For anyone that isn’t caught up with the trades over the summer, the Orlando Magic shipped Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers in a blockbuster trade including the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers. With the team built around Howard, his exit meant starting from scratch and building a whole new team. Looking over the roster, this Magic team is far from making any run into the playoffs but in the years to come, with all the young talent they received in the Howard trade (including future draft picks), they could be a solid team once again. As of now, for the 2012-2013 season, lets see how the New York Knicks who made many acquisitions this summer stack up against this young Magic team. I would really call this matchup a battle between the veterans and the young’ins.
PG– NYK: Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni vs. Jameer Nelson, Ish Smith
Orlando Magic – Since Jameer Nelson’s 2008-2009 All-Star campaign, he really hasn’t improved his game (a consistent 12 points 5 assists for his career), making it safe to say that he is a solid point guard but no star. He has a high 3pt FG% around the 40% mark and with his strength can make nice moves to the basket. Theres nothing special about Ish Smith, a two year veteran out of Wake Forest. Already being small, he has a sub par shot and a low field goal percentage driving to the rim – he also is not a great distributor so overall this is a pretty weak position for the Magic.
New York Knicks: With a total new look at the point guard position, the Knicks filled every area with speed and defense from Raymond Felton, and veteran leadership and great passing from Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni. All three of them also are overall great offensive floor generals. As long as Felton returns to his All-Star caliber form from two years ago, and Kidd doesn’t get injured, this is a great positon for the Knicks.
Knicks: A-/B+ Magic: B/B- Advantage: Knicks
SG – NYK Iman Shumpert, JR Smith, Ronnie Brewer vs. Aaron Afflalo, JJ Reddick, E’Twuan Moore
Orlando Magic- Aaron Afflalo who was acquired from the Denver Nuggets is one of the most underated shooters in the NBA with a 47%FG and close to 40% from three. And at age 26, he is only getting better, especially with the other aspects of his game. JJ Redick who did not live up to expectations out of college in any sense, still can his the dinger when left wide open. And at age 23, the undersized, not-very-athletic E’Twuan Moore still can become a better player if he works on his shot and dribbling skills.
New York Knicks – Iman Shumpert is out till January with a torn ACL, MCL and lateral meniscus which takes away the tenacious defense and athleticism. The Knicks filled this rising star’s role by re-signing JR Smith, who can score in bunches. As long as he stay sunder control especially with his shot selection, he could really help out the Knicks. The Knicks also added Ronnie Brewer who has a Hhumpert-esque style of play but he’s out 6 weeks with a hurt knee.
Without Shumpert: Knicks: B- With Shumpert: B+ Magic: B+ Advantage: Magic
SF – Carmelo Anthony, Steve Novak, Chris Copeland vs Quentin Richardson, Al Harrington, Mo Harkless
Orlando Magic - Any sentence with Quentin Richardson in it, I can’t handle. Ever since his time on the Los Angelos Clippers and the Phoenix Suns, Richardson has been one of the biggest disappointments of the past 7 years averaging around 8 points and 6 rebounds a game. This overrated player was way overpaid (over 35 million on his contract) on the Knicks (not unusual for them them to do this) and he was injured 25% of the time. The other 75% of the time that he was playing he did absolutely nothing. Al Harrington, who was also a Knick, is not going to get my full head of steam as Richardson did- he is a solid player and can get hot very quickly. Mo Harkless, the 19 year old rookie out of Saint Johns University is one of those rebuilding players for the Magic who was acquired from the Philadelphia Sixers in the Howard trade. He can defintely score and has lots of athleticism.
New York Knicks: I don’t have much to say about Carmelo Anthony – he’s better than all three SF on the Magic combined + more. Behind Lebron James and Kevin Durant, Carmelo has proven to be the 3rd best SF in the league. Mr. Discount – Double – Check (Steve Novak) led the league in 3pt shooting at around the 50% mark, and Chris Copeland is a promising player on the rise.
Knicks: A- Magic: B- Advantage: Knicks
PF– Amar’e Stoudemire, Kurt Thomas vs Hedo Turkoglu, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga
Orlando Magic: Hedo Turkoglu is back for the Magic and as we’ve seen, he is no where close to as good as he was 4 years ago
when the Magic made it to the NBA Finals. Josh McRoberts (most of you know him for his highlight reel of dunks) who was acquired from the Lakers in the Howard trade is a solid pickup who adds superb athleticism and at 6’10 has great dribbling and passing skills (although sometimes he can get a little sloppy). Then Christian Eyenga who was acquired from the Lakers in the Howard trade too, has some really raw talent at the age of 23 and can definitely become a solid player.
New York Knicks: This season for the Knicks is all based on how Amare Stoudemire plays becuase as we saw last year, Melo can’t do it all by himself. But I really think he’s going to come back strong this year – he’s rested from his back injury, he’s worked with Hakeem Olajuwan to become a better post player and most of all in the highlight tapes, you can see his explosiveness is back. Now when it comes to Kurt Thomas, he is going to do absolutely nothing on the court besides commit hard fouls but it’s what he’s going to do in the locker room with his veteran leadership that matters. Looking at this position, there really seems to be a lack of depth but Woodson has all sorts of lineups that he could put on the floor such as put Carmelo at the 4 or have Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby in the game at the same time, so there is nothing to worry about.
Knicks: B+ Magic: B Advantage: Knicks
C – Tyson Chandler, Marcus Camby vs. Glen Davis, Nikola Vucevic
Orlando Magic: Big Baby Davis had his breakout at the end of last season when Howard went down with a back injury. After shadowing Kevin Garnett on Boston Celtics for 4 years and Howard on the Magic, its great to see something like this come to fruition. In April he was putting up a consistent 17 points and 9 rebounds as Howard’s replacement. The 7′ Foot Nikola Vucevic who was acquired from the 76ers had his rookie season last year but did not get much playing time with so much depth on that team. But now with Howard out and Davis undersized, we will really be able to tell what Vucevic can do this year. His offesnive skils are not bad but he lacks athleticism and defensive skills.
New York Knicks: With the present Defensive Player of the Year starting the game, and a former Defensive Player of the Year as a backup, I don’t know what more you can ask for. These two big man will clog the lanes on defense, rack up all the boards on offense, and receive countless alley-oops from some great passing point guards. I couldn’t be happier with this position. I know there is lack of offense from these two players but with Melo, STAT and some great shooters