Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images
Here’s another installment of the Magic Basketball Mailbag.
Will the Magic make an offer for Melo after all?
Most likely, no.
If it hasn’t happened now, then it probably won’t happen.
I just had a debate with some Lakers fans. One of them claims that we have no defense against the Heat. What’s your take?
Dwight Howard thinks otherwise.
Having the two-time Defensive Player of the Year as the anchor of the defense will help the Orlando Magic against the Miami Heat and slow them down a little bit, but it’s not entirely clear if he alone is enough to stop them. Yes, the Magic have a bevy of perimeter defenders but none of them have proven that they can stop either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, or even slow them down at all.
James, Wade, and Chris Bosh have been Magic-killers for years. This is nothing new and when looking at the matchups defensively, even with Howard in the paint to help discourage James or Wade from attacking the basket at will, it’s doubtful that it will be enough. That’s what’s frightening about this matchup. Orlando has almost no choice but to single-cover James, Wade, and Bosh at times. Who stops them?
Maybe Bosh can be contained, but what about James and Wade?
Let’s put it this way.
In 2009, the Magic led the NBA in defensive efficiency yet were unable to effectively defend James, Wade, and Bosh individually on their respective teams.
James eviscerated Orlando’s defense in the Conference Finals, averaging 39 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists per game. That’s not even including James’ regular season meetings, mind you.
Wade, infamously, scored 50 points in a loss during a regular season game and in four meetings, averaged an obscene 38 points per game on a .579 True Shooting percentage.
As for Bosh, he averaged 24.5 points per game on a .622 True Shooting percentage — including a 40-point outburst in one meeting.
And remember, this was when they were the primary focus of the Magic defensively.
Yes, there’s going to be a redistribution of shots and possessions but if James, Wade, and Bosh were able to accomplish these feats by themselves, it’s scary to figure out what they’ll do as a tandem.
For example, the Heat could employ the Charlotte Bobcats’ strategy of going right at Howard in the paint and draw fouls on him. If Miami were to succeed in that philosophy, have mercy on Marcin Gortat because he’s going to be left on an island.