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Orlando Magic News for January 27th: Howard-Led Magic Similar to Olajuwon-Led Rockets; More Journalists Make Their All-Star Picks

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Hakeem Olajuwon celebrates after his Houston Rockets won the 1995 NBA Finals, while Dwight Howard celebrates after winning the 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Olajuwon and Howard were centerpieces of teams that sacrificed rebounding for three-point shooting.

Olajuwon file photo by Rick Bowmer, the Associated Press; Howard file photo by Eric Gay, the Associated Press

  • You may recall reading this preseason feature on the Magic at our sister site, Bullets Forever, which covers the Washington Wizards. Author JakeTheSnake drew parallels between this year's Magic team and the Houston Rockets' championship teams from the mid-1990s. Today, The Painted Area validates that claim with this in-depth look at rebounding differential and NBA finalists from the last 25 years. In that timespan, only four teams have made the NBA finals with a negative rebounding differential, and the two Rockets teams were the only ones who emerged victorious. The numbers seem to indicate a bleak outlook for the Magic because they currently have a negative rebounding differential, albeit a slight one of -0.1 boards per game.

  • A few more professionals have published their choices for the reserves in this year's NBA All-Star Game.

    • Justin Kubatko of Basketball-Reference.com examines Kevin Pelton's picks (to which we linked in yesterday's news post) and adds Rashard Lewis to the roster at Vince Carter's expense.

    • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star picks Jameer Nelson, and lists Hedo Turkoglu as a snub because "someone's going to get snubbed." I like Doug's blunt style. Dunno why he'd list Turk ahead of Rashard, though.

    • Vincent "The Commish" Thomas of SLAM Online thinks Jameer should make the team. Here's his explanation:

      Jameer is the only "tough" kat in the Magic starting lineup. He's like Derek Fisher with a lot of skill. Without him playing at this level, Orlando would still be a middling squad and a joke of a contender.

      I'd submit that Rashard Lewis is also tough. Don't get fooled because he shoots a metric ton of three-pointers: he still mixes it up inside on occasion and has the strength to finish in traffic. He's also turned into a hard-nosed defender. No, he's not Jason Maxiell down low or anything like that, but he's not a complete softie, either.

    • UPDATE: Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer picks Jameer Nelson. He does not mention who his picks at the other positions would be, but rather argues in favor of Mo Williams' selection over Devin Harris.

  • J.J. Redick has updated his blog and takes issue with Sports Illustrated's recent claim that he is "generously" listed at 6'04". (For those wondering, Redick stands 6'04" without shoes 6'04.75" in shoes, according to his official pre-draft measurements.) More interesting, though, is that he reveals he will soon be writing columns for the Orlando Sentinel that "won't necessarily be basketball related."