Fact or Fiction presents both sides of key issues the Orlando Magic will face in the upcoming NBA season.
Despite the roster shake-up, the Magic offense will remain stylistically similar.
FACT: For all the hubbub about the new players for the Orlando Magic, there is an offensive system in place that has proven to be successful and there's no reason why head coach Stan Van Gundy would skew away from it. If history has taught us anything during Van Gundy's tenure with the Magic, it's that he's excellent at adjusting and adapting to whatever situation or scenario pops up. Vince Carter's arrival to Orlando alleviates concerns about Hedo Turkoglu's departure. Why? Because Carter can do what Turkoglu did, but in a better & more efficient manner.
As such, the Magic's pick & roll game should be as good, if not, better with Carter. The playbook (little less pick & rolls, little more isolations) and the focus (going from small forward to shooting guard) will change, but don't expect the end result to be different.
Turkoglu/Howard = lethal. Carter/Howard = potent.
Brandon Bass? His arrival does nothing to change the fact that Orlando will continue to run its 4-out/1-in offense, which carried the team to the NBA Finals this past season. Bass may get the opportunity to start at the beginning of the year with Rashard Lewis sidelined, but that may be more the exception than the rule. Having Lewis at power forward is what makes the Magic's offense special and it wouldn't make much sense to play more conventionally for the sake of it, unless specific matchups dictate otherwise. Still, Lewis will see time at small forward.
Ryan Anderson, Matt Barnes, and Jason Williams will bring skill-sets to the table that Orlando is already familiar with: ball handling, defending, shooting, etc. For Anderson, he's an individual that Stan hasn't had before off the bench - a "four-spreader", in the mold of Lewis. The fact that Anderson can back-up Lewis or play alongside him could be a trump card Van Gundy uses during the season. When comparing personnel from last year to this year, Anderson is the only discernible difference. As for everyone else - different players, same system (for the most part).
Orlando, quite frankly, shouldn't be any different on offense. What's scary is that this year's team may have a roster that's more flexible & versatile than last year's team, which is hard to believe when you think about it. Smarter, too. In speaking with a source close familiar with the team's plans, it was stated that the Magic coaching staff marvels at the basketball IQ of new players on the roster. Encouraging news.
FICTION: The only way the Orlando Magic change, stylistically, on offense is if Brandon Bass were to start the majority of the season at power forward. That's it. Or if, somehow, Marcin Gortat were to play alongside Dwight Howard in the starting lineup (the odds of that happening, however, are very low). Not many scenarios.
Verdict: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Expect more of the same from the Orlando Magic this year, stylistically, but certainly prepare for improvements and tweaks to Stan Van Gundy's offensive philosophy - for example, don't be surprised to see a little bit of the triangle offense displayed.
Stuff like that.
With grateful acknowledgement to 3QC user kerem, who suggested this topic.