Denton: Examining the Magic's Power Forwards
By John Denton
September 9, 2013
ORLANDO – With the start of training camp three weeks away, it’s time to start breaking down the Orlando Magic’s roster for the upcoming season.
The Magic are loaded with a dynamic mix of veterans (Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Maxiell), a promising young, returning core (Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless and Andrew Nicholson) and a prized rookie (Victor Oladipo). Though likely to be in another developmental season, the Magic feature the kind of rapidly improving talent base that have many experts feeling that Orlando will make major steps this season.
It will be interesting to see how second-year head coach Jacque Vaughn uses his wide-ranging personnel as he mixes and matches lineups throughout the upcoming season. Will he use Oladipo, the second overall pick in last June’s NBA Draft, as a point guard, shooting guard or both? Will Tobias Harris, a revelation late last season after arriving in Orlando, continue to play power forward or switch back to small forward? Will the addition of Jason Maxiell and the healthy return of Davis make the Magic a better defensive team? And will Vucevic, one of the NBA’s top rebounders last season, evolve into a go-to scorer in the post this season following a summer of arduous work to improve his game?
In time, all of those questions will be answered. For now, all we can do is look ahead to the Magic’s bright future and count down the days until the Oct. 1 start of training camp.
To pass the time, OrlandoMagic.com will break down each position on the Magic roster over the coming weeks to assess the strengths and weaknesses and burning questions at each spot on the floor.
Without further ado, today we take a look at the power forward position:
KEY QUESTION: With Glen Davis expected back early in the season, how will the Magic successfully mix playing Tobias Harris, Jason Maxiell, Andrew Nicholson and Davis at the power forward slot?
ANALYSIS: The Magic will have a variety of options at power forward with which they can play big or small. Harris showed star potential last season and gives the Magic a power forward who can score from the block, off the dribble or from the perimeter. Davis and Maxiell are tough bangers who will provide some veteran know-how. And Nicholson should once again give the Magic some instant offense off the bench. Mixing and matching these players will sometimes be a challenge, but it helps that Harris can play small forward and Davis and Maxiell can also spend time at center. Harris will likely begin the season as the starter at power forward, but he could move back to small forward to accommodate the return of Davis. Regardless, the Magic should be well-stocked at the position regardless of what kind of lineup is needed.
FINAL THOUGHT: Harris will play big minutes because of his ability to score and impact the game in a variety of ways, but the Magic also must get Davis and Maxiell on the floor because of their defensive grit and rebounding toughness. Finding the right rotation for these three players – they all three could play together in certain situations – should make the Magic a vastly improved team along the frontline.
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