Down Goes Frazier

Feb 4, 2009

Two teams with NBA Championship hopes suffered big blows this past week with the Lakers losing Andrew Bynum for 2-3 months and Orlando losing Jameer Nelson, possibly for the rest of the year.  Both teams will reach the playoffs, but the road to the top got much tougher.  

Of the two, the Lakers are in better position to weather the storm.  Not only do they have Kobe Bryant, they also boast a much deeper team.  Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Trevor Ariza will have to step up their game.  That’s exactly what they did in their first game without the big fella.  Kobe Bryant did his part to assuage any fears by dropping 61 points on the Knicks.  Pau Gasol contributed 31 points and 14 rebounds, well above the 17.8 & 9.1 he averages.  Lamar Odom didn’t shoot well (2 of 9), but he did his best Bynum impersonation with 14 rebounds and 3 blocks.  Ariza added 13 points and 8 rebounds.  They did play the defenseless Knicks so temper your expectations, but you should see an increase in production from this quartet until Bynum returns.

Orlando is in more of a bind because Jameer made their Offense go.  The scoring won’t be tough to replace as Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis will likely handle the scoring load.  Hedo Turkoglu may see an increase in assists as he takes on more of a Point Forward role.  Anthony Johnson will be thrust into the starting rotation and should see an small increase in production.  Before you go rushing to the waiver wire to grab him, realize what you’re getting.  A career backup/journeyman in his 12th year.  If he’s available I’d prefer to grab Mickael Pietrus over Johnson.  In his four games back he’s averaing around 29 minutes per game, 15.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals, and 1.0 three-pointer per night while shooting 50% from the floor and 86.7% from the line.  Courtney Lee could handle the rock a little more and/or see a few more looks, but don’t expect a big spike in his play.  J.J. Redick may see an increase in minutes, but not to the point of fantasy relevance.  The Magic will likely bring in a PG, whether it’s a free agent or a trade.  A name that’s floating out there is Stephon Marbury, though he and the Knicks have been at a stalemate for quite some time.  There is also the chance that Jameer avoids surgery and is able to return in a few weeks.  Stay tuned.

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8 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Larry Novak
    February 4th, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    This is real bad for My Magic..I do not think Starbury is the answer. This kills any chance to advancing past the 2nd round. They probably did not have the bench to go to the finals anyway, But they did seem to have the Cavs number and if the Cavs got the Celtics in the 2nd round the Cavs might have been able to win that series and then Orlando could have gone to the Finals and Orlando has done well vs the West, But it won’t happen now. Wait till next year.

  2. Larry Novak
    February 4th, 2009 at 5:31 pm #

    This is from Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel

    A philosophical question today amid speculation that the Magic’s possible championship season will soon go down the toilet in the wake of Jameer Nelson’s potential season-ending shoulder injury:

    If it becomes clear the Magic cannot challenge for a championship with the players they currently have or by adding some D-league backup point guard, should GM Otis Smith take a chance and bring in a head case like Stephon Marbury or — GULP! — invite Steve Francis back to town?

    Let me clarify: This scenario will never happen because this isn’t the way Smith rolls. In fact, when I asked Smith the question yesterday about bringing in a player with questionable character, here’s how he answered: “I think you have to evaluate everything, but some things we’ve stood by. We’ve stood by the type of guys that we like to have on our team. It’s about changing the culture and winning for years to come. It’s not about changing the culture and winning one year and you go away. We still have a plan in place and we’re going to stick to that plan.”

    My thoughts: This Magic were a potential championship team with Nelson at point guard and franchises don’t have that many chances to win a championship. If (and only if) it becomes abundantly clear the Magic are going nowhere with the current group of players and if (and only if) you can sign a guy like Marbury for a bargain-basement price then what have you got to lose?

    It’s not like Marbury will be on the team long term; he’s only a possible short-term solution to help you win a championship. If it works out, the city celebrates and Marbury resurrects his image by helping the Magic win a title. If it doesn’t work out, so what? Marbury gets cut and the Magic don’t win a championship they weren’t going to win anyway.

    Otis Smith has made it clear that his goal is championship or bust.

    If it’s clear your team is going bust then why not roll the dice in an attempt to win a championship?


  3. LestersLegends
    February 4th, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    I agree with both of you. The Magic are in big trouble unless it heals w/o surgery. However, you have to do something. Why not try and get Marbury?

  4. Larry Novak
    February 4th, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

    The more I think about it Marbury might be worth the gamble, Not much to lose, But The Magic are not the type of organization to do something like that. They try to keep a Disney like image.

  5. LestersLegends
    February 4th, 2009 at 6:47 pm #

    I think Marbury will play nice for half a year.

  6. Crazy Canton Cuts
    February 4th, 2009 at 10:01 pm #



    I laughed when seeing it was an NBA post, because I had a different kind of pugilism running in my mind.

    I agree with you that Nelson is the bigger blow. Will we be seeing more of the statue named JJ Reddick now? Poor Magic!

  7. David Funk
    February 4th, 2009 at 10:48 pm #

    There’s no doubt that Nelson’s injury is a bigger blow to the Magic than is Bynum to the Lakers.

    I think you might as well go after Marbury, too. At this point, it’s probably worth it because they’re short on depth anyway. They’re not that far off from being a threat to win it all, so getting him at a cheap bargain could pay off in a big way.

    BTW, I like the lead-in title, too!

  8. LestersLegends
    February 4th, 2009 at 11:24 pm #

    One of my favorite sports quotes of all-time. Orlando didn’t miss him tonight, but they aren’t going to get that kind of shooting from Johnson and Lee. What were they a combined 18 of 21 or something? Nuts.

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