occured. Why not add him he wont hurt the team. I mean 25pts and 7 dimes not bad for a PG and he's looking to repair his image. Move Vince Carter for Gilbert in a straight up trade(their salaries match I already tried it on the trade machine) move Pietrus to the SG and package Jameer for a PF like Elton Brand or Kenyon Martin. Winning cures everything and going deep in the playoffs with the Magic will take some of the focus away from the gun situation. Maybe you dont play basketball, but a guy 6'10 with a jump shot like his is a weapon on ANY team (See Robert Horry, seven rings). And with his height he can get a hand in any SF's face to disrupt their shot. But to answer your question Eddy "Yes" he should start at the three and the Magic should run a more conventional offense with a low post defender/rebounder alongside Dwight thats why they lost to the Lakers and the Celtics.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Steve

No offense, but you have no clue what you're talking about.

That and it's clear you didn't read anything I wrote.

Steve
Steve

Put Rashard Lewis at the SF and he will average 20 plus pts a game with his eyes closed. Dont keep this guy trapped on the block or just shooting treys in the corners. Check hi highlights the guy can run the floor catch alley-oops and finish, plus if he's fouled he's a very good free throw shooter. I say get the most out of your $100mil for this dude he's one of my favorite players but keeping him at the four will not get you a championship. Maximize his talents let him get out on the fastbreak, shoot treys ALL over the floor and finish for easy baskets and as I said earlier the guy can shoot free throws. Defensively he's not a stopper but at 6'10 he can get a hand in ANY SF's face in the NBA and be a help rebounder for your PF and Center.

Steve
Steve

"HELL YES" Rashard Lewis should be the starting SF! He averaged 22pts and 6bds at the SF his last year in Seattle. He will spread the floor and be a matchup nightmare for the other teams SF. The magic should have dealt Vince Carter for David Lee and we would have crushed Boston. Paul Pierce cant guard anyone and he's not that fast either he wouldn't have a chance of stopping Rashard at 6'10 and at the SF it would be hard for anyone to shoot over him with his height, you just need to get a hand in someone's face and at 6'10 no problem. The Magic need to deal Vince Carter for Gilbert Arenas, then put Jameer Nelson on the trade block and see what kind of PF package you can get for him. Scoring is not Orlando's problem its matching up defensively. The starting unit should be Gilbert Arenas PG, Michael Pietrus SG, Rashard Lewis SF, Marcin Gortat (Or a good trade acqusition) PF and Dwight Howard at Center, then you can matchup with anyone. The guy played 7 or 8 years in Seattle at the SF so he's proven he can play the position and he averaged over 20pts and at 6'10 he can be a help rebounder for your PF and Center. If Otis Smith is reading this pull the trigger and trade Vince Carter for Gilbert Arenas immediately!

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Tim

Stoudemire isn't injury-prone. Boozer, somewhat. But even then, in the Magic's system defensively, Howard would be able to cover for either of them. Horford is an All-Star caliber player and he's a great defender, but the Magic still need to score against teams like the Celtics, Heat, and Lakers. That's why someone like Stoudemire, more so than Boozer, is an attractive option because he's proven that he dominate offensively against anyone. And at the end of the day, Orlando is in desperate need for a dominant player on offense. The Magic's defense isn't the issue. Acquiring someone like Horford, as good as he is, is somewhat redundant.

Tim
Tim

@Eddy,

I know he's not dominant offensively, but I think I'd rather a offensively solid, quality defensive PF whose offensive game compliments Dwight's and could be counted on for 14-16 ppg, than an injury prone offensively dominant big who doesn't play defense like Amare or Boozer.

Tim
Tim

@Ariel

First off, I'm not sure that we can classify the Bulls as elite yet, since no one even knows if Boozer will really show up or not, or can stay on the floor- but even if we were to do so, Rashard is taller than Boozer and has a larger wingspan. If Rashard has trouble defending Boozer it won't be because he isn't tall enough. And I'm certainly not to worried than Rashard won't be able to provide offense against Boozer either, given that he's a terrible defender.

But let's take a look at how the Rashard fared against the other two elite teams you mentioned. Against the Lakers in the finals Rashard averaged 17.4 ppg on 40.5% shooting, with 4 apg with a 2:1 turnover rating, and 7.6 rpg. In that series Pau Gasol averaged 18.6 ppg on 60% shooting, with 2.2 apg with a 2.2:1 assist to turnover rating, and 9.6 rpg. Was Rashard outplayed by Pau Gasol? Yeah, he was but not by a whole lot.

