|2011-12 Team Rating|
|11th Overall||13th Overall|
Stats through Feb. 16
Dwight Howard remains the gold standard for active NBA centers and is dominant on both ends. Ryan Anderson is enjoying a breakout year while the spectacular Hedu Turkoglu free-fall continues, albeit slower.
Jameer Nelson is shooting at career-lows from inside and outside the arc and point guard is suddenly an issue. Jason Richardson isn't a big scorer anymore (12 points) but surprisingly received a four-year deal.
With Howard as the anchor and bail-out artist, Orlando's defense can be among the best in basketball. When their shots aren't falling, defense is what keeps them in games. Credit Stan Van Gundy, too.
This unit is disappointing in a rather big way, aside from J.J. Redick's 3-point shooting (41 percent) and even that can be an issue. Big Baby Davis looks like a poor acquisition and remains immature.
Stan Van Gundy is a master of the quip and always quick with the sarcastic sermon. He's also a very good coach. His in-game strategy ranks with the best, and his team isn't being distracted by Dwight Drama.
Howard gets grief for his unresolved contract situation and the way he's handled it. But guess what? He's the only Magic player who can play at or near an All-Star level each and every night. If anything, Howard has managed to play through the drama, often spectacularly, and continues to demonstrate why he's one of the few game-changers in basketball. He's surrounded by role players who rely on his presence.
Obviously, the entire philosophy and approach of the Magic would change drastically should he be dealt next month. That's why it's tough to get a read on the immediate future of the Magic right now; you're not sure if they're headed to the playoffs or doomed for a mighty steep fall. In the meantime, they have enough from Howard and Van Gundy to remain competitive and very much in the postseason picture.
-- Shaun Powell
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||C-|
|Los Angeles Clippers||B|
|Los Angeles Lakers||B-|
|New Jersey Nets||D|
|New Orleans Hornets||F|
|New York Knicks||C+|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B-|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|