If you're a hardcore Magic fan like me, then at some point this season you just might have found yourself on the Lakers team website on NBA.com, or perhaps on the latimes.com sports page, nosily perusing through any articles regarding former Magic center Dwight Howard. Almost like a bitter ex, we (well I hope it's not just me) look for some consolation that things are not all honky dory in Laker land after having our own respective team shredded limb from limb, and more specifically, to confirm that sh*t is never that much greener on the other side of the fence.
Fast forward to the current state of the high-expectation-laden Lakers, and things are not as smooth as one might have thought, especially for
Superman the ex Magic big man. Dwight has experienced a sub-par beginning to the regular season, with questions and eyebrows raised in the city of Los Angeles, ranging from his role as a go to player, his poor horrendous free throw shooting, low production nights, to that ridiculous headband that he wears now (has anybody else seen that thing don't tell me it's just me).
While Dwight must be having nightmares at visions of his first return to the City Beautiful for his welcome home serenade of boos due to him, this will be Los Angeles' first match with Orlando since that huge 4 team trade was consummated this offseason, jettisoning Dwight to his next-preferred destination of the Lakers. That being said, emotions will undoubtedly run high as Howard faces his ex-teammates (or the ones that are left, anyway) for the first time since he pummeled the Magic organization for over a year to change his area code for him.
Now this season, Dwight has uncharacteristically been absent at times on the defensive end, brought about by low energy nights, possibly conditioning or a still-healing back. This has led to quite a few highlights against the new Lakers center, featuring players crowning Dwight for dunks and poking on him for some pretty mean putbacks. Please see below for evidence (no please, take your time, enjoy) :
Sacramento rookie Thomas Robinson with the meanest putback on Howard's head
Los Angeles Clipper DeAndre Jordan stuffs plus the harm at Dwight's expense
Portland Trailblazer Nicolas Batum hammers it home over Howard's block attempt
Let me ask Magic fans my next question then. Who on Orlando's current roster can duplicate this feat on Dwight on Sunday? While a victory over the Lakers would be much preferred, I am content on counting my small victories as the Magic continue developing their young team and focus toward the future. The thought of a swift Magic player driving into the teeth of L.A.'s defense on Sunday and dropping the hammer on an unsuspecting or late reacting Dwight would bring a warmth to my heart that only Christmas could compete with.
Who could our champion of Orlando/destroyer of all things Dwight be then? Let's work by method of subtraction and take away who is most likely NOT throwing it down on Howard (or maybe, much ever):
Jameer Nelson- while he might snipe a jumper in Dwight's eye if he comes out the paint, I'm still not sure that Jameer has ever met a basketball he could dunk
Ish Smith- will not be dunking on Dwight
E'Twaun Moore- ditto
Hedo Turkoglu- injured
Al Harrington- injured
Big Baby- can barely dunk without anyone challenging him, let alone under pressure
Kyle O'Quinn- not likely to get enough minutes to make a challenge at the big man
J.J. Redick- I think I seen one JJ dunk, but that was back at Duke.
Aaron Afflalo- just don't see the explosion there to make the poster happen
Gustavo Ayon- he looks content with his layups
Which brings me to the most likely candidates for the job:
Nikola Vucevic- wait, hear me out. who's to say a stray rebound doesn't fall into Orlando's young 7 footer's hands while he goes up against the ex- Magic man? ok, ok, unlikely, but options are thin guys, use your imagination
Josh McRoberts- no Wesley Snipes, some white men Can jump; Josh has the hops, the motivation (up against old team), and will be in the proximity of the paint given minutes to make it happen
Moe Harkless- young and spry, springs for legs, propensity for dunking, Moe has the tools for a serious Magic highlight in Tinseltown
DeQuan Jones- Hungry and athletic, has already had a few Sportscenter Top 10 plays this preseason with his dunking ability, give DQ a full head of steam down the lane and Howard might wish (for one second anyways) that he hadn't left Orlando