The Off-Day Open Thread: What Do You Want to See From the Orlando Magic in the Next Few Games? got me thinking and rather than just leave a comment there, I'm putting my thoughts here.
With the extra two PFs we have in the stable this season (Brandon Bass & Ryan Anderson), I'd like to see the Magic test Lewis at the SF spot for enough floor time to get a good look at this option before the trade deadline. Yes, I know about Lewis and SF defense, but 82games.com shows in the limited time he got this year and last at the 3, he did okay.
In 2008-2009 (Rashard Lewis '08-'09 at 82 games.com), Lewis played 3% of the team's minutes at SF (I'm not taking time to look up those full lineups, W & Ls, etc). 95.3 team OFF rating/87.2 team DEF rating. His per48 ppg, rpg, apg, etc. between his time at SF and time at PF are almost identical.
In 2009-2010 (Rashard Lewis '09-'10 at 82 games.com), he's played only 2% of the team's total available minutes as the SF. 97.2 OFF/89.3 DEF.
The problem? Small sample size.
Switching data sources and looking at all of Rashard's 5-man units this year at basketballvalue.com runs into the same problem. The sample size is too small and the lineups too varied (only 4-5 minutes per any given 5-man unit where Lewis plays with another PF) to figure out very well if Lewis at the SF spot works, and if it works who the other four players need to be.
So, I propose giving the following units a try for a quarter or more (total floor time) against at least two different opposing teams:
#1 Nelson - Redick or Pietrus - Lewis - Anderson - Howard, or
#2 Nelson - Redick or Pietrus - Lewis - Bass - Howard
with 2nd unit, JWill - Carter - Barnes or Pietrus - Anderson or Bass - Gortat (to try Carter off the bench, 'cause Lewis and Carter together on the wings probably hurts Orlando defensively).
I know this will negatively impact somebody's wing minutes (Carter, Pietrus, Barnes, Redick) and I haven't thought much about how to rotate (this is more of a platoon approach). [Edit: I guess if Van Gundy insists, there is probably some way to rotate (using lineup #1) with Lewis moving to the 4 when Anderson sits on the bench and putting Barnes or Pietrus in at the 3 with Anderson for those times when Lewis needs a breather. That way we can play the stretch 4 offense for all 48 minutes. And, I know that lineup #2 is what everyone expected when we signed Bass, so maybe there are legit reasons showing up in practice for why we've not gone to it during games. Edit #2: Actually everyone expected Nelson-Carter-Lewis-Bass-Howard. Edit #3: "everyone" means those who might not have been familiar with Van Gundy's commitment to the 1-in/4-out/stretch-PF system.] Trade idea below the jump.
In the back of my mind, I'm wondering about a trade (but that's not the only reason to try Lewis at the 3):
- Carter & Bass to Washington (WASH gets PF, needed SG, and a year off of Jamison's contract)
- AJ & Mike Miller to Chicago (CHI gets cap room for 2010 and 2-for-1 SG and PG with expiring contracts to replace Hinrich's combo role)
- Antawn Jamison & Kirk Hinrich to Orlando (ORL gets defensive/passing PG and Jamison fits next to Howard, and a return to last year's tall front court. Nelson scores with 2nd unit and kills other teams' backup PGs)
Well, for what it's worth; since you asked.... Discuss.