Cohen: Many Decisions & Questions Yet to be Determined
By Josh Cohen
October 30, 2012
ORLANDO -- It’s evident that the Orlando Magic will rely on unselfishness, poise, balance and an exorbitant amount of heart and hustle to surprise some folks this season and be a playoff contender.
Especially without a distinct star, Jacque Vaughn will likely implement a variety of tactics. That includes occasionally altering the lineup, depending on an assortment of players to make decisive plays and applying a mixture of strategies and motivational methods to keep his team focused at all times.
The preseason was, generally speaking, a success for the Magic. Aside from a minor thumb injury to Gustavo Ayon, Orlando is almost at full strength. Maurice Harkless is fully engaged at practice and could return in a week or two and Al Harrington could be cleared to start his conditioning work as early as Nov. 12 after he visits the doctor for a critical checkup.
While prematurely criticized immediately afterwards, the blockbuster trade that delivered Arron Afflalo and Nikola Vucevic to the Magic is looking far more appealing than some originally thought. Afflalo’s development is conspicuous and Vucevic has the potential to be a double-double machine.
All the fun starts Friday when the Magic host the Denver Nuggets – a team some suggest Orlando could resemble.
And it’s entirely possible some essential decisions will have to be made by Vaughn and his coaching staff right out of the gate.
Here are some inquiries that are yet to be determined or answered:
1) Who is the primary backup point guard, E’Twaun Moore or Ish Smith?
Moore and Smith each provide dissimilar strengths. Moore is a relentless scorer, while Smith is the quick and smooth floor general always searching for his teammates.
2) Who takes a last-second shot with the game on the line?
In the past, Jameer Nelson has typically been called upon in clutch moments. Afflalo is more than capable of conquering the pressure; Hedo Turkolgu once was nicknamed Mr. Fourth Quarter and J.J. Redick seems more than willing to accept the challenge.
3) Who gets the most playing time amongst the backend reserves?
DeQuan Jones was exceptional in the preseason, which earned him a spot on the roster. Josh McRoberts is a seasoned pro with a multitude of skills for a big man. Kyle O’Quinn can fill in for Vucevic and Ayon (when he returns) if either get in foul trouble.
4) Who will lead the team in scoring this season?
Glen Davis looks like a formidable candidate after his outstanding preseason performances. Afflalo has a smooth overall offensive game as he can bury the outside shot, post his defender and hit fadeaways or attack the rim and score easy layups inside.
5) Who will be the best Magic rookie?
Andrew Nicholson and Jones are certainly the frontrunners after impressive preseasons, but once Maurice Harkless returns some think he could make an immediate impact.
Until regular season games begin, how about you, the fans, vote on these curiosities.
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