Tag:Rashard Lewis
Posted on: December 29, 2010 5:24 pm
 

Maybe only Blatche is available, not McGee

Posted by Royce Young

Following Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee's altercation last week, reports started bubbling up that the Wizards were shopping both big men to test the market for them.

Turns out it might just be Blatche that's having his name passed around. Via the Washington Post:
According to two Western Conference executives, the Wizards are gauging interest in Andray Blatche to determine if trading the skilled 6-foot-11 forward is best for the organization moving forward.

The executives said McGee is "not yet" on the market, despite reports to the contrary . McGee, a third-year center who participated in Team USA tryouts last summer, is averaging career highs of 9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. But he is still playing on his rookie contract, which pays him $1.6 million this season and would limit what he could bring back in return.

"JaVale seems very not available," one of the executives said.

If the Wizards are simply looking to separate the two because of the altercation, it makes sense to keep one. McGee is probably the player with more upside, though both have underachieved thus far in their young careers.

But much like the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittendon gun incident from a year ago, Washington didn't move both out of town, instead just dropping Crittendon.

The Wizards haven't been happy with the way Blatche approached this season after breaking his foot over the summer. As a result he came into the season a little fatter than expected and has been working to get in shape since opening night. This coming after he signed a three-year extension that will pay him $28 million between now and the 2014-15 season. 

More than McGee, Blatche has been a problem child. After his one-game suspension because of the fight with McGree, Blatche has now been suspended twice this calendar year. He was sat down for a game last season after getting wildly upset with coaches and trainers during and after a game. On top of that, he got into an argument with Flip Saunders last spring after he didn't check back into a game.

Add in that Washington just acquired a new 6-10 power forward in Rashard Lewis and it's clear that Blatche is the more expendable of the two. (Though Lewis probably isn't really part of the long-term plan.) Blatche carries a lot of baggage with him though, and I don't just mean the excess weight. McGee probably would've solicited a few more call-backs.

Posted on: December 20, 2010 8:40 am
 

Shootaround 12.20.10: Trades, injuries and LeBron

Posted by Royce Young
  • Andrew Bynum says he's still feeling pain in his knee: "It's not going to change. It's nothing to be nervous about. I have to expect that that's going to happen. I can't wait to start working with my trainer (Sean Zarzana) again, so I can get some explosion back. I feel like I can't really jump right now."
  • Rashard Lewis doesn't seem like enough back for Gilbert Arenas. But Michael Lee of the Washington Post says that should've been expected: “The Wizards weren’t going to get “equal value” — or whatever that may be — at this time. And, unless they were willing to take back Baron Davis — which they weren’t — the Wizards couldn’t find another comparable point guard in the deal. So they had to settle on adding another forward to a team that is now overwhelmed at the position, with the return of Josh Howard."
  • Jermaine O'Neal wants to retire a Pacer: "Just because I'm not there anymore doesn't mean all the memories are forgotten ... If it wasn't for the Pacers, the organization and the community nobody would have probably known who I was. Anywhere in the world I go, they know me because of my Pacers days."
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel : “Blame LeBron, Magic fans, if it helps. He’s been catching Heat (and that wasn’t even a forced pun) since he left the Cavs. Folks everywhere said he was at fault for everything from the Obama tax cuts to Sal Alosi to Miley Cyrus. Those are just coincidences. Not this. Sign up for our new Varsity Sports newsletter and get high school sports updates delivered right to your inbox. He’s a serial home-wrecker, fracturing franchises like Godzilla in an old sci-fi movie. He not only laid waste to the city of Cleveland, but he’s the supernatural force that eventually doomed Orlando, leading to the Magic’s break-up. Blame LeBron. If he stays in Cleveland or goes anywhere else but Miami, F-L-A, the Magic’s pre-trade woes aren’t quite as magnified or exposed. They wouldn’t look as if they were going backward so fast."
  • LeBron gets why Orlando brought back Hedo: “I’ve thought that it was surprising when Turk (Hedo Turkoglu) wasn’t brought back  the year after they beat us [Cleveland Cavaliers]. I just thought what Turk created for their team, that point-four created everything. He always created a mismatch and that was part of the reason why they beat us. There were times I would switch off onto Turk and they would go to Rashard (Lewis). Sometimes I would go on Rashard and they would go to Turk.  We were too small on the perimeter during those years … I know they’re happy to have him back. It’s gonna be different, it’s going to be a different transition because I know when you break up a team and bring guys in it takes a while. We’ll see what happens.”
Posted on: December 18, 2010 4:15 pm
Edited on: December 18, 2010 4:16 pm
 

