Vinsanity Joins the Light Show

26 06 2009

Are you ready for a light show that will eclipse Disney’s?

The New Jersey Nets’ Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson have been traded to the Orlando Magic for Rafer Alston, Tony Battie and Courtney Lee.

You knew the Magic were going to move Rafer.  One: Jameer Nelson, their injured All-Star point guard, will be 100% healthy on opening day.  Two: if the tail-end of the Finals were any indication, Rafer would have gotten absolutely no burn next season had they kept him.  Three: Rafer’s a solid veteran rotation player with an expiring contract.  But I did not expect they would get Vince-freakin’-Carter.

If the Magic are able to lock Hedo Turkoglu, can you imagine how much firepower their starting five will have?

Nelson will be running the offense.  Vince and Rashard Lewis will be near the wings. And Dwight Howard would lock down the paint.  This is a recipe for success especially if Dwight Howard develops some semblance of a post-game or at least a countermove.

A major acquisition by a team fresh off a Finals berth bucks the recent trend.  It is a bold move by Magic GM Otis Smith but I think it’s ingenious.

Generally, Finals teams sit on their rosters during the next summer.  They may pick up a player with a mid-level contract but they have not made any huge splashes. After their recent Finals appearances, the Heat, Mavericks, Spurs, Cavs, Celtics and Lakers all sat on their hands during the summer.  With the exception of the Lakers, none of the other teams really had enough potential to get better with their transactional inertia.

Losing Courtney Lee is a marginal loss because Mickael Pietrus is still around to provide solid defense and can hit system-created 3-pointers.  Losing Tony Battie is also a marginal loss because of Marcin Gortat’s wonderfully-adequate defense and rebounding.

It’s a huge win for everyone on the Magic and it finally gives Vince Carter a real opportunity to silence his doubters.  He can follow in the footsteps of Kevin Garnett and shed the erroneous “loser” label like a Jonas Brother stepping into a middle school.  I’ve got my Mickey Mouse ears on and I’m ready to go.


A Skip Away From Disney

27 02 2009
Skip to my Lou

Skip to my Lou

Orlando has acquired Rafer Alston, who has been given the keys to the Orlando offense in wake of Jameer Nelson’s season-ending injury.

I like this move for Orlando.  Supposedly, the Magic asked about Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley prior to the trade deadline.  But pulling the trigger to get Alston was a better move because of his familiarity with the coach.

Alston played for Stan Van Gundy in Miami five years ago.  Plus, Alston was coached by SVG’s brother Jeff.  I’m sure Skip has been invited to more than his fair share of Van Gundy Astro Jump-enchanced barbeques.

The Magic offense is really constructed around dumping the ball into Dwight Howard.  Other than that, the point really just does drive-and-kicks out to Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu.  It can definitely play to the strengths of Alston.

Although Alston’s averaging 2.75 turnovers a game since joining the Magic, I would expect that number to drop to 2 which is right around his career average.  He just needs to get accustomed to the Magic’s sets, calls and what not. 

It seems as though Alston is playing the passing lanes a little more.  You can afford to gamble more on defense with Howard around to erase any mistakes or lapses.  Alston’s stealing the ball 2.25 times a game since joining his new squad compared to his career average of 1.2.

Alston’s game is predicated on him doing some good things but also making a few mistakes along the way.  So while the turnover/steal ratio isn’t too surprising, the rate at which he’s doing it is.  Maybe the trade has made him a little hyperactive.  Only time will tell.

I would have been excited had the Magic acquired Stephon Marbury.  Clearly, losing an All-star in Jameer Nelson is a big loss but I think Orlando would have seen a better reprieve in Starbury.  He would have been custom-made to jump in and contribute on a PG-less team.