Imagine for a second that every Orlando Magic player is healthy and eligible to play. It's hard to imagine, given how the season has gone so far, but just bear with me. The ankles of Ryan Anderson and Vince Carter have healed, Rashard Lewis' suspension has run out, Adonal Foyle's knee has recovered, and nobody has the flu.
Now that you've entered this wonderful fantasy land, ask yourself this question:
You have four givens:
Anderson, Carter, Lewis, Jameer Nelson, and Dwight Howard, the team's recent All-Stars. The fifth spot, however, is up for grabs. The contenders are either Matt Barnes or Mickael Pietrus at small forward, J.J. Redick at shooting guard, and either Anderson or Brandon Bass at power forward. Here's how these lineups would look, respectively:
Nelson / Carter / Barnes / Lewis / Howard
Nelson / Carter / Pietrus / Lewis / Howard
Nelson / Redick / Carter / Lewis / Howard
Nelson / Carter / Lewis / Anderson / Howard
Nelson / Carter / Lewis / Bass / Howard
Again, given the choice of starting any of these five lineups, which would you pick? The first two appeared to be the most likely ones when the season started, but Redick (13.3 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists per game) and Anderson (15 points and 5 rebounds per game) have played their way into the conversation so far this year. And although Bass (9.4 points, 3.1 rebounds per game) has yet to dazzle in a Magic uniform, many mainstream media figures pencilled him in as the starting power forward once the Magic made him their highest-paid free-agent acquisition this summer.