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Orlando Magic News for April 13th: the "Cleveland Invitational," Hedo's Value to the Magic, Otis' Award Chances, and More

Let's do it.

  • John Hollinger on how injuries have affected various contending teams this year, including the Orlando Magic:

    With the Magic and Celtics both compromised by injuries, the Eastern Conference increasingly looks like the Cleveland Invitational.

    Injuries, coupled with the Magic's recent hideous play, are really making me pessimistic about the team's championship chances this year.

  • Zach McCann on how Hedo Turkoglu's recent injury scare--don't worry, folks, he's okay!--illustrates his value to the team:

    Yes, it's easy for Hedo to get under your skin. He frustrates us. He'll take unprovoked 3-pointers from 26 feet with 15 seconds left on the shot clock. He'll drive through the lane when there's clearly no opening. He'll lose the ball, desperately flail his arms and scream at the top of his lungs, in only a way Hedo can do it.

    But you know what? This Magic team can't survive without him.

    For every negative, Hedo brings two positives. His size and versatility make him a weapon that few teams have and every team dreads having to match up with. The Hedo-and-Dwight pick-and-roll at the top of the key is the Magic's best set. Without Hedo, this team doesn't work the same way.

    I wholeheartedly agree. It's possible that the Magic could let Hedo walk, shift Rashard Lewis to small forward, and shop for a bargain-basement power forward in free agency. How, exactly, does that improve the team? Lewis has really come into his own as a power forward, moreso on the defensive end, and I don't think the Magic gain anything by moving him to his "natural" position.

  • Kelly Dwyer, while explaining why Daryl Morey of the Houston Rockets should win the Executive of the Year award, on why Magic GM Otis Smith shouldn't win it:

    Otis Smith inherited Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, and Hedo Turkoglu; and his biggest move was to wildly overpay Rashard Lewis in 2007, a move that could cost him Turkoglu this summer

    While I mostly agree with Dwyer's assessment, Smith's trade for Rafer Alston was pretty nifty though, wasn't it?

After the jump, a final note about how Howard's stat-padding is for a good cause.

  • Finally, Darren Rovell on why Marcin Gortat sometimes loses playing time to Howard (HT: TrueHoop):

    Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard is averaging a double-double this season, with 20.7 points and nearly 14 rebounds a game. It's not only good for statistical reasons, it's also good for a charitable cause, as every time Howard gets a double-double, Wrigley's and its Doublemint brand donate $250 to PCA America, an organization that prevents child abuse.

    It might be only $250 to a guy who will make $4.8 million this year, but the 23-year-old doesn't take the chance at making a difference with each game lightly.

    "If I need a couple more rebounds to get a double-double in a game, I can convince coach (Stan Van Gundy) to leave me in," Howard said.

    Rovell notes that Gortat keeps Howard abreast of his rebounding totals. Good lookin' out, Marcin. You're aiding Howard in his charitable endeavors while (potentially) lowering what the Magic would have to pay to retain you this summer.

Don't forget to check out erivera7's look back at Prof. David Berri's proposed solutions to alleviate the loss of Nelson. Also, don't miss this week's showcased FanPost, this time from RussL, detailing whom the Magic might face in the first round of the playoffs. It's either Philadelphia (yes!), Detroit (no!), or Chicago (meh!). See you at tipoff.