In comparison in this year's Finals against Kevin Garnett, who is about as good as you can get as far as defensive power forwards, Pau Gasol averaged 18.5 ppg on 47.8% shooting, with 3.7 apg and a 2:1 assist to turnover rating, and 11.6 rpg. Did Kevin Garnett do a whole lot better defending Pau Gasol than Rashard Lewis did? Not really.

Now, we all know that these past playoffs, particularly against the Celtics, Rashard underperformed. But still let's check out his numbers. Rashard averaged a measly 8.2 ppg on a lowly 33.9% shooting (and an especially terrible 17.4% from 3), with 1.8 apg and a 1:1 assist to turnover rate, and 5.8 rpg. So clearly he was pretty terrible offensively, and without a doubt part of that was KG, but part of it was also that he was missing 3 pt shoots he normally hits. On defense he held KG to 10.3 ppg on 38.8% shooting, with 2.3 apg and a 3.4:1 assist to turnover ratio, and 8 rpg.

But in the series against the Lakers KG averaged (against Pau Gasol, who's another pretty good PF defender) 11.7 ppg on 48.8% shooting, with 3 apg and a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio, and 5.6 rpg. So once again an elite championship team, with an elite PF didn't do a whole lot better defending the other elite PF's than Rashard and the Magic did. If Rashard can hold Pau Gasol and KG to similar numbers as Pau Gasol and KG can defend each other to, how does Rashard defense keep the Magic from being an elite championship level team?

He had a terrible series offensively against the Celtics, there is no denying that- but he's a shooter and shooters are streaky. To say that because he was ice-cold during a single playoff series means we have to change everything about the team is absolutely ridiculous. Rashard has gotten it done against the Celtics before, and he will again. Sure, if someone offers the Magic a great trade for a big who can operate effectively on the high post and defend like Bosh, Horford, Pau, or Nene I'd take it- but I wouldn't start D12 and Gortat together and throw away a system that works just because Rashard didn't have a good playoff series.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Greg

Lewis doesn't try to alter or block shots because he probably doesn't want to commit a foul. One of the tenets of Van Gundy's defensive philosophy is not commit a fouls because he doesn't want teams on the foul line.

Another reason why people think Lewis is a not a power forward is because he's such a poor rebounder at his position.

@Ariel

Who's Doug Rivers?

@Tim

Horford is not a dominant player offensively, that's why he's not mentioned.

@Adam Greene

I don't think Lewis can play serviceable defense at small forward because he's never proven that he can do it in his career.

@Ariel

The Magic are a great team, they've just run into teams that have been able to matchup with them. It happens. Orlando will be able to win a championship is if Howard is able to fully evolve as a devastating two-way player. Starting Gortat at power forward is not the solution, whatsoever.

@Harry

Nah, Lewis deserves the majority of the credit for stopping Garnett. Yeah, Lewis had the benefit of having Howard on the weak-side to help out on defense but there were many times where he had to man up individually.

It's not too surprising to see the Magic as an elite team defensively because it's much easier to construct a defense around a dominant big man.

Harry
Harry

I may not be giving Rashard enough credit but I attribute most of Garnett's struggles to Howard, not to Rashard. Rashard did battle in the post hard but when Garnett got over him and got a good look at the basket, it was Howard's flying over and forcing a ridiculous amount of loft that caused most of the misses. I still have my doubts about whether Rashard would be an average defender at PF without Howard helping out as if he's directly defending Rashard's man. It's really incredible what Howard is capable of doing on defense. Just look at the starting lineup: Jameer, Carter, Rashard, Barnes/Pietrus. How in the world can a team with at least three average to below average defenders in the starting lineup rate as a top 5 defense, or the best defense two years ago? People even thought Turkoglu was a solid defender and that didn't work out well in Toronto without Howard protecting his back.

Howard is so good defensively that the formula to winning a championship may be focusing more on defense. If Howard can take largely below-average defenders and make them a top five defense, what can he do with above average individual defenders flanking him? He is capable of anchoring a defense as good as those of Duncan's prime or Garnett's first year in Boston.