Arenas traded to Magic; what's this mean for him?

Posted by Royce Young



Most people kind of forget that Gilbert Arenas actually began his career with the Golden State Warriors in 2001 and spent two seasons there.

But that's because over the past eight years, he's been completely synonymous with the Washington Wizards.  He was their star, their big money player, their draw and their man. He was all of that for seven-plus seasons, but with reports having him headed to Orlando, the torch has been passed to John Wall.

The relationship between Wizard fans and Arenas for those seven years was a bit of up-and-down, with a lot of down last season. People aren't necessarily going to remember him for the 30-foot bombs or the 2005-06 season when he averaged nearly 30 points a game and led the Wizards to the postseason. They're going to remember him for what happened on Dec. 24, 2009. They're going to remember the locker room incident with Javaris Crittendon. They're going to remember his massively massive contract that burdened the team over the past couple seasons. They're going to remember him for a lot of "What if" type of reasons, and not necessarily for the good stuff. A shame, but the way things go. 

Arenas knew his time was almost up in Washington, telling reporters recently that he wasn't comfortable with all this rebuilding stuff. He said he "felt like the odd man out" most of the time. And that's because he was. He's not a rebuild kind of player. Not at this point in his career. He's a gifted veteran scorer that needs to be on a good team helping them win. He doesn't have a lot of time to mess around anymore.

He's not a guy that's used to coming off the bench like he has been this season. He's not a player that's used to not being the focal point of an offense. He's not used to laying back while someone else has the ball in crunch time. He's really not completely used to being on a bad team either.

There were nights though, where Arenas would come around and show what he's still capable of. Like the 31 points he dropped on Orlando, oddly enough, three weeks ago. Or the 30 against the Bulls in early November. Arenas is still averaging over 17 points per game, despite the fact he's trying to figure out how he fits in.

Now though, he gets a fresh start. He just to start things over in Washington this season after the gun incident. He said he was going to be more serious, was going to drop his "Agent Zero" persona and even went so far as to switch his number to nine. He wanted to be a new man. He tried to say all the right things. He deferred to Wall. He did his best to be the leading veteran teammate.

But that's not Gil. That's not what he does. He's a star and he's still got something left. And that's why he felt like he just didn't fit right.

So with this move to the Magic, he has the chance to begin again. And maybe the best thing he can do is to start back over with the old Arenas. Wear No. 0. Launch 3s from halfcourt. Take over games. Joke around. He's got quite the opportunity joining the Magic as Dwight Howard's wingman. He's going to get looks. They're going to count on him to score. He's going to get the free reign on the floor that he flourishes under.

That's the player Orlando hopes it's getting. No doubt Gilbert Arenas still has talent and a lot left in the tank. That didn't leave him. He's just got to find himself again. And nobody's banking more on that than Otis Smith and the Magic.
Posted on: December 18, 2010 4:08 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:41 pm
 

Magic / Suns / Wizards trades: winners & losers

Who are the winners and losers of Saturday's trades between the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards? Posted by Ben Golliver john-wall-steve-nash Earlier Saturday, the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards agreed on trades that sent tons of pieces moving
That's a lot to take in. So who are the winners and losers of Saturday's trades? CBSSports.com's senior NBA writer Ken Berger and the NBA Facts & Rumors team weighs in round table style.

