AP Photo/Mike Carlson
I don’t need to tell you this, but in case you haven’t been paying attention, the Magic pretty much stink right now. Naturally this raises questions. How do you fix it? What’s the root of the problem? Whose fault is it? Where do we go from here?
How about this question.
What on earth is Stan Van Gundy going to do for the rest of this season? If this roster stays the same, Orlando will drop below .500 and not make the playoffs. Note it. It’s really that bad.
Why do I say so? Well, for one thing, last night Orlando was more successful with Von Wafer and Larry Hughes on the floor than any combination of their first seven guys. It’s a disaster. No one can hit shots, and I’m talking about the open shots as well as the contested ones. You’ve got Glen Davis fading away from 15 feet, guys trying to give Dwight the ball seven feet from the basket, everyone and their mother turning the ball over like they have absolutely no clue how to make a strong pass, and Stan Van Gundy about ready to pull out his hair and roll around on the court like a mad man.
To make matters worse, you can see it all over these guys’ faces. Turkoglu is the best example. He looks like he’d be happier hanging out with his family somewhere, eating duck, wearing Italian suits, and laughing about how fun yesteryear was. He has no interest whatsoever in being on a basketball court. I’m going to dare to say it — his time is up. It’s come and gone. I love the guy to death, but no type of shock therapy can revive him from his current state.
Speaking of guys who are probably done, Jameer can’t dribble, and when he tries to dribble, he falls. He also can’t shoot for some reason, so guys don’t really have to guard him at all when he’s in a pick-and-roll. I don’t know why, but you can probably stick a fork in him too. Von Wafer did a better job bringing the ball up the floor against the 76ers than Nelson has this season. So did Larry Hughes.
Ryan Anderson does things well, but not as consistently as anyone wants. He plays decent games and then bad games. Also, he outrebounds Dwight sometimes, which is a crying shame. How is that even possible? Besides, we can’t honestly expect any more than we’re getting from Anderson. He’s a role player and has had a hell of a start, but the law of averages is starting to kick in.
Jason Richardson is nonexistent, and the same goes for Quentin Richardson, I could go on. For now, though, I’m done trolling on individuals. That was just a rant to set up my thesis. Here we go.
Part of me feels like if there was an option to shut this whole thing down right now, let players walk away, and have the next few months to offer deals to other guys around the league, then you take that option! This is an unfixable, un-coachable runaway train that someone needs to put the breaks on.
It’s time to start packaging guys and shipping them out. I’m talking about big blockbuster packages. Deal Howard, Anderson and Jameer in a package. Deal Redick, J-Rich, Duhon and Turk in a package. Just get them out the door.
First things first — Orlando needs a point guard. I don’t care who it is. Let Joakim Noah bring the ball up. At least he doesn’t turn the ball over. Orlando needs to pay someone to calm down, get the ball up the floor, and run the pick-and-roll. It wouldn’t hurt if they could score a little too.
Once they get that, then you start looking for non-streak shooters, non-volume shooters, and shooters who can hit open shots. Goodness, I’d even take Kyle Korver at this point. Give me Mike Miller — whatever.
Or here’s an idea. How about deal Dwight for some guys who can fill it up? What about Dwight for Monta Ellis? Ok, that’s a bad idea, but maybe you can see where am going here. For the record, I’d love to package a blockbuster deal with the Bulls, but that will likely never happen because, well, they have a pretty good thing going up there at the moment, and probably won’t break up the band to land Dwight. But if you’re wondering what I want for Dwight and some other pieces, it’s Joakim Noah and Luol Deng among other things.
Whoever you want in exchange for Dwight, we are now at the point where it’s time to blow it up and shut it down. A brand-new look is not only preferable at this point, it’s absolutely necessary (though ownership’s desire to acquire veterans does complicate matters). Zach Harper of Daily Dime Live tells you to never trust the Hawks. I’m telling you don’t trust the Orlando Magic. Orlando is never going to get equal value for Dwight Howard. What’s important, though, is getting something soon.
Side note: can I get a Caron Butler on my team? Can I get a Tony Allen? How about a Thaddeus Young or a James Harden? It’s unbelievable to read these names and try to compare them to some of the guys on this Orlando roster. What a miserable exercise. I’m depressed.
Time to digress. The only answer right now is dealing Dwight. Let’s shut it down the only way we know how. This is not to say that Dwight is the reason the Magic aren’t good — far from it. I’m saying this club I’m partying in is packed with ugly girls and dudes I don’t want that in my favorite club. Sometimes you have to SHUT THE CLUB DOWN before it gets out of hand.
Put differently, it’s panic time in Orlando.
So what do you do as owner? You deal Dwight. Then you tell your fans to relax, it’s going to be a growing process, but we’ll have you another decent team in a few years.
Otherwise you’re just delaying the inevitable. You’re just going to have a team of guys who could not care less about the game trolling around the court missing shots, turning the ball over, and letting Glen Davis fadeaway from 15 feet. And no one wants to see that. Except maybe Otis Smith.
Nate Drexler is a contributing writer for Magic Basketball. Follow him on Twitter.