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Orlando Magic News for December 12th: Dwight Howard's Status Amongst Centers in the NBA; A Few Good Lists

  • Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum on John Hollinger's lists of the top 12 young centers in the NBA
    John Hollinger of ESPN Insider lists the top centers in the NBA.

    1. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

    Orlando's overpowering center is unquestionably the dean of the league's young centers, leading the Magic to the Finals last season while winning the defensive player of the year award. This season he's redoubled his effort, shooting a sizzling 64.8 percent from the floor (second in the league) and ranking third in rebounding (12.0). Howard, 24, boasts the league's top defensive rebound rate among centers at 29.0, while his 10.5 free throw attempts per game rank second only to Dwyane Wade's 11.0. Sure, it would be great if Howard could make more than 58.3 percent from the stripe, but that's the only weakness in the man who has replaced Shaquille O'Neal as the league's most dominant physical specimen.
  • NBA Sophomore Rankings: Who's No. 1?
    David Thorpe of ESPN Insider ranks the top sophomores.

    7. Ryan Anderson, Magic | Previous rank: 7

    With Rashard Lewis back in the lineup, Anderson's playing time has plummeted. And now so have his shooting percentages: He has made only three of his past 17 3s, and 21 of his past 58 shots overall. It typically takes years of experience to become a solid outside shooter with limited minutes and touches, but that's the task he's faced with.
  • NBA: Weekend Dime: Players Soon To Be Trade-Eligible
    Marc Stein of runs down the players that will soon be trade-eligible and ranks the ones most likely to be made available by their teams. Not surprisingly, Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass are listed.

    It was widely assumed in July when Orlando retained Gortat from Poland amid a flurry of pricey offseason maneuverings that Smith had a deal in place to dispatch him after Dec. 15. You don't hear that theory anymore.

    Even though Gortat is averaging a measly 6.8 minutes per game in December playing behind Dwight Howard, Smith regards him as indispensable Howard insurance.

    The updated assumption in GM circles, then, is that Gortat won't be made available in trades until the summer, after the Magic see how far this high-dollar, all-in approach takes them. [...]

    Rival teams say it's not Orlando's style anyway to initiate a lot of trade chatter. The Magic apparently often prefer, as one personnel man put it, to "entertain what other people propose."

    So give this one time to develop.