Winners
Ken Berger --  Hedo Turkoglu: He was lazy and inconsistent in Toronto, and didn't fit in at all in Phoenix. So what does he get to go with his $45 million? He gets traded to a contender, of course. And not just a contender, but the contender whose style and surroundings fit his game and personality. I don't know if Hedo can just flip the switch and go back to being the 2008-09 Hedo, but I know this: No knock on Jay Triano or Alvin Gentry, but Turkoglu will be held to a higher standard by Stan Van Gundy. Stan knows what an engaged, motivated Hedo can do, and he won't accept any less. And Hedo would be embarrassed if he gave any less to the organization that was gracious enough to have him back after he bolted on them for free agency, where the grass most definitely was not greener. Royce Young -- John Wall: He's been quietly waiting for the keys to the car and now he finally gets them. Ernie Grunfield and Flip Saunders tried to convince people Gilbert Arenas and Wall could co-exist in some kind of super-backcourt. And really, they probably could've, but this was more about the symbolic gesture of handing over the reins to Wall. He was never looking over his shoulder at Arenas, but now there's no question as to what's going on in Washington. It's full on rebuilding around Wall and that's got to make the top pick feel good about where he's at and where his team is headed.  Matt Moore -- Jason Richardson: Richardson shot a lot of threes in Phoenix. He'll shoot a lot of threes in ORlando. But now he'll do it on a team with the best center in basketball, and be in a position to be the guy down the stretch on an Eastern Conference Finalist team. While the Magic don't run and gun like Phoenix and Golden State have, he excelled in Larry Brown's Charlotte too. This gives him the ability to make the most of his prime and he should get plenty of looks. If he can run the pick and roll to any degree with Dwight Howard, he could be looking at the best year of his career.  Ben Golliver -- Marcin Gortat: There's nothing worse than watching a talented, agile, physical big man rotting away on the bench, and that's exactly what was happening in Orlando, as Gortat rode the pine behind MVP candidate Dwight Howard for the first four years of his NBA career. There was talk that Gortat would get pried away in free agency, but the Magic chose to retain him, and it probably felt to him like he would never get a shot. Instead, Gortat is headed to a team that desperately needs his defense and rebounding and is sure to give him plenty of playing time. He's also uniting with an elite point guard in Steve Nash, who will make his life easy on offense. Surely, Gortat's patience is about to pay off in a big way.  Losers

Ken Berger -- Alvin Gentry: The Suns' coach goes from scaring the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals to losing Amar'e Stoudemire to now losing J-Rich. But hey, he gets to coach Vince Carter. (Vince is a nice guy, but he's just playing out the string.) Who's next to go, Steve Nash? Well, yeah, he could be. If the Suns are in rebuilding/cost-cutting mode, I wouldn't rule anything out. Gentry deserves better. Matt Moore -- Ernie Grunfeld: That's it? We know Gilbert Arenas was untradeable. We forgive you for that. But to not get a pick or cash? Here's a question. Has Grunfeld won any trade in the past three years? Have they improved with any decision he's made outside of drafting John Wall, which was un-screw-up-able? Wizards fans weren't going to win in this trade, but Ted Leonsis may want to take a look if this is a business move, why they didn't really make that much money overall on it.  Ben Golliver -- Rashard Lewis: First, the prep-to-pro's talents and numbers fell off a cliff, and now he goes from Orlando, one of the league's championship contenders, to the Wizards, a Southeast Division basement dweller. Expectations for Lewis are starting off abysmally low and his fit is questionable, as Washington's frontcourt includes Andray Blatche, who plays heavy minutes, and rookie forwards Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin, who will need playing time going forward if they are to develop. Washington also has youngsters on the wing, so a full-time shift of Lewis to the small forward position isn't particularly ideal for rebuilding efforts either. Given the length of his contract, he is sure to be the bane of Wizards' fans existences, which is no fun, because he was able to hide out reasonably well in small-market Orlando, thanks to the team's winning and the large shadow cast by Howard. Royce Young -- Steve Nash: Nash has already expressed some level of disappointment with Jason Richardson leaving for Orlando on Twitter, saying, "Everyone wish [Richardson] the best in Orlando. Great player and great teammate! He will be missed. Damn." But now it's clear the Suns are trying to begin some sort of rebuilding project, something the 36-year-old Nash can't be excited about. The Suns almost made the NBA Finals last season behind the quality scoring of Richardson and now they get a near washed-up Vince Carter. Can't feel good for Nash right now as he sees his window closing quickly. 
Posted on: December 18, 2010 3:38 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:41 pm
 

