Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Lewis to Magic

It seems like just yesterday that the Orlando Magic were talking about trying to keep Darko and lure Vince Carter to South Florida. It seemed like a decent option at the time, but thank goodness for Magic fans they didn't stick to that plan. Darko is going to be wildly overpaid on his potential (certainly not for his basketball IQ or work ethic), while Carter once again showed his true colors in the postseason. Orlando would have capped out for pure mediocrity under the old plan.

I'm not sure if the addition of Rashard Lewis immediately makes them a contender in the East, but it is a start. Dwight Howard is still improving (although I'm starting to think his ceiling is lower than most people assume) and it looks like Fran Vasquez is finally ready to come help his NBA team, so Orlando has some pieces in place. Jameer Nelson needs to stop his regression and emerge as a leader and playmaker and they need a post scorer to compliment Howard (Sean May would have been perfect in the 05 draft, but that ship has sailed), but Lewis really does dramatically change their team. Orlando's biggest weaknesses last year were athleticism on the wings and an inability to stretch the floor. Lewis solves both problems and is able to go 25+ a night while staying out of Howard's way. Plus, his two problem areas - lockdown defense and rebounding out of his area (to use a Jay Bilas-ism) - are mitigated by other Magic players. Trevor Ariza can provide some needed perimeter D (when Hedo isn't on the floor) and Howard is such a tenacious rebounder that Lewis should be able to skirt that small forward duty without much of a problem. Orlando will struggle mightily on D when Nelson, Turkaglu, and Lewis are on the floor together, but mix-and-match rotations and Howard's help side defense should offset that.

All in all, I think this was the right move for Orlando. It is a bit much to spend on a second banana type player, but Lewis actually fits there team quite well. And it isn't everyday that you can add elite young talent in the NBA.

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