Cohen 8-Ball: Who You Got?
September 11, 2013
Who takes the last-second game-winning shot?
Cohen’s Choice: Victor Oladipo
He hasn’t played a meaningful NBA game yet, but Oladipo’s poise and confidence at Summer League was striking. Vic’s game-winning step-back jumper to wrap up his impressive week in July was significant enough to put this level of trust in him.
Also substantial, Oladipo’s aggressiveness often sends him to the free throw line. By attacking the rim in the final seconds of a close game, Victor prompts defenders to prevent a bucket by merely fouling him.
Who are last five on floor in close game?
Cohen’s Choice: Nelson, Oladipo, Harris, Davis & Vucevic
I want a healthy mix of experience, leadership and versatility to secure a victory. Nelson provides the headship, Oladipo offers a scoring threat and defensive aptitude, Harris creates a matchup nightmare for opponents, Davis supplies toughness and intangibles and Vucevic will grab all the rebounds.
Which Eastern Conference opponent would you celebrate most defeating in playoff series?
Cohen’s Choice: Miami Heat
All 28 other teams would probably give the same answer. The Heat have a supersized target on their backs. They have, arguably, become the most detested sports team in the world. Knocking them out of contention for a third straight title would be rejoiced for years and years thereafter. It’s also delightful to beat your team’s geographical rival.
Who guards opposing team’s best scorer?
Cohen’s Choice: Maurice Harkless or Victor Oladipo
Though still a prodigy and still figuring out his potential, Harkless has all the tools to be one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. He showed last season against the league’s elite, including Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, he is capable of becoming a lockdown defender.
Renowned for his defensive capacities, Oladipo’s tenacity could transform him into a reliable on-the-ball protector. He is so relentless and extremely quick on his feet that offensive players have a difficult time creating enough space to fire off a reasonable shot.
Need a 3 to win it, who takes it?
Cohen’s Choice: Doron Lamb
This used to be an easy question to answer when J.J. Redick was on the Magic. Now, it’s far less obvious. Though unproven, untested and not normally in the game in the final seconds of a close game, Lamb is Orlando’s best long distance shooter. If given the minutes, he has a chance to earn the reputation as the league’s premier 3-point specialist.
If Lamb were not entered into the game, Jameer Nelson would probably be my next choice.
Who gives the motivational speech in the locker room prior to a big game?
Cohen’s Choice: Glen Davis
If he doesn’t stir up enthusiasm and inspiration, Big Baby will inevitably inculcate humor in the room. His energy is palpable yards away; you can’t help but pay attention to him when he is talking and there is nothing better than when someone can lighten the mood when the pressure is sky high. Davis is naturally an emotional guy. He is perfect for this role.
There is one spot remaining on the final regular season roster. What position is targeted?
Cohen’s Choice: Forward
Teams are permitted to carry no more than 15 players. In my assessment, there are 13 locks on the Magic’s roster. Let’s also assume Romero Osby, the Magic’s second round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, earns a spot. That elevates the tally to 14.
Orlando should be set at point guard with Nelson, Moore, Price and Oladipo contributing periodically to that position. Assuming Victor spends a portion of the season at shooting guard and with Afflalo and Lamb also on board, the Magic should be set at that guard position as well. Harkless is also capable of sliding down to the two.
Nikola Vucevic will obviously play big minutes at center and both Maxiell and O’Quinn will back him up when necessary.
The most glaring need is at either of the forward spots, particularly if Big Baby isn’t healthy at the start of the season. Harris will toggle back and forth between small and power forward, but with Harrington gone, Turkoglu possibly getting waived prior to training camp and with Jones not expected to be back, Orlando could use another forward at the rear of the bench.
Which individual award is most likely to be won by a member of the Magic this season?
Cohen’s Choice: Rob Hennigan (Executive of Year) or Victor Oladipo (Rookie of Year)
First and foremost, all of the voters will now be able to weigh in the aftermath of last summer’s blockbuster Dwight Howard trade. Howard left L.A. for Houston, Andre Iguodala deserted Denver for Golden State and Andrew Bynum, who didn’t play a single second for Philadelphia, has resurfaced in Cleveland. And in Orlando, Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless and Arron Afflalo are all blossoming.
The decisions Hennigan and his staff have made thus far have proven to be brilliant and, as a result, it wouldn’t be surprising if he were one of the main candidates for Exec of the Year.
Oladipo, meanwhile, is already a popular pick for Rookie of the Year. He had an outstanding week at the Orlando Pro Summer League and has the potential to make an immediate difference for the Magic in his introductory campaign.