Magic/Suns/Wizards trade: what they're saying

The Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards engaged in a blockbuster trade on Saturday involving Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, picks, cash, Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas and Rashard Lewis. Here's what various NBA experts have to say about it. Posted by Ben Golliver

Any time a big trade goes down, the reaction comes in fast and furious on Twitter and the rest of the blogosphere. Here's what various NBA experts, players and writers are saying about Saturday's trades between the Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com : "It is a swing-for-the-fences for Orlando, which came under immense pressure to make a big trade while losing five of its last six games and taking an obvious back seat to Boston and Miami in the East. Turkoglu, who struggled in stints with Toronto and Phoenix, returns to Orlando -- where he was a key piece in Orlando's run to the 2009 NBA Finals.  Arenas is the bigger name, but the key to the deal could be Richardson, a perimeter sniper who fits the Magic's style and gives them a clutch scorer and big-time shooter to further space the floor for Dwight Howard."

Matt Moore, CBSSports.com : "Do not underestimate the value of getting Richardson here. Forget Hedo."

Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports : "The Magic are desperate to please Dwight Howard and keep him out of free agency in two years. Will this be enough? Why wouldn't Orlando try out this new cast, and wait on adding Agent Zero? That Lewis-Arenas deal will always be there for them."

Jason Richardson : "It's been a great 2 1/2 yrs Suns fans! My family and I enjoyed out time around such a great organization and fans. I'm excited about opportunity to play in Orlando! Thanks for all the love and support you guys showed me. God Bless!"

Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns : "Everyone wish @Jason Richardson the best in Orlando. Great player and great teammate! He will be missed. Damn."

Jared Dudley, Phoenix Suns : "Man I'm goin to miss my boy @jrich23 .. Great teammate, good luck in Orlando boy do work."

Michael Lee, Washington Post : "This is not a basketball move, folks. This is business. The #Wizards' record past 53 games with Gilbert Arenas is 15-38."

David Aldridge, NBA.com : "The deal would rid the Wizards of one of their biggest public relations headaches in years. While Arenas helped Washington make the playoffs for the first time in a decade and became an All-Star playing alongside Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, his infamous suspension for bringing guns into the Verizon Center locker room last December as part of a prank and/or confrontation with then-teammate Javaris Crittenton cast a shadow over the franchise. Arenas was suspended by Commissioner David Stern for the final 50 games of last season and served time in a halfway house in the D.C. suburbs after pleading guilty to one felony count of carrying a pistol without a license."

Chad Ford, ESPN.com : "I'm not a big fan of that deal for Orlando. Rarely pays to panic in December. Better deal for Phoenix in the future w/ pick & Gortat. This one feels more of a wash. Arenas if healthy helps, but Magic now pretty weak up front. After Howard & Bass, there isn't much there. Magic didn't want to re-sign Turkoglu in 09. He was overpaid by Raptors. Underperforms in Tor & Phx & now fans excited to have him back?"

Bill Simmons, ESPN.com : "1. Total panic trade by Orl but their cap was kaput anyway. As a C's fan I'm slightly more scared of them now. JR > VC + Hedo thrived there. 2. Hedo-Barbosa deal was always idiotic for Phx. Confirmed by Phx being forced to dump JRich to dump Hedo's contract 5 mths later. Savvy! 3. Phx comes within a hair of making the '10 Finals, dumps JRich-LB-Amare-Amundson...now they're way worse off + cap-wise no better. Savvy!"

