The trade deadline is a little less than two weeks away. Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis have both been rumored to be available for the right price. Unfortunately for the Magic, the combination of the new collective bargaining agreement as well as a strong crop of draft prospects, have formed what some would describe as a buyers market! There is a very distinct possibility that Rob Hennigan will not be able to obtain suitable compensation for the Magic veterans. If he is unable to offload either player, it's my opinion both players need to be transitioned to a smaller role off then bench. My reasoning for this is simple, the Magic are likely to hold two lottery selections in the upcoming draft. With the quality of talent available, it is very likely that both of the Magic's draft selections will be starting caliber talents! The Magic must leverage the remaining 26 games after the deadline to focus on player evaluation.
1. Victor Oladipo, is he a point guard or is he a shooting guard? Victor has received starter minutes this season, but he has been moved from on and off the ball. With Jameer being moved into a reserve role, this will allow Jacque Vaughn and Rob Hennigan 26 games to evaluate Victor running the team exclusively as a point guard. I believe allocating Oladipo the majority of point guard minutes down the stretch is imperative to make a proper evaluation as an organization.
2. Moe Harkless, You might ask, what does benching Jameer and big baby have to do with Harkless? With Victor playing point guard exclusively, Arron Afflalo is able to move to his natural position of shooting guard. This will free up minutes for Harkless to be evaluated at small forward. Yes he is still a very young 20 years old, but the Magic need to ascertain his value for the future. Can he eventually be a starter in this league? Can he continue to improve his shooting and ball handling? Should we draft Andrew Wiggins or is our small forward of the future already on our roster?
3. Andrew Nicholson, Moving Glen Davis to the bench is imperative to free up much needed minutes for Andrew Nicholson. Possessing an exciting offensive repertoire, it has been frustrating for many to see him languish on the bench. It has been reported that Jacque Vaughn believes he faces defensive challenges. Vaughn was qouted as saying he's having difficulty putting Nicholson in situations that create a conducive environment for success. With 26 games remaining, no hope for the post season and no need showcase Glen Davis for a trade, there is no excuses not to play Nicholson! Trial by fire, lets see what the kids got!