Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Opposing View: 11/13 at Orlando

All season long, Sonics Beat will be consulting an expert on the opposing team as part our gameday preview. Nick Adams from OrlandoMagic.com answers our five questions on the Magic. Check out their preview as well as this scouting report from the Third Quarter Collapse blog.

Is there a limit to what Dwight Howard can become?
No, there is no limit on Dwight Howard. The other thing about him is that he is a constant worker. He is always staying after practice to work on developing his game with new assistant coach Patrick Ewing. I think we can see more of this development this season with his improved free-throw shooting. By making those extra free-throws it takes him from an 18 points a night guy to a 23-25 point guy.

What have you seen so far from Rashard Lewis?
Rashard, much like Dwight, is a hard worker. People haven't got to see the talent of Rashard, as you may know, but he is easily one of the most talented forwards in the league. He raises up for that almost unblockable jump shot with ease and can create his own shot with equal minimal effort. I was surprised to see how unselfish of a player he is. He never tries to do too much and always plays within himself and will put 20 up without you realizing it.

What impact has Stan Van Gundy had so far?
Stan has made a huge impact, more than people may realize. Stan is a fiery guy who will never let the guys get complacent and he is always pushing them to their peak abilities. I think he is a perfect fit to bring this young, talented group along. He will make the team mentally and physically tougher which is something the Magic have lacked in recent years.

How has the Magic's small lineup matched up with opponents?
It's kinda hard to gauge so far with it being still early in the season, but so far it hasn't faired too bad. I think with time the team will be more comfortable with it once they figure out how to play within the matchups. Obviously, offensively it is an advantage because you have the opponent's four man guarding either Rashard or Hedo Turkoglu, and I think that is a big reason for each of their early successes. Defensively it has created some problems because the team has been forced to double and the defensive rotation needs some work, but like I said it will improve with time.

What don't we know but should about the Magic?
They are one of the top five teams in the Eastern Conference. I think Boston, Detroit, New Jersey, and Cleveland are better at the moment but I think the Magic deserves consideration as a contender in the East. The first portion of their schedule is extremely difficult with most of the games on the road and I think if they continue to steal some ballgames, they will get stronger as the season goes on and make a push for home court during the playoffs.