Vincent Goodwill, Detroit News : "A lot of guys need the rock in Orlando. Hedo loves, Gil needs it and So does Dwight...what about Jameer too? This will be interesting. It will be interesting, whether you think it's a hot mess, I have no qualms with a team and ownership going all-in to win."

Evan Dunlap, Orlando Pinstriped Post : "Richardson, a ten-year veteran swingman, is scoring 19.3 points in 31.8 minutes per game this season and connecting on 41.9 percent of his three-point tries. He strikes me as the most significant player in this trade from Orlando's perspective, as his ability to knock down open three-pointers and elevate for jump shots off the dribble should boost its weak offense. His contract expires after this season.

The bigger draw, from a narrative perspective, is Turkoglu's return to Orlando. The Magic acquired Carter following their 2009 NBA Finals run ostensibly to upgrade Turkoglu's spot on that team, with Turkoglu departing in free agency a few weeks later. When viewed this way, the Magic had a second chance to choose between Carter and Turkoglu, and this time they sided with Turkoglu. The combo forward with point guard skills has struggled since leaving the Magic; perhaps a return to Stan Van Gundy's offense, which helped make him the league's Most Improved Player in the 2007/08 season, will fix what ails him. As my SB Nation colleague Seth Pollack writes, Turkoglu has frustrated the Suns in myriad ways this year."

Chris Vernon, Fox Sports Memphis : "Everyone has noticed how bad Rashard Lewis has been since he got caught with 'performance enhancement', right? goes on in NBA too."

Scott, Waiting For Next Year : "Orlando is the new Cleveland; adding big contracts, veteran pieces in attempt to keep Dwight Howard happy."

Seth Pollack, SB Nation Arizona : "At this point, losing Turkoglu probably wouldn't upset too many people in the locker room, as he's not been here that long. Swapping Richardson for Carter, however, could create a potential chemistry crisis that might be the final straw for Steve Nash, who's repeatedly expressed his frustration at the lack of stability on the team over the past several years."

Mike Prada, Bullets Forever : "There will be lots of time to reflect on the end of the Arenas era, and in fact, we are planning a day-long tribute to Arenas sometime early next week.  At this point, though, I'm just sad.  I wish we could have receive more than Lewis back, but we don't really know just how much discontent Arenas was showing behind the scenes.  It's possible that he was prepared to leave anyway and this was the only thing Ernie Grunfeld could get for him.  Orlando isn't going to be this desperate again this year, so maybe the trade possibility would have passed by.  Still, it's a disappointing return on the surface for someone who gave us so many memories.

Kyle Weidie, Truth About It : "Trade or whatever, Ernie Grunfeld's time in Washington has gotten rather stale. 7 years is a long, good run as a GM/team pres. #MoveOn.org"

Art Garcia, NBA.com : "Gotta admire Otis for doing something in Dec rather than Feb. Two extra months to make it work."

Ethan Skolnick, Palm Beach Post : "Offensively, on the perimeter, the Magic will be more dynamic. Lewis was in a funk, and Carter — now just an erratic jump-shooter without his old spring — was never a good fit. The Magic moved the ball better without him, as was evident when he missed the last meeting with the Heat. Arenas is a volume shooter, but at least he’s shown this season that he can still create his own shot. Richardson is a tougher player than Lewis and just as good from deep. And if anyone can salvage Turkoglu, it’s Stan Van Gundy — Hedo hasn’t been motivated or effective since he left.

