by Jack Maidment
Vince Carter for Hedo Turkoglu? 6 years ago this would have been the ultimate no brainer, like asking a wrestling fan to play favourites with The Hurricane or The Rock.
In fact, despite Carter’s decline due to ageing knees and the inevitable rot that playing for the Nets induces, he remains one of the best scorers and offensive weapons in the League.
The Orlando Magic gave up a lot of pieces to acquire Half Man Half Amazing but when you consider how well he fits with their current roster, the cost of the move (both monetarily and in lost player personnel) seems to be worth their while.
The team may have lost a small point forward who posed their opponents countless match up problems last year, but in Carter they add a player capable of shooting from deep and taking it to the basket in a much more athletic and dynamic way. How many times did you see Hedo dunk it last year? You can argue that dunks aren’t too important and that 2 points is 2 points from anywhere. But. With Carter going to the hole a lot more than Turkoglu the floor instantly spreads that little bit extra giving the likes of Jameer Nelson, Rashard lewis and Mickael Pietrus that much more room to operate.
His shooting ability also ensures the defence has to play true to him allowing Orlando’s resident beast the space he needs to rip the boards down or go to work when he finally develops a go-to post move.
A different player who creates a different match up problem, but a problem all the same. There is little doubt that Anthony Parker, Paul Pierce, Delonte West and Ray Allen are much looking forward to their defensive assignments when the Magic come calling next year.
The big question is: why is everyone sleeping on Orlando?
The majority of the talk seems to be revolving around a Cleveland-Los Angeles Finals just like was predicted last year, and we all no what happened with that.
If it isn’t LeBron and Kobe it is Paul Pierce and co who are filling the column inches. The return of Garnett and the addition of Rasheed Wallace apparently makes them favourites if they stay healthy, or at least The Truth thinks so.
So, despite making the Finals last year for only the second time in franchise history, the Orlando Magic are apparently out of the picture. Even though by adding Carter they improve. Even though by adding Brandon Bass and resigning Marcin Gortat they significantly strengthened their front court. Even though Dwight Howard will have another year of improvement under his Superman cape. Even though they made the Finals without their starting point guard.
Are you serious?
The Cavs, Lakers and Celtics all deserve heat, no question, but to ignore the Magic as absolute contenders and maybe even the team to beat is to not only disregard last year’s achievements, but also their potential going into this year to improve.
Orlando Magic, next year’s team on Parade Street? You better believe it.