Josh Cohen’s Analysis: Although every so often an injury represses his ascend, Jameer Nelson is still a high quality point guard. A few years ago he was arguably a top five pg, especially before he injured his shoulder the year the Magic voyaged to the NBA Finals in 2009. But what has also happened recently is the league has become flooded with so many elite point guards. It’s hard to stand out when you have Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose (when healthy), Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Deron Williams, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, Mike Conley and Brandon Jennings floating around.
Cohen’s Analysis: Nikola Vucevic has a ton of finesse and is an exceptional rebounder. Andrew Nicholson, similarly, has a plethora of offensive skills. But neither are yet defensive-oriented. And against teams like the Bulls, who are accustomed to pounding the ball inside, it’s a matchup nightmare for Orlando’s frontline. With Glen Davis out, the Magic must figure out a defensive scheme that can make up for their deficiencies.
Cohen’s Analysis: Will Derrick Rose be the same when he returns? The 2010-11 MVP tore his ACL in the playoffs last season and is expected to come back in February. The Bulls certainly don’t want to look further to the north for an example. Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio recently returned after tearing his ACL and doesn’t resemble the same guy from what we saw last season.
Cohen’s Analysis: Are the Bulls shopping the generally disappointing and vastly overpaid Carlos Boozer for financial relief? Boozer, who every so often dazzles you like he did on Wednesday in Orlando with 31 points and 11 rebounds, is on the books for two more seasons after this year for approximately $30 million. It may be logical for Chicago to try to unload that contract. How much value does Boozer have across the league, however? That’s an interesting question.
Cohen’s Analysis: Maurice Harkless needs more time to develop and most of that training will happen behind the scenes. After starting the rookie in 20 games, Jacque Vaughn decided to have Harkless watch all the action from the bench these past two contests. Maurice has all the intangibles to be productive player in the NBA, but is flawed in many areas, particularly offensively. Would it be beneficial for Harkless to get sent down to the D-League to continue expanding his game?
Cohen’s Analysis: The Magic and Bulls share one special thing in common. They are the two franchises to defy statistical probability and restore championship potential by landing a No. 1 overall draft pick. In 1993, Orlando won the lottery with a 1.5 percent chance. It chose Chris Webber before trading him to Golden State for Penny Hardaway. In 2008, Chicago secured the first pick with a 1.7 percent chance. It selected Derrick Rose. Luck means a lot in the NBA. And ironically enough, both Penny and D-Rose went to the same college, Memphis.