Adding Arenas, Jason Richardson and Turkoglu to a shooter like J.J. Redick and a functional two-player like Quentin Richardson, plus a point guard trio of Jameer Nelson-Chris Duhon-Jason Williams, and the Magic has more depth on the outside than any team in the NBA."
Posted on: December 18, 2010 12:42 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:41 pm
 

Suns join Wizards, Magic in Arenas trade talks

The Phoenix Suns are the latest team to join trade rumors involving the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards on a possible Gilbert Arenas deal.gilbert-arenas Posted by Ben Golliver

We've been carefully tracking the Gilbert Arenas trade rumors for months. On Friday, whispers that began back in October and got warm in December intensified, when it was reported that the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards were zeroing in on a deal for the former Agent Zero. As the night progressed, Magic big man Marcin Gortat, Magic wing Vince Carter and forward Rashard Lewis both found their names in various rumors, although the final framework of the deal that would reunite Arenas with a mentor, Magic GM Otis Smith, hasn't yet emerged, although reports continue that a deal is close. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that a third team could wind up crashing the Washington / Orlando party.
League sources say a third team is involved, with the Suns possibly contributing Hedo Turkoglu to the equation. The Magic, trying to make a bold move to close the gap with Boston and Miami, would wind up with Arenas and Turkoglu, who would return to the team he led to the NBA Finals before a frustrating year in Toronto. Magic center Marcin Gortat is "100 percent involved," though it's unclear whether the Magic would be sending out Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, or both. 
One of the guarantees coming into this season is that Phoenix, run by cost-conscious, impulsive owner Robert Sarver, would be active prior to the trade deadline if they didn't start hot. By handing out relatively big contracts to the likes of Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick, trading for the massively-overpaid Turkoglu, and re-signing Jared Dudley, the Suns simply had way, way too much money committed at the same position, making adequate roster and positional balance virtually impossible. The Suns have started 12-13, which is good enough for second place in the terrible Pacific Division, but puts them on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture looking in. Until more details emerge, it's unclear what Phoenix's role will be, whether it's as a facilitator to make salaries work or as a legitimate partner.  Meanwhile, Berger also reports that landing Arenas in Orlando may not be as easy as first thought.
But according to a person familiar with the situation, Smith faces two significant obstacles in bringing Arenas to Orlando. The first is Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who has told friends he is extremely reluctant to add Arenas to the roster. The second, and even more important impediment, is Orlando ownership, which has serious reservations about absorbing Arenas' contract. Arenas has one more year left than Lewis and two more than Carter -- essentially three more with Carter's partial guarantee in 2013-14. Turkoglu's contract could ease some of that pain, as the Turkish star agreed to accept a reduced guarantee in '13-'14 as part of his trade from Toronto to Phoenix. 
In Arenas, Turkoglu and Lewis, you're looking at three of the worst contracts in the entire league, so there's no question it will take some internal selling from management on all sides of this trade to convince their own owners that the grass is greener on the other side.  But that doesn't necessarily mean this will fall apart, as all three teams are very motivated sellers.  Washington needs to turn the keys over to John Wall and start a new chapter. That's a no-brainer, and has been clear since the Wizards drafted Wall with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. Orlando needs an aggressive scoring spark on the wing to avoid taking a half-step back this season. Saturday morning, the Orlando Sentinel quotes Smith as saying trade talks with the Wizards are at an "8" on a 1-10 level of seriousness. The Associated Press reports that Smith confirmed that talks are ongoing but also said that "nothing is imminent" with regard to an Arenas trade.  The Sentinel also notes that Magic brass "would much rather have" Denver Nuggets all star forward Carmelo Anthony or New Orleans Hornets all star point guard Chris Paul, but Anthony appears headed elsewhere and Paul hasn't seen his name in serious trade rumors since the season started. Phoenix, as explained above, could use better roster balance, as coach Alvin Gentry has struggled with setting his bench rotation all season, in part because of so many relatively similar pieces on the wing. Given Smith's comment about the seriousness of these talks, surely there will be more developments as the weekend continues.
Posted on: December 18, 2010 3:27 am
Edited on: December 18, 2010 3:29 am
 

