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NBA Preview: Orlando Magic

I'm going to preview the other NBA teams a little differently than most previews rock it. You'll see how it works as we go along. Regardless if you dig mine or not, check out the NBA previews that Celtics Blog is gathering.

Here on Rufus on Fire, teams are ordered in a way that's interesting probably only to me.


1 -- Hedo Turkoglu is the basketball player that inspires the most expletives from me. Dude's 6-10, shoots the three, and is nearly unstoppable when he drives the lane because it only takes him two steps to go from the arc to the rim, throwing uncalled 'bows all the way.

2 -- Dwight Howard is a Bad Bad Man. I have an unhealthy love for rebounders, probably rooted in my unhealthy idolatry of Spurs-era Dennis Rodman. Unlike the Worm, though, Howard is the most imposing defender in the league, and his offensive game within eight feet of the goal is a beauty to behold. To paraphrase my buddy, Zach, there's no reason Howard can't be the greatest pick and roll tomahawk slammer we've ever seen.

3 -- When Ron "Stan Van Gundy Lookalike" Jeremy orders the offense run through Turkoglu, it plays into the team's strengths. Watching traditional point guards run the offense, it isn't quite the same. A tall man has to guard Hedo; otherwise, he'll shoot uncontested jumpers. Playing a tall man on him, though, often means assigning someone whose footwork likely isn't as quick as your average guard's, allowing Turkoglu to take him off the dribble when the ball goes through him. What's worse, when Rashard Lewis lurks around the arc, that's another tall guy who relishes shooting over guards and who requires a defender with some height. And that's before figuring out which poor soul will have to deal with Mr. Adonis Shoulders himself.

Therefore, opposing coaches are presented with an unpleasant dilemma. Unless they play a center on Howard and two tall swingman types to guard Turkoglu and Lewis, they're guaranteed a mismatch the Magic will exploit to some extent. But if they change their lineup to counter the Magic's unique offensive attack, their own offense will likely suffer because they're not going to be playing a traditional one through five lineup.

4 -- The easiest way to beat Orlando is to find someone who can live inside Turkoglu's jersey. Every jumper contested. Every drive snuffed out before he takes his second step. In other words, I'd try to figure out how I could put a motivated Kobe or Tru Warier (or my team's most reasonable facsimile) on Hedo every possession.

5 -- According to 14/16 voting, NBA fans think the Magic are a playoff team.


Bobcats news broken by my other gig, FirstCuts, written up by Chris Littman: DJ Augustin signed a deal with Jordan Brand.

Normally, this would be a tale of a shoe company jumping on a low-risk opportunity to sign a kid who won't necessarily start right away, but who a lot of respected people think could be special. Only, his context isn't just any NBA context: He works for Michael Jordan himself.

Is this Augustin ingratiating himself to the boss? Jordan using his pull to give a vote of confidence? Both? Just a separate business deal? I don't know.