Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
To continue Magic Basketball’s preview of the 2010-2011 season for the Orlando Magic, I gathered writers that cover them on a day-to-day basis. Each writer, except for one, has media access with the Magic and offers an authoritative voice concerning the team.
So, without further ado, here are the participants:
Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel
Dan Savage, OrlandoMagic.com
Ben Q. Rock, Orlando Pinstriped Post
Andrew Melnick, Howard the Dunk
Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily
Each individual provided his opinion on which team in the Eastern Conference — between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat — is a bigger obstacle for the Magic, Ryan Anderson‘s role on the team, and more
Which team concerns you more — the Boston Celtics or the Miami Heat?
Andrew Melnick: This is tough because both teams will present a lot of problems. The Celtics have added a few nice pieces and look very deep but I think this year’s Magic team is better equipped to handle them. Before media day, the Magic had a lengthy meeting (somewhere around three to three-and-a-half hours) and based on the comments from several players, toughness — both mental and physical — is being stressed this season. I think the Magic, through losing to the Celtics last year, are better equipped to deal with them this year. Dwight Howard’s performance in the second half of the series also backs up that statement. He is learning to play differently against different big men (i.e. using finesse against the powerful Kendrick Perkins).
The Miami Heat offer a completely different challenge. Not only do they have three All-Stars and arguably the two best players in basketball but all of three of them have absolutely torched the Magic throughout their careers. In fact, Dwyane Wade averages more points against the Magic (29.9 ppg) than he does against any other team. Chris Bosh (23.2 ppg, 10.0 rpg) and LeBron James (28.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 6.4 apg) have put up huge numbers as well.
I don’t see how the Magic can consistently deal with all three of these players on the defensive end (well, I don’t see how anyone can) and with Wade and James defending the perimeter, it’s going to make life very difficult for Orlando’s shooters and drivers.
The Heat also put pretty good talent around their big three, including sharpshooter and former Rookie of the Year (while with the Magic) Mike Miller.
Dwight Howard should be able to handle all of the Miami’s big men but with James and Wade constantly penetrating, it’s going to be quite difficult for Howard to stay out of trouble – he’s going to have to be extremely careful and pick his battles.