Friday’s Magic Word | Magic Basketball



Dec 23

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “There’s another who-dun-it that Coach Stan Van Gundy is trying to solve: Who will be the starting power forward this season — Anderson or Glen “Big Baby” Davis? Davis started the first preseason game against the Miami Heat and Anderson got the call for the rematch. The Magic open the season Christmas Day against the Thunder in Oklahoma City. Anderson, 23, and Davis, 25, both covet the job, but their personalities and playing styles couldn’t be more different in this showdown. ‘Rhino’ is understated, the 6-foot-10, 240-pounder offering the Magic finesse outside. ‘Big Baby’ is over the top, giving them force inside at 6-9, 290 pounds. Anderson knows Van Gundy’s system, and fits it nicely with his ability to hit 3-point shots. Davis is learning as he tries to get in better shape, but his ability to play defense also appeals to Van Gundy. While both will play a lot, Van Gundy’s concern is that early foul trouble for Davis as a starter might hamper him relieving Dwight Howard as the back-up center.”
  • Chris Duhon has renewed belief in his jumpshot.
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Magic might have no choice but to trade Howard to the Lakers for Bynum, who has been fragile himself with knee problems. But Bynum has looked great this preseason — and healthy. Certainly, the Magic have even less leverage now. They want both Bynum and power forward Pau Gasol for Howard, but L.A. knows the Magic can’t use the Nets now to pressure the Lakers into giving up both bigs. The Magic’s only trump card: The Lakers must trade for Howard because they are too far over the salary cap to sign him as a free agent.”
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy has been a calmer, cooler coach.
  • According to Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post, Brook Lopez’s injury likely gives the Orlando Magic less leverage in trade talks if they attempt to move Dwight Howard in a deal: “Given that the Mavericks have precious little to offer in terms of trade assets, with scoring machine Rodrigue Beaubois being their only young player of note, the Lakers may have emerged as the favorites to land Howard if Orlando decides to trade him prior to the March 15 deadline. The Lakers can offer 24-year-old center Andrew Bynum and 10-year veteran big man Pau Gasol, but Lopez’s injury gives them some leverage. Knowing that none of Howard’s other destinations can offer a truly attractive trade package, L.A. can reduce its offer to include either Gasol or Bynum.”
  • Howard is one of the 25 most important people in the NBA.
  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus with a witty line on Howard potentially winning the Defensive Player of the Year award for a fourth consecutive season: “Oh, you mean the Dwight Howard memorial trophy?”
  • Hardwood Paroxysm’s season preview of Orlando is a must-read.
  • Nate Drexler makes an appearance on TrueHoop TV, in which he previews the five Christmas Day Games including the Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • Additional thoughts on head coach Stan Van Gundy’s relationship with Howard.
  • Ken Berger of “Whether Howard finishes the season in Orlando, New Jersey or Los Angeles, he’ll finish it as the undisputed best defensive player in the game. How’s that for going out on a limb? Howard may be distracted by the trade/free-agency drama; in fact, he’s proven himself to be mentally weaker than the last two superstars to go through this, LeBron and Carmelo Anthony. Maybe the pressure compels Howard to overcompensate and try to do too much on the offensive end, but if he just locks in on defense and lets the offense come naturally, this award will be his to lose.”
  • SB Nation’s NBA writers predict Howard will win Defensive Player of the Year again.
  • Tom Ziller of SB Nation: “The Magic are in the throes of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, with resolution by March 15 seeming far, far away. In the meantime, the roster is basically the same as it was last season, excepting the surgical removal of Arenas and the Davis-Bass swap. I respect Otis Smith’s decision to use the full wick, but I fail to see how, short of divine intervention, anything will be different this season.”
  • Will the Los Angeles Lakers trade for Howard? It’s possible.
  • Marc Stein of is convinced the Magic will trade Howard by March 15.