Report: Rashard Lewis involved in trade talks

As Wizards and Magic continue trade talks, Rashard Lewis' name has entered the discussions, according to one source. Posted by Matt Moore

Hot on the heels of reports that talks between Orlando and Washington are stirring, a number of other developments have occurred. Orlando Pinstriped Post, the blog that first reported talks had resumed between the Magic and Wizards on December 1st is reporting that a source has indicated Rashard Lewis has been included in trade talks with the Washington Wizards in the Magic's ongoing pursuit of Gilbert Arenas

Internet reports (yes I realize they're all internet reports) have started cropping up regarding the possibility of a deal being done, but a source tells CBSSports.com's Ken Berger that no deal is "imminent" though talks are ongoing. 

Moving Lewis would be a huge move for Orlando, bigger than Vince Carter. It would mean taking their biggest anchor of a contract off their books, though they'd have to add on something equally laborious. The Wizards do have newly-extended Andray Blatche who seems to have worn out his welcome, alongside Arenas'  massive contract. There's also the possibility of a third team getting involved with talks, with Portland, Charlotte, and Houston all heavy in trade discussions of the past week. 

The Magic are aiming for something big to remake the team and get them to the next level, the one Boston currently perches atop like Zeus on the mountain. Debate will rage should they choose to add Arenas if he is the kind of player that can get him there. As it stands, Arenas is a better facilitator than Carter, but a less efficient scorer, and one with a higher usage. According to Synergy Sports, Arenas has been the superior defender this season, allowing .83 points per possession to Carter's 1.00. 

Of course, all of this discounts the immeasurable intangible questions associated with Arenas. It's hard to find a player with worse recurring injury issues than Vince Carter, but Arenas fits the bill. This is all before the whole "bringing firearms to his place of work" thing. 

Lewis has been a staple of the Orlando offense, and was a huge part of the 2009 Finals run for the Magic. But as he's gotten older, he's become an even worse rebounder, and has lost his ability to create his own shot. As a result, the offense stagnates under him. Moving him would be a boon, even if they took back someone limited. If they were to get a more traditional power forward, perhaps, it might be a win for the Magic. 

We'll keep you posted. 
Posted on: December 10, 2010 11:25 am
Edited on: December 10, 2010 11:52 am
 

The Game Changer: Orlando missing some magic

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: DWIGHT NEEDS HELP

The Blazers locked down on the Magic, winning a defensive scrum 97-83, with the Magic scoring just 34 second half points. It's probably the best win (and most needed) win for Portland and a loss for Orlando that showcased a few issues.

Two main points that were highlighted really well in this game:

1) The Blazers can defend with the best of them. I think one of the most beautiful things to watch is Portland playing at home with a late lead. It's like watching the Pittsburgh Steelers milk a lead. The Blazers run the ball, take each possession seriously, but aren't afraid to punt. Portland is so ridiculously disciplined and every player understands the importance of never giving ground and never letting their man beat them.

One possession sticks out to me. The Magic had the ball on the left wing, with Jameer Nelson trying to feed Rashard Lewis in the post with the smaller Wesley Matthews guarding. Matthews of course is giving around five inches on Lewis. But not only could Nelson not get a clear entry look at Lewis, Matthews also had Lewis pushed all the way out near the 3-point line. There's just this, "I'm not going to let you score on me" mentality there.

2) The Magic need another scorer badly.
Not to take anything away from the Blazers' defensive discipline and keep in mind most of the Magic roster is still battling a bit of the flu, but all of this was really aided by the fact the Magic can turn into a painfully one-dimensional team. The Blazers made a lot of that happen by taking away the drive and kick and forcing Orlando to work 20 seconds on the offensive end.

Portland was content letting Howard do his work in the post, rarely sending a double to help. Howard played really, really well but it's clear he's not the early decade Shaq. Early Decade Shaq would've had 50 in a game like this. His team could've just fed the post every time and relied on him to score. Howard doesn't have that ability. But then again, we're talking about Shaq, one of the three best centers ever.

