No NBA this year would be a very bad thing. For some though, it could be worse than that. The Orlando Magic fit into this category. Because Orlando has one more shot to show its star player, Dwight Howard, that he can win there. Right now, I don’t think Dwight is convinced. He says all the right things. He says he wants to stay in Orlando. But we’ve heard that before. We heard it from Shaq. Cleveland fans heard it from Lebron too. We all know it’s just lip service.
Players who don’t play for Miami have to see the handwriting on the wall. With the “Big Three” there, guys all alone like Howard see that they are going to have to play a sort of fantasy league/player guy and try to recruit other stars to team up with to have a chance. Orlando would be a great place to recruit some guys to. You can’t beat the weather. You want golf? Fishing? Disney? The beach? It’s all there. And now they have a brand spanking new state-of-the-art palace to play in as well. Orlando would be an attractive place to recruit a star player playing in some cold weather, ugly city to join up with the game’s best center. But the Magic needs to get it done now.
With a lockout going deep into the season, that will be a tall order. One thing we know for sure is, Howard needs a scorer to go with him. He does all the rest. He rebounds, blocks shots, clogs up the paint better than anyone. But on offense, he wants the lane all to himself. He needs space to operate. He has no perimeter game so if Orlando gets another big man to compliment him, he feels like things are too clogged down low for him to get his offense going. So Orlando needs a great scoring and penetrating guard. It was hoped Gilbert Arenas would be that guy. But apparently he’s about used up. The Magic needs Arenas of five years ago.
The good news is there are a lot of really good guards in the league and there are more on the way. If Orlando can get one of them in soon, they may be able to keep Howard from bolting. If they cannot, Howard leaving would send this franchise into a tailspin. Howard leaving the Magic would leave a hole bigger than Lebron left in Cleveland. They would not only be a sub 20 win team, but they would be doing it in one of the biggest, shiniest, beautiful gyms in the nation. It would not be good to see the place half empty every night. The silver lining is that Orlando would have an abundance of draft picks and a lot of money to spend to build it back again.
The bad news though is Orlando fans have been down this road before. The 1995 Magic were beaten in the NBA Finals. Before that young team could bring it all home, its big man Shaquille O’Neal left for LA. It took a long time for the Magic to get them back. Some would say they have never really made it back all the way. If this same scenario happens again, it could be the fans’ last straw.
So for Orlando’s sake, let’s hope this lockout ends soon