Fact or Fiction presents both sides of key issues the Orlando Magic will face in the upcoming NBA season.
The Orlando Magic will have three All-Stars by the mid-season break.
FACT: It has been well publicized that with the arrival of Vince Carter via trade, the Orlando Magic now have four players who have been named to the All-Star team in their respective careers - the other three being Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, and Jameer Nelson. With the exception of Nelson, each individual has been an All-Star more than once - Carter (8 times), Howard (3 times), and Lewis (2 times).
Switching gears, quickly.
Now, it's no secret that there is a strong correlation between being named an All-Star and playing on a winning team - whether or not that's fair is irrelevant in the context of this post. What that means for the Magic in the upcoming season is that there is a strong possibility that the team will have more than one player listed as an All-Star on the Eastern Conference roster. The rationale being that since Orlando will presumably be among the league leader in wins, the coaches will recognize the players on the squad for helping to accumulate the many victories.
Dwight Howard will assuredly receive overwhelming fan support (barring injury or worse) and become an All-Star starter at center for the third consecutive season.
Which leaves Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson, and Rashard Lewis.
Last year in New Jersey, Carter still played at an All-Star level but unfortunately for him, he wasn't named to the squad primarily due to the fact the Nets weren't a winning team. That and because Carter's teammate, Devin Harris, had an outstanding first half of the season and rightfully deserved to be honored more. However, one has to figure that if Carter can continue to play at a high standard with the Magic, he stands to have a great chance to be named to the All-Star team.
Nelson & Lewis, then, would presumably "compete" to be named Orlando's third member. Given the number of All-Star caliber forwards in the East, it would seem that Nelson might have a slightly larger margin of error to be named as a reserve due to the position he plays. This isn't to underscore Lewis' ability, though.
FICTION: It hasn't been stated but it's worth mentioning; there are a number of All-Star caliber guards in the Eastern Conference, so Jameer Nelson's chances of making the team are slim to none if he declines in productivity. For example, Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz has yet to make an All-Star team due to the position he plays in the Western Conference. No one doubts Williams' ability as a player or questions he isn't All-Star caliber, but that speaks more to the depth at the guard position in the West. Nelson has the same issue, which will be exacerbated by the fact that he'll be competing with a teammate - Vince Carter - for a roster spot in the East.
As for Rashard Lewis, his chances will be affected at making the squad due to the fact he'll be out for the first 10 games of the regular season because of suspension. Now, it's not impossible to be named an All-Star if one were to miss a little bit of time during the first half of the year, but it certainly becomes much more difficult to accomplish such a feat. As a result, Lewis' margin for error is also slim to none.
Verdict: It's extremely difficult to predict who will and who won't make the All-Star team, because there are so many external variables that need to be taken into account. That being said, Dwight Howard is about as close of a lock that you'll get so the Orlando Magic will surely be represented at the All-Star game in Dallas.
Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson, and Rashard Lewis?
Tough to say. If one were to look at recent history, franchises in the NBA that are championship-quality usually have multiple players make All-Star teams. The Magic followed that trend by having three players selected. Will it be the same case this season for Orlando? Not sure, it depends on how the individuals perform.
Odds are good to very good that the Magic will have a second player chosen.
A third? Unless Orlando has the best record at the halfway point of the year, it doesn't seem likely. But of course, anything is possible. It has happened before.
With grateful acknowledgement to 3QC user RussL, who suggested this topic.