Howard scored 26 points in the first half and finished with a season-high 39, but finished the game 2-8 from the field. Again, Portland let Howard do his work early and that led to a big Magic lead, but later in the game when things tightened up, Orlando just didn't have a clear option. The Magic went almost seven minutes in the fourth quarter without a field goal.

And the thing is, Orlando was determined to get the ball into Howard and his new and improved post game. But that meant they bypassed their bread and butter pick and roll. Again, Howard's not a consistent post scorer (yet). So there has to be an option for him to kick out to when things get shut down. Orlando can get away with this stuff against mediocre defenses, but against a group like the Blazers, everything gets exposed.

So again, it comes back to the help Howard needs. Vince Carter, Nelson, J.J. Redick -- someone -- had to step up and be able to score 10 fourth quarter points. 2008 Hedo Turkoglu was that guy for Orlando. Instead, the Magic suffered as their possessions were strung out, most of the time ending up with a long, contested jumper or a forced shot in the post. The next high scorer beside Howard was Lewis with 11. I think that says things well.

Is Gilbert Arenas the answer? Maybe. But at one point the TNT crew had Magic general manager Otis Smith standing, watching his unit toil away with yet another empty possession. And Smith had to be thinking about getting Howard some help. Clearly the team is an upper tier squad. They'll win 50 games in their sleep. But to win a title, they need help. It's going to be a risk, but it might be worth it for the potential reward.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Dwight Howard gets the gold star for the night with a season-high 39 points on 13-20 shooting, but more impressive was his 13-18 effort from the free throw line. Oh, and of course he added 15 rebounds and three blocks.

Runner-up: Rajon Rondo had another Rondo night with 19 points and 14 assists.

J.J. Barea gets a mention with 13 assists in just 27 minutes.

DRAWING UP A WIN FOR BOSTON

The Celtics and 76ers traded go-ahead buckets with under a minute left in really one of the most fun games of the season so far. And with the Sixers leading 101-100 with 6.6 seconds left, Boston called its last timeout and Doc Rivers went to drawing up a play.

I think everyone assumed it would be an isolation for Paul Pierce where he gets to the elbow for a game-winner. Instead, Pierce was decoyed in a faux pick and pop, while Rondo dished to Kevin Garnett for a game-winning layup.



After watching the play about 15 times, I still can't decide if that was just Rondo audibling out of the original play or if that was the way Rivers drew it up.

But the key is how Garnett shows a screen as Pierce comes for another on the other side. The Sixers likely anticipate the ball going to Pierce so Jrue Holliday switches to Garnett immediately. Rondo sees the mis-match and lobs the ball beautifully to Garnett for the winner. A lot of it was a nice design, some was poor decisions by Thaddeus Young and Holliday, but most of it was a great play by Rondo. 

THIS ONE GOES TO 11

The Mavericks took their winning streak to 11 games with a 102-89 take-care-of-business style home win over the Nets. Really, it was about as formulaic a game as you'd expect between an 18-4 team and a 6-17 team.

The Mavs led 30-19 after one and really just kind of played like a bully keeping the smaller kid at arms length. The Nets would edge back in the game and then Dirk Nowitzki would hit a jumper. Or Jason Kidd would hit a 3. Or the Nets would go five minutes without a field goal.

What's so impressive about the Mavs right now is that it almost seems easy. Dirk led them with 21, but it was on 8-10 shooting. After that, it was Shawn Marion with 18 off the bench, Jason Terry and Caron Butler with 15 apiece and then everyone else was in single-digits. But all 10 plays that played scored.

PARTING THOUGHT

On the wrong end of Garnett's game-winner though was a dejected, heartbroken Sixers team that really fought hard in a losing effort. Philly coach Doug Collins after the loss: "It's like a kick in the gut." The Sixers are now 1-11 in games decided by less than 10 points.
 
 
 
 
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