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Zen Magic: Orlando Magic's Obstacles to an NBA Championship

C.J. MylesContributor IDecember 21, 2009

I've been missing over the last couple of weeks due to a heavy workload (our company came out with a new device and and the glitches kept coming). However, the Zen is back, and even while working, I managed to watch the Magic and their interesting losses last week. I almost want my 10 bucks back for the Android app I purchased to watch them.

I've continuously watched Carter shoot sub-par percentages and wondered if we were better off with Turkoglu. Then I played NBA 2K10 (please don't start a 2K v. Live war here) and found out that he's listed as a "SF/PG." Ew, really?

Anyway, I'm starting to doubt whether the Magic can make it to the Finals this year. We have certain obstacles standing in the way, made by us.

Dwight Howard

There's no other way I can say this; he needs a post game and a jump shot. Most of the time, Howard gets the ball he's so far in the paint that he can get tied up easily. The loss to Phoenix showed how easily Howard can be controlled: 1-for-1 from the field and a plethora of missed free throws. He has had numerous performances like that, including foul trouble and other free throw games (where he has to shoot 15 or more a game).

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The playoff games will probably be decided by defensive performances like that until Howard starts to become a threat outside of the paint. We're not looking for three-point shooting; I just want a long hook shot or a bank shot off the glass. Fundamentals, Howard.

Find them. Either that or find a way to make Bass grow another two-three inches so he can replace you. With the way he filled in for Gortat, it's not a long shot.

Shooting Efficiency

With Carter and Lewis shooting and missing more often than a little kid playing Halo, our percentages go down, and we have to rely on more efficient shooters (J-Will before his slump, Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass, and J.J.), and even that's a stretch.

We have a potent team, but when our second string comes in and successfully launches a run or finishes with a higher score total than a couple of the starters, I wonder what our starters (primarily Lewis and Carter) are doing.

Rotation  

There are too many times when Bass is DNP or Anderson plays for only seven minutes that I wonder what kind of rotation Van Gundy is trying to use. Unless this is about getting the money's worth of Lewis (18+ million this year), when Lewis is cold, Bass and Anderson should be able to step up, or at least move Lewis to the three spot to open up more rebounding and big men opportunities. 

Three 6'10"+ guys in the lineup would put us on level footing with the Lakers' one-two punch combo of Gasol-Bynum. We have too many options for starters to play more than 32 minutes a game, especially Lewis.

Don't get me wrong. The Magic are winning. They're doing well. But doing "well" does not win championships. The Magic we saw at the beginning of the season had at least two of the three weaknesses covered and devastated opponents with a powerful bench combo of J-Will, J.J., Barnes, and Bass to beat-stick their second unit, and even starters, to submission.

I want that Magic back. Nelson or not, we had a strong showing all over the three and four spots. That's what we have Barnes, Anderson, and Bass for. Let's use it, and get our efficiency back.

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