Kim Klement - US Presswire
If the Magic were trailing and had the final possession, on whom would you call to take the game-winning shot?
The Orlando Magic have the ball and trail by two points. Fewer than 24 seconds remain in the game. Barring a turnover, a drawn foul, or a truly boneheaded decision to shoot early in the clock, they'll have the game's final shot. Who should take it?
That's a question with which Orlando has grappled for more than half a decade; even during the most prosperous years of the Dwight Howard era, Orlando found itself wanting for a crunch-time shooter, as Howard, by virtue of his position and poor free-throw shooting, wasn't exactly an option.
Given its lack of overall talent, Orlando probably won't find itself in too many situations like the one described above in the first season of its rebuild, but if it does, it'll need to be prepared.
For the 2012/13 edition of the Pro Basketball Prospectus, its authors asked me which player coach Jacque Vaughn ought to trust most in this situation, and I responded with Jameer Nelson, for these reasons:
Though undersized, Nelson can nonetheless create space for himself off the dribble. Though he’d likely face a hard trap in a pick-and-roll set, given the situation, he’s a capable passer who can read a defense and swing the ball to the open man. Nelson has earned a reputation for delivering in key situations and has drilled a number of game-winners in his eight Orlando seasons.
Nelson, Redick, Afflalo, and Hedo Türkoğlu are all perimeter players who can get a shot off by themselves, typically without a screen. They're also solid from three-point range, with career conversion rates in the high 30s. Nelson, Redick, and Türkoğlu have also proven to be above-average distributors who can read a defense and find the open man.
One can't wholly dismiss Al Harrington or Glen Davis for this task either. Harrington can create for himself off the dribble, though he's more effective standing still, whereas Davis is an underrated pick-and-roll finisher due to his ability to draw fouls.
Those players are Orlando's six most reasonable answers to the above question, listed in no real order. Which player would you choose? Vote in the poll below.
With seconds remaining in the game, on which Orlando Magic player should coach Jacque Vaughn call while trailing and in need of a basket?
Arron Afflalo (44 votes)
Glen Davis (13 votes)
Al Harrington (5 votes)
Jameer Nelson (112 votes)
J.J. Redick (126 votes)
Hedo Turkoglu (38 votes)
Someone else (9 votes)
347 total votes