Orlando Magic: 4 Takeaways from Their First 2 Games
After an embarrassing loss to the young and talented Oklahoma City Thunder, the Orlando Magic rebounded in a huge way by beating an offensive-minded Houston Rockets. Orlando not only shot the ball well, but defended Houston stars Luis Scola and Kevin Martin admirably.
Many questions have been answered by the past two games, but the big one still remains. Will Dwight Howard stay in Orlando or will he don another jersey in the coming months?
A clear, definitive answer has yet to arrive, but, nonetheless, Dwight Howard must be excited about Orlando's home opener win.
Without further ado, here are the four takeaways from the previous two Orlando Magic matchups.
Jason Richardson's Contract Was a Mistake
It is sadly evident that Jason Richardson is a shell of his former self.
Not only has he lost a considerable amount of the athleticism that made him so exciting during his time with the Golden State Warriors, but he hasn't shot efficiently since the Magic picked him up last year.
Richardson is on the downside of his career. After scoring two points verses the Thunder, J-Rich followed up with a forgettable ten-point performance against the Rockets.
Signing Richardson was a mistake by General Manager Otis Smith. His four year, $25 million extension will handicap the Magic financially for the next couple of seasons, while limiting the minutes sharpshooter J.J. Redick sees each night.
Ryan Anderson Is the Real Deal
After a tremendous effort in Orlando's loss to Oklahoma City on Christmas Day, Anderson followed up with another successful campaign verses the deep Houston Rockets.
After the first two games of this shortened NBA season, Anderson is averaging a little shy of 17 points and eight rebounds per game. Not bad stats for the former University of California star.
If there is one player that is going to break out for this Orlando Magic franchise, it's the talented sharpshooter Ryan Anderson.
The Magic Have a No-Defensive Threat on the Perimeter
Outside of Dwight "Superman" Howard, the Orlando Magic have absolutely nobody who can lock down on defense, especially on the perimeter.
Just because the Magic have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, doesn't mean they don't need another defensive presence.
Two years ago the Magic had the aggressive Matt Barnes to serve as the lockdown perimeter defender. Before that, the combination of shooting guards Mickael Pietrus and Courtney Lee stopped the opposing team's best outside threat.
Now, the Magic rely on the weak defense of Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson. This is not a recipe for success, as Kevin Durant tore through the Magic en route to a 30-point performance on Christmas Day.
Dwight Howard Is Committed to the Magic for Now
After a lack of production both in the preseason and their season opener verses the Oklahoma City Thunder, many rumors swirled that Dwight Howard may be trying to play himself out of Orlando.
However, D12 quickly shot those rumors down by returning to his dominant self against the Houston Rockets.
I believe many overreacted to the poor play of Howard in the preseason. After all, the preseason is not meant for NBA stars to put up ridiculous stat lines.
In regards to the Oklahoma City game, I thought Dwight had his heart in the right place and gave it his all despite his desire for a trade out of O-Town.
His dismal play, in my opinion, was due to the fantastic defense of Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed.
Nonetheless, we saw the return of the dominant post presence we call "Superman," as Dwight led the Magic to their first win of the season. Sure, Howard wants out of O-Town, but he showed that he is committed to the Magic organization until he is moved.