The Orlando Magic were eliminated in the first round of the NBA Playoffs tonight, but this may prove to be a blessing in disguise. The Magic need time to put their drama filled season behind them and start to work on unity within the team in the offseason.
With all the chaos of the saga that interrupted their season, the Magic need to close ranks and build on the assets that they do have. Players like Ryan Anderson, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson and J.J. Redick have all shown their worth over the season, but were undermined by plays designed to get Howard in the paint to dunk. Now with Howard out of the picture, hopefully for good, they can concentrate on being the team that they are and build plays that use the strengths of these underestimated stars.
During the postseason, Nelson had become the leader on the court setting up plays and making it all happen. The Magic had expected Howard to be there to lead them through the postseason, as he had stated when he opted to stay with the team at the end of the trade deadline in March. He is currently in LA recovering from back surgery that ended his season in early April with the Magic.
Any team that takes Howard on has to know that he comes with issues. It would be like signing a Terrell Owens, or Randy Moss in the NFL; no one can deal with their attitudes or egos, but can’t deny that they have some talent.
Howard believes he’s so great that he won’t have a problem finding a team to take him, but it may not be what they bargained for. Sure, they can sign a franchise player, but look at his stats. His only two assets are getting into the paint and throwing down a dunk, and getting rebounds. He can’t shoot a 3-point shot, this past season he only shot 49% in FT’s, and 57% in FG’s.
Basically, his game needs work.
Chris Broussard at ESPN tweeted last week that he “asked 22 execs from 18 NBA teams: if you were [the] Lakers, would you trade Bynum for D Howard straight up? 16 said yes, 6 said no.”
They are all crazy if they think Howard would be an asset to the Lakers. Look at what Bynum has done for the Lakers in the post season. He broke a franchise playoff record of nine blocks in a game, which was previously set by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Bynum ended the game with 10 blocks against the Denver Nuggets on April 29th, matching two NBA records held by Mark Eaton in 1985, and Hakeem Olajuwon in 1990.
Believe it or not, but the Magic have a good chance at becoming a great team next season as long as they pick up a decent center in the off season. Once they move past the soap opera that plagued them this year, Magic fans can only hope for a refreshed and organized attitude next season.