AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
There’s a lot of things going wrong for the Orlando Magic right now.
After starting the regular season with a record of 11-4, the Magic have lost five of their last six games with no end in sight. Orlando was in a similar funk last season, when they lost eight of nine games before general manager Otis Smith pulled the trigger and traded for Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu in two separate trades. This time around, it’s only a matter of time until Dwight Howard is the one involved in a trade.
My how things have changed so quickly.
Magic Basketball discuss the Magic’s recent free-fall.
The Magic have lost 5 of their last 6 games. What’s happened?
Nate Drexler: Guys like Anderson, Redick and Turkoglu got worse while J-Rich and Jameer didn’t get any better. It was only a matter of time before the hot shooting would end. Look, this team is uninspired, and struggles to just maintain possession much less get a good shot. Roster issues have all but suffocated this team to death.
Danny Nowell: When the Magic were winning, it was because everything that could go right was, and the odds weren’t good on everything continuing to click at once. WIth so thin a bench, and players as mercurial as Hedo leading the way, every player who was contributing had to play nearly flawlessly all the time.
Matt Scribbins: Orlando’s ridiculously poor play coincided with a stretch where they started to face better competition. Mix in incessant rumors about the best player on the team leaving town and you have a recipe for a disaster. In this case, the Magic followed the recipe exactly.
Jameer Nelson is having the worst season of his career. What’s happened?
Drexler: Jameer is a far cry from 2009. He is playing with no command, no spunk, no energy, and no confidence. He used to have this chip on his shoulder and would put himself in situations where he could absolutely kill you in the pick and roll. Now he has a hard time staying on his feet, much less throwing good passes.
Nowell: Loath as I am to do so, it’s hard to contribute Nelson’s play to anything but mental disarray. He’s shooting badly, yes, but also playing less aggressively, throwing flaccid passes and generally seeming done. In potentially related news, Dwight’s less-than-subtle public hints about his teammates’ talent are becoming more and more frequent.
Scribbins: I’m most interested in these three things: his turnover percentage is way up, his free-throw percentage is way down, and his rebounding percentage is way down. Those areas seem like they are tied closely to effort and focus. Has all of the attention on Dwight leaving town been too much for Jameer to handle?
Glen Davis is also having the worst season of his career. What’s happened?
Drexler: Down in Orlando he can’t get his game going in the post as Dwight is always going to be there, his game from 15-18 feet is not as good when it’s the only weapon he has, and frankly he seems a bit unhappy to have arrived on a roster where basically no one gives a flying fart what is happening.
Nowell: Davis’ skill set was never such that he was going to fit well in Orlando. The Celtics, with their diversity of skills and flexibility, could absorb Davis’ inefficiencies while benefitting from his defense. On the Magic, though, Davis’ mid-range inaccuracy and tendency to try and create himself shots aren’t masked by a broader fit within the team context.
Scribbins: Last year, Big Baby played significant minutes on a team with a handful of future Hall of Famers. This season, he is playing fewer minutes on a team whose lone future Hall of Famer is about to leave. Plus, there was a debate before the season about who should start between Davis and Anderson. Um, that debate is settled forever.