SportsNation Blog Archives Orlando Magic
On Tuesday, "First Take" debated the proper people to blame for the mess that is the Orlando Magic. Skip Bayless thinks the Magic got rid of their primary problem in coach Stan Van Gundy, while Stephen A. Smith places the blame above Van Gundy's pay grade. What's your take?
The NBA playoffs so far have been characterized by significant injuries to big-time players. Dwight Howard was out before the postseason began, Derrick Rose went down in the waning minutes of Game 1, and several other players (Baron Davis, Amare Stoudemire, etc.) have fallen victim to on- and off-court maladies. Consequently, we're seeing a lot of series that definitely will not go the distance -- there are six 3-1 series in play right now, along with two that have already been decided. The Nuggets in particular have had fits dealing with the new-look Kobe Bryant -- he's been more of a distributor late in games than he has in the past, where the game plan was simply "give it to Kobe."
Kobe Bryant's role in the fourth quarter is usually that of a force of nature, but these playoffs have seen him rely more on his teammates.
Thunder or Spurs?
The Spurs and Thunder have already taken care of their two opponents, but it's still a long way to go before either team makes it to the finals.
The Bulls and Magic find themselves in the same 3-1 hole as the Nuggets and Hawks, although Denver and Atlanta didn't lose their franchise players early on.
The Magic will have to attempt to navigate the playoffs without Dwight Howard, as their star center will undergo back surgery that will cause him to miss the remainder of the season. Howard and the Magic have had a rocky relationship during the past year, but it could be salvageable -- it's just that the team might have to fire coach Stan Van Gundy to make it work.
Van Gundy or Howard?
Dwight Howard reportedly has told Magic management that he won't play for Stan Van Gundy anymore.
Trade for Howard?
Howard is under contract for one more season, but any attempt to trade for him likely would be an expensive one.
Howard's game is one of the NBA's most dominant, but he might lack the ability to really close out a tough playoff contest.
As the starting center for Team USA in the 2008 games, Howard helped bring home a gold medal.
Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard had an awkward press conference on Thursday, in which the Magic coach revealed that management had told him that Howard wanted him fired. It's an awfully strange and strained situation in Orlando, but will it be resolved by the beginning of next season?