Rashard's greatest strength at SF is going to be his post up game. It was pretty good at Seattle but it's gotten really good as he's added more strength. He's now able to back guys down all the way to the rim whereas in Seattle, he used to only make it to within 8 feet or so. Having Howard at his back might allow him to survive defensively but it's not just the lack of lateral range with him, it's the lack of stop and start quickness too. For example, Rashard may be capable of slowing Pierce down enough for Howard to rotate over but he doesn't have the ability to recover and contest Pierce's step back jumper. He would also be more liable to pick up fouls trying to stay in front of his man.

Ariel
Ariel

Tim,

If playing D12 and Gortat doesn't make sense, then I don't know what else would work with the current roster. It's pretty obvious that against the elite teams (Lakers - Celtics - Bulls etc)RL would be too small to defend and provide offense. The 1-4 offense has not provided many championships either(exhibit - Miami and Lakers with Shaq). It was not until those teams balanced their attacks that they won. We have a balanced our attack with solid interior presence (Gasol - Bynum / Perkins -KG) mid -range shooting (Kobe / PP RJ) and long range shooting ( Fisher - Artest / RA PP) that would be able to compete for a chamionship. Until then we will just another good team not a great one...

Adam Greene
Adam Greene

Agreed. Starting Rashard Lewis at SF for the year would be a mistake. The only advantage I can see without an overhaul of the offense to allow Lewis to operate from the post, would be the rebounding gained at the SF and PF positions by the switch.

Where I differ from a lot of people agreeing with you, Eddy is that I think it is conceivable that Lewis could play serviceable defense at the SF position during the regular season and the playoffs. My problem is that you would be downgrading your defense at both forward positions to keep the current offense in place. You start Ryan Anderson because he can shoot and unless he makes a quantum leap as a defender (please Ryan!) then he is a step down from Lewis and the team defense is weak at both these points.

I would remind fans that at one time we were all saying Rashard Lewis couldn't defend PFs. I think his abilities as a defender are underrated and that he could make us eat our words, but counting on Lewis defending the likes of Lebron while also hoping that Ryan Anderson can guard Bosh (or that Bass learns the team defense) is lowering probabilities.

I do think that SVG needs to play Rashard at the SF this season, especially in certain match ups. If Paul Pierce has to guard Lewis in the post last playoffs, maybe he doesn't have the energy to score 24 points/game. Ah, the 'what ifs'.

Good article.

Tim
Tim

@ Eddy
I know this is likely as much wishful thinking as hoping for Amare, Bosh, or Boozer since the Hawks are working on an extension with him now but why is Al Horford never mentioned in terms of elite bigs who could be paired with Dwight. I think he'd provided the us with the best combination of anyone. He's playing out of position at C right now for Atlanta, operates mainly from the high post, is an underrated passer for a big man, and is tenacious defender. He's also generally regarded as a hard worker and great teammate. Obviously his scoring numbers aren't quite as high, but he also was playing out of position, and the third cog on offense on a team that played an extremely slow pace, without an elite point guard like Nash or Deron Williams setting him up. If you add in his tenacious defense and work ethic I don't see how Al Horford isn't a better addition to the Magic than any of the other elite PF's.

@Ariel,

That seems like an oversimplified view of it. The Celtics also did a great job stifling the Magic's pick and roll plays by blitzing the ballhandler and in general shut down the Magic's player movement. Stan countered for that by adding in the staggered pick and roll, which helped to get us out two wins, and was continuing to work for us until Jameer picked up two early fouls in game 6 and started looking less agressive. And the Magic definitely blew opportunities to win games with careless mistakes at times. Plus it doesn't make much sense to have D12 and Gortat on the court together for long periods of time because neither of them has the range to play from the high post so it makes it easy for the defense to cover them. And going into the series we expected Barnes to struggle against PP because Barnes never has been a fantastic iso defender, which is where Pierce gets most of his offense. That's why Vince covered Pierce so much at the beginning of the series, while Barnes guarded Ray Allen. Barnes' really lapse in defense was in allowing Ray Allen to run him off so many screens, which was compounded by the trouble Vince had guarding Pierce.

Ariel
Ariel

Greg,

The main reason RL does not alter shots as you point out is that he doesn't have the quick vertical jumping ability other PF have. If you look at his offensive game, he's primarily a spot up shooter not a jump shooter, that in itself tells you about his physical capabilities. Secondly, what the writer fails to mention in regard to the Boston- Orlando series is that we were dominated by Bostons defense. I compiled the series numbers and was shocked by some of the statistics as follows: a) contrary to my original belief Boston did not outrebounded Olr.; total rebounds were Orlando 238 vs Boston 237. Boston outrebounded Orl. in defensive rebounds by 9 rebounds 177-169. What this tells you is that Bostons size made a diff. on the defensive end b) The biggest point spread by position was Paul Pierce's 146 points vs. Matt Barnes 30. If Barnes is supposed to be such a defensive presence and not an offensive weapon, he failed miserably to stop PP by allowing him to score and avg. of 24 pts for the series.

