Orlando needs an enforcer
In the wake of last night's mini skirmish between Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and Indiana Pacers forward Troy Murphy, Austin Burton of Dime Magazine contends that the Magic need to pair Howard with "an enforcer" to discourage teams from fouling him so hard.
[Stan] Van Gundy has a choice to make. Giving [Brandon] Bass and [Marcin] Gortat more time alongside Dwight takes a three-point threat off the floor and limits Orlando’s offense somewhat, but leaving Dwight to fend for himself is a recipe for an injury or an incident. Dwight is a lone wolf out there, and I’ve been watching enough nature shows lately to know that when a wolf doesn’t have the protection of a pack, somebody is going to get hurt.
I'm not sure what taking a shooter off the floor would accomplish apart from making it easier for defenses to collapse onto Howard. But okay.
Dwight Howard doesn’t think NBA ruling will change how teams foul him
Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel talked to Howard about the rough treatment he faces on a nightly basis.
This is something the Magic have been battling all season. Most recently, before Monday night’s game, they felt the Clippers fouled Howard above the neck, as well. Earlier this season Howard was fined for comments on his blog when he criticized officiating. Howard doesn’t think the NBA’s ruling will mean more flagrant fouls will be called on his opponents. Nor does he think that will change how opponents guard him.
"It’s not going to happen," Howard said. "Just gotta continue to play. It’s going to happen. They can’t go away from it."
Because he’s too big and too strong.
Keeping calm on the court
On his blog, Howard explains how getting hit makes him feel, and why it's important for him to maintain his composure.
After the jump, news not related to hacking, including an assessment of the Magic's decision to sign Hedo Turkoglu in 2004 and the likelihood that they trade Gortat.
Shaq, Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol among big names traded in 2000s
Mark Montieth of Sports Illustrated names the Magic's signing Hedo Turkoglu in 2004 the 4th-best NBA free-agent move in the entire decade.
The versatile forward had five productive seasons in Orlando, earning the Most Improved Player award in 2007-08 and playing a crucial role in its run to the Finals last season -- nice return for his six-year, $36.8 million mid-level exception deal (Turkoglu opted out of the final year and became a free agent last summer). The five-year, $53 million deal he got from Toronto as part of a sign-and-trade with Orlando last July is a different story -- and so far not a promising one for the Raptors -- but he paid off for the Magic.
Examining Today's Eligible Trade Bait
Bethlehem Shoals of The Baseline writes about the Magic's (un)willingness to trade backup center Marcin Gortat, who became trade-eligible today.
Gortat is very much desired around the league, and it almost seems like [Otis] Smith's keeping him just so someone else doesn't get him. Smith isn't about to platoon him with Howard, so in essence, Gortat's being held captive. The question is, why would he trade Gortat on the player's timetable, and not when he decides the Magic have a need to fill? Think about it this way: Miller's good, but can be devalued. Gortat is doing everything he can, however inadvertently, to drive down his value, but it's not going to work. He ain't going nowhere unless, say, the Magic lose a major piece in what's looking like a championship season.
Decade’s Best: Dunk
Brad Graham of SLAM names Vince Carter's "dunk of death" over Frederic Weis in the 2000 Olympics the best dunk of the decade...
Touch the Sky: The NBA’s Top 5 Alley-Oop Finishers
... while Burton says Howard is the league's best alley-oop dunker.