Cohen 8-Ball: Absolutely, Possibly or Doubtful
June 4, 2013
Can the Magic replicate what the Heat did in the summer of 2010? – POSSIBLY – Cohen’s Analysis: Orlando will have a plethora of salary cap space to offer upcoming impending free agents max contracts in 2014 or 2015. Considering the Heat, the other Floridian franchise, hit the jackpot in 2010 by uniting LeBron, Wade and Bosh together, it’s certainly plausible for the Magic to attract a star-studded cast as well. The Magic, generally, won the sweepstakes in 2000 by acquiring T-Mac and G. Hill and then landed the top FA, Lewis, in 2007. Those were the last two years Orlando had a ton of cash to spend. The problem is more related to the fact that there isn’t quite a glistening FA class on the horizon like there was in 2010.
Are the Magic expecting their No. 2 draft pick to become a surefire franchise superstar? – DOUBTFUL – Cohen’s Analysis: There are no guaranteed saviors in this year’s draft. As a result, landing an eventual perennial All-Star will come down to a mix of research, homework, extensive evaluation and yes, luck. With the kind of success the Magic have already had acquiring young blossoming talent since Rob Hennigan took office, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Orlando attains the gem of this draft. But, there is no reason to believe that they are “expecting” to grab a guaranteed future Hall of Famer.
In retrospect, was last summer’s Dwight Howard trade the “right” move for the Magic? – ABSOLUTELY – Cohen’s Analysis: Howard was creating havoc in Orlando. Dealing with him any longer would have only generated more controversy. And as we saw this past season, Dwight wasn’t exactly the dominant force we became familiar with during his eight seasons in ORL. The Magic acquired several budding young players including Vucevic and Harkless and also netted a savvy veteran in Afflalo all while saving a ton of cash. The Lakers and Sixers are scratching their heads right now, for sure.
Looking back, if the Magic had traded Howard prior to or during the 2011-12 season would they have gotten even more value in return? – DOUBTFUL – Cohen’s Analysis: The Magic would have ended up with Brook Lopez or Andrew Bynum. It’s really that simple. There probably would have been a couple other minor pieces involved, but essentially, Lopez or Bynum would have been in ORL. While Lopez enjoyed a breakout season this past year, he is nowhere near the rebounder that Vucevic is and Bynum hasn’t played a game since the Sixers acquired him because of those treacherous knees.
Is Nikola Vucevic is the most likely among the Magic’s current players to become an NBA All-Star? – POSSIBLY – Cohen’s Analysis: Vucevic has the potential to become the most complete center in the East because of his astounding rebounding ability and offensive arsenal. If he upgrades his defensive prowess, Nik could become a nightmare for opponents. Harkless, however, also has an upside that is difficult to rival. We saw flashes of it this past season. Maurice has the kind of versatility that could transform him into a Paul George type player.
In five years will we say that Kyle O’Quinn was the big steal of the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft? – ABSOLUTELY – Cohen’s Analysis: Draymond Green was solid in Golden State, but when you consider how important contributing big men are in the NBA, you quickly realize that O’Quinn is on pace to become the darling of his draft class. He has the right attitude, work ethic and skills to be effective for many years in this league.
Will the Magic make any major trades or free agent signings this summer? – POSSIBLY – Cohen’s Analysis: On one hand, I don’t think the Magic will target any of the notable FAs this summer. They realize there are bigger fish to catch down the road. As far as trades, we saw last summer and at the trade deadline just how crafty Rob Hennigan and his staff can be. While I wouldn’t anticipate Orlando to stunt the growth process, if there is a move that would further advance this transition period, they probably won’t hesitate to sign off on a deal.
Will Glen Davis return to his starting role at power forward next season? – POSSIBLY – Cohen’s Analysis: This is a tricky question indeed. First the shoulder injury and then a broken foot that knocked him out for the final four months of the season. Davis endured a frustrating campaign for sure. However, when he was healthy, Big Baby was as effective as almost any other power forward in the NBA. Tobias Harris, though, was phenomenal after his arrival in Orlando. Depending on health and who the Magic draft with the No. 2 pick, it seems plausible for Davis to start at the 4, Harris at the 3 and Harkless perhaps can move to the SG spot or come off the bench if Afflalo is healthy.