It only took a week for Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy to backtrack, in a way, from his proclamation that both Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass would see time in each game this season, particularly in the first half. After Magic practice today, Van Gundy told the media "there's no way" for him to go with an 11-man rotation each night; Zach McCann has video at the Magic Basketblog. The implication here, at least the way I see it, is that either Anderson or Bass will record a Did Not Play-Coach's Decision on most nights.
My reasoning? Starters Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Quentin Richardson, Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard are locks to play each night, as well as Nelson's backup (Chris Duhon), Carter's backup (J.J. Redick), and Howard's backup (Marcin Gortat). Though Mickael Pietrus struggled in preseason play, he remains the team's best perimeter defender, which makes him a solid bet to see minutes behind Richardson as well. Already, that's nine guys in the mix on a nightly basis.
Of course, Lewis can't play 48 minutes, which is where Anderson and Bass come in. A week ago, it appeared as though both would get chances. But now? Matchups figure once again to dictate the playing rotation at power forward. Against teams with bigger frontlines, Bass will get the call. When spreading the floor is of greater importance, Orlando will turn to Anderson.
The cynical view is that the Magic still haven't learned how to get the most out of their young, talented duo of backup power forwards. That's also the unfair view; Anderson and Bass showed substantial progress, on an individual level, during the preseason. If nothing else, Van Gundy can deploy them with more confidence this season than last, when he seemed to cling to the veteran Lewis out of trust and familiarity. Plus, few coaches expand their rotations to include 11 players, so it's not as though Van Gundy's being uncommonly stingy here. Rather, the Magic are just uncommonly talented, boasting 11 players who, in a vacuum, deserve meaningful minutes each night.