Now lets assume Orlando plays Marcin Gortat at Center with DH at PF and RL at SF. If the series numbers hold up, KP would have and advantage over Marcin of 3 pts per game, Paul Pierce would have an advantage over RL of 16 ponts per game and and DH would have an advantage of 12 points over KG. With these numbers Boston still would have an advantage for the 3 positions of 7 points per game. Now the difference here is that no many analysts think the spread between RL and PP would be 16 points per game in a 7 game series. as RL is 6-10 and a solid defender and would affect PP shot. Additionally, RL would be shooting over the smaller PP and would be able to post him up, versus playing against a moble 7' that can alter his shots and eliminate the 3 point theat. By playing RL at PF in a strong defensive series, you eliminate his offensive weapon - the 3 pt shot. On the other hand, I believe that with the additional muscle Gortat brings inside the spread between DH and KG would hold since Dwight proved he can scored at will against both KP and KG and continues to improve while KG's game will deteriorate with age. Playoff games are won by key matchups, in the Bos -Orl series Doug Rivers exposed SVG inability to adapt under duress. He allowed DH to play his game, but eliminated Orl. 3 point game as an offensive weapon. This is evidence by the poor 34% (49/145) Orlando shot for the series. Another point of weakness in Orlando's offense is the lack of a mid range shooter. Our offense revolves around a dunk by DH or a 3 pt by one of the 4 shooters. In a 7 game series a solid coach will expose Orl's weakness (see Phil Jackson, Doug Rivers).

tha truth is...
tha truth is...

Fiction. He most certainly gotta flip-flop between tha 3 and 4 spot. He's a better fit in tha PF as he stretches tha D and is lights out behind tha arc (especially on his lonesome). His ability 2 shoot is what gives him gives him any chance at SF. Against Boston, I say he plays more spurts at SF than PF due 2 tha big bodys they possess down low. Pierce is talented, but slower than most SF, which helps Lewis from a defensive standpoint, far as keeping his man in front of him. Against Miami, he should play way more PF and match up against Bosh, because due 2 reality, NOBODY can D up Lebron living or dead. He would make Bosh have 2 defend tha perimeter, which helps D12 downlow 2 have a better chance at getting offensive rebounds. Either position he plays he a defensive liability. At SF he's 2 slow. At PF against championship caliber teams he's simply not physical enough. Offensively, I wanna see him do more posting up and pump faking 2 set up a dribble drive 2 help D12 more on in terms of setting him up 4 easy buckets.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

I don't think anyone is disputing that putting Lewis at SF can work in spurts, depending on the match-ups. But it's just foolish to suggest that Lewis should be the full-time SF given the Magic's current personnel.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

"There’s a very small handful of teams in this league that have the personnel to match up with Rashard at the PF, and like you said, sometimes we get lucky and that’s to our advantage, sometimes we don’t. If everything had played out the way “the experts” thought it would than we would have faced the Cavs in the ECF last year, and I think Rashard wins the matchup against Jameson at PF. Still, battling KG to a draw is a remarkable feat, and for some reason some Magic fans can’t acknowledge that."

Great, great points. Basically takes everything that I was going to say.

Greg
Greg

Thanks for answering this one Eddy. It puts together in one location a lot of what you had pointed out in various other articles before. Personally, I completely agree with you on this.

There's a very small handful of teams in this league that have the personel to match up with Rashard at the PF, and like you said, sometimes we get lucky and that's to our advantage, sometimes we don't. If everything had played out the way "the experts" thought it would than we would have faced the Cavs in the ECF last year, and I think Rashard wins the matchup against Jameson at PF. Still, battling KG to a draw is a remarkable feat, and for some reason some Magic fans can't acknowledge that.

One thing about Rashard's defense that always annoys me is his inability (almost unwillingness) to try and block or alter shots. Seems to me that he is more a defender that forces you to take bad shots, but if you get into a scoring position on him he doesn't have the ability or desire to try and alter your shot. At times this really sticks out, and I wonder if this is why so many people think that he's not "big" enough to play PF...