Orlando Magic Blog

Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The week ahead for the Magic, and speculation about Vince Carter becoming a reserve

The Orlando Magic begin the week in first place in the SE division at 25-12 (14-4 home, 11-8 road), 1 1/2 games ahead of second place Atlanta. The Magic are currently the third seed in the East, 2 games behind second seed Boston and 3 games behind top seed Cleveland. Last season after 37 games, the Magic were 29-8.

The Magic play 6 of their next 8 games on the road, and begin a 4 game game road trip this week with 3 games:

Tuesday, Jan. 12th: at Sacramento (15-21, 12-8 home, 4th Pacific) Last season, the Magic set the NBA record for most three pointers in a game here; Kings are 3-7 in their last 10 games.

Wednesday, Jan. 13th: at Denver (23-14, 15-3 home, 1st Northwest) Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups have missed games recently; Nuggets are 4-6 in their last 10 games.

Friday, Jan. 15th: at Portland (23-16, 14-7 home, 2nd Northwest) Blazers are besieged by injuries, missing Greg Oden, Rudy Fernandez, Joel Przybilla, and Travis Outlaw, but are 6-4 in their last 10 games.

The Magic are coming off one of their best games of the year with a resounding win against Atlanta to break their 4 game losing streak. Hopefully, it carries over to this challenging road trip. The Magic would do well to win 2 of 3 this week.

Former Orlando Sentinel writer Tim Povtak, now a columnist and writer for NBA Fanhouse, wrote a column this weekend suggesting the Magic may be better off having Vince Carter come off the bench when he returns from his shoulder injury and leave J.J. Redick as the starting shooting guard.

Here are some excerpts from Povtak's column:

Van Gundy was lamenting the inability of his four best players – All-Stars Carter, Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson – to play well together this season.

They have won just five of the 10 games they started together, which prompted the possible change-of-lineup discussion. They played the first 10 games without Lewis (suspension). They played 16 without Nelson (knee). And they played Saturday without Carter. They are 20-7 in those games.

"We have been quite a bit better this season when we've had at least one of those four guys out, '' Van Gundy said. "We just have not been very good with them – not nearly as good as we've played the rest of the games. I don't know if that's something where we need to get some more complementary players in there with them.''

"It (a lineup switch) is something you may have to look at, what some of the other guys bring a little bit better in terms of balance, guys who don't need plays called for them,'' Van Gundy said. "Part of it is guys in their roles and how they play. Instead of four guys who see themselves as scorers, you would get three and a couple guys who do other things.''

Carter becomes the most likely choice for a role change among the four. Howard is the best center in the league. Nelson is the co-captain and floor leader. Lewis is in the midst of a $118 million contract, and still in his prime. Carter is no longer among the best at his position and moving into the twilight of his career.

Here is the complete column from Tim Povtak.


  • At 4:23 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Considering how Nelson, Carter, Lewis, and Howard have been so inconsistent and the team has struggled when the four of them have started together, I guess I would be open to the idea of Carter coming off the bench as 6th man.

    The chemistry between the four of them as starters just isn't there.

    Some people might be in favor of benching Jameer Nelson in favor of Jason Williams (as Matt has suggested).

    When I first heard of the idea about Carter coming off the bench, I'm like... no way, but Vince might be an ideal 6th man, because of how he can score so quickly (when his shot is on). He can still finish games, also.

    It can't hurt to try, I guess.

  • At 9:24 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    This is the problem with analysts who are not rooted in both (a mixture of) quantitative and qualitative analysis. Statisticians fall in love with numbers - numbers don't lie fallacy - but numbers may lie if they are interpreted incorrectly. Others, who fully rely on qualitative analysis and ignore numbers fall short on the other end of the continuum. I like Tim Povtak as an analyst, but he has ignored Vince's numbers as the top scorer with the Magic while his qualitative analysis is not deep enough.

    I am in favor of distributing minutes based on the production but only on a mixed-method (quantitative/qualitative) assessment of production. The beauty is when one is able to quantify (even subjectively) qualitative values - like leadership, energy, harmony with other and likes. This has to be on case-by-case basis not a predetermined formula.

    Vince has been the top scorer, and the go-to-guy for SVG, but the problem is that he has not been consistent. My guess is that due to injuries and tough schedule he never fully recovered from his injuries, but he is too good of a professional to complain. This has to be resolved between him and the coach. May be his role should be limited or his minutes cut until he is fully recovered and re-energized. However, I don't favor starting J.J., becuase of its immediate effect on our defense, considering that Jameer is not known for his defensive prowess neither. If bringing Vince off the bench is a necessity, I favor starting MP.

    In my view, both Jameer and Vince should start but based on their performance within the first two third of the first quarter substitutions should be made, if necessary. I am definitely in favor of cutting Vince's minutes until he is fully healthy.

    Remember that Magic is a very deep team, and having too many options invites all kinds of ideas on what the best mix is. Amateur/professional statisticians who just see numbers are as bad as those analysts who ignore numbers. Mixed method is the preferred way of modern research, but not all researchers are comfortable with mixed method. As such we have to painfully put up with a lot of nonsense coming from all directions.

  • At 12:48 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Preach my brother!!! Matt i completely agree and i'll get right to the point. There's absolutely no way VC comes off the bench! This team is four games off of a pace that our previous team put up,and that team had been playing together for 5 years. People just need to relax. When these guys get on the same page we'll be fine,(four all-stars on the same court)i think they'll figure it out and right before VC got hurt we were on our way. I've never agreed with povtak and furthermore i think his basketball knowledge is limited,watching him on tv he seems twitchy and uncomfortable.

  • At 1:01 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    Perfect, Big Figure. In a few sentences you conveyed what I could not in long paragrphs.

  • At 5:21 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Orlando Pinstriped Post (formerly Third Quarter Collapse) went into much greater detail on a post Monday about Vince Carter possibly coming off the bench with Redick starting in his place.

    Basically, what the post said was that the offense for the Magic could become a more balanced attack like it was last year if Redick starts, because Redick doesn't need the ball in his hands like Carter, which would allow Howard, Lewis, and Nelson more opportunities with the ball; also if Carter were to be the 6th man, he could be the playmaker and go-to guy while the starters are resting.

    I believe Coach Van Gundy will do what's best for the team.


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