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As seen on TrueHoop.
Entering the season, some of the biggest question marks for the Orlando Magic were shot creation and perimeter scoring. After a 16-9 start to the year, in which the Magic’s offense ranked 14th in offensive efficiency, an inconvenient truth had been realized — Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis weren’t cutting it anymore.
Even though Carter was performing efficiently on offense for Orlando, when push comes to shove, he can’t score at will like LeBron James, Paul Pierce, and other scorers of that ilk. Carter isn’t the player he once was. As for Lewis, his numbers have fallen off a cliff this season and he looks like a shell of his former self on the offensive side of the ball. As such, there were many times when the Magic stagnated offensively and struggled to generate points on the perimeter. A tell-tale sign came during Orlando’s recent four-game losing streak when, for the first time under head coach Stan Van Gundy‘s tenure, the team didn’t score more than 85 points in three consecutive games. Coupled with the Magic playing with a lack of energy and effort on a consistent basis, and changes needed to be made.
Insert Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson into the equation. The expectation, when it comes down to it, is that Arenas, Turkoglu and Richardson address some glaring weaknesses for Orlando. The shot creation and perimeter scoring is there; now the Magic have to address their lack of frontcourt depth and size with the purge of Lewis and Marcin Gortat. Needless to say, it’s likely that Magic president Otis Smith isn’t done shaking up the roster. Will the changes be enough to overtake the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference? That remains to be seen. Van Gundy has a lot of work to do to assimilate Arenas, Turkoglu, and Richardson into Orlando’s schemes collectively. Then there’s the issue of figuring out whether or not the Magic sacrificed too much defense with these trades. The next couple of months should be real interesting.