Dwight Howard is one of the top defensive players in the league.
Without him, the Magic will have a hard time keeping up with the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and other high-scoring offenses.
Howard averaged 10.8 defensive rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.1 blocks per game this past season.
Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated wrote a piece in April, pointing out how the Magic come undone defensively without Howard.
Despite the recent offensive explosion, the Magic are just 3-5 without Howard, and five of those eight games have come against some of the league’s worst defensive teams — two against the Pistons, and one each against the Cavaliers, Nuggets and Wizards. The Magic’s defense has come totally undone without the league’s greatest defensive force around to anchor it.
Even though the Magic can score points, it isn't enough without Howard, their defensive linchpin.
His size and athleticism in the post makes him an obstacle for most other teams; once he leaves Orlando, the Magic will need to evaluate their defensive capabilities if they want to stay atop the Eastern Conference.