The Magic keep insisting that Dwight Howard is going nowhere but a rough night at home against the Thunder might give Orlando pause for thought. Al Dannity assesses the potential impact a loss tonight could have on Howard’s season.
Thunder ready to strike
Oklahoma City won a tough road assignment at Philadelphia last night. That’s the kind of result a team needs to cement its championship credentials. A win in Orlando tonight would show the offense-heavy Thunder can overcome Dwight Howard’s defensive might at the Amway Center. Oklahoma City isn’t just built to win, OKC is built to win big. With the trade deadline approaching that could have massive mental implications for the Magic’s brain trust. The Thunder are not in the race to pick up Superman but they could accelerate trade talks for the NBA’s premier big man.
What you want vs. what you need
Howard has insisted he wants to be the #1 attacking option wherever he goes. In truth that’s the worst possible scenario for the center. This is not a league where a team can win with a big as its top offensive threat. Howard can still be the most important factor on the floor wherever he goes, indeed he likely will be. It’s Superman’s defense and his offensive abilities at the rim that make him a threat. With Howard on the floor, an elite scorer has the ability to take over a game as defense’s will be forced to give up space. Dwight could take home the MVP while his chief co-star is scoring champion. That’s a world Howard should be happy with, it’s also one where he might finally get a ring.
Reality check for Orlando
Here’s the deal for the Magic. They can keep Howard through the end of the season, make the playoffs, and go out in the first round or conference semi-finals. NBA betting fans know there’s no way Orlando gets by either Miami or Chicago. Once the Magic go down, Dwight is going to skip town and the Magic won’t have much to show for it. Elite players want situations where they can win. Right now, Orlando isn’t that place.
Trading Howard before the deadline gives Orlando a shot at recovering quickly. Look at what’s happened in Denver since the Carmelo trade. Offloading their top player actually made the Nuggets stronger. Such an immediate impact is unlikely for Orlando but it would help the front office make amends for some terrible personnel choices in recent times. There are plenty of teams will to offer a king’s ransom for Superman. It’s time to see who’ll give you enough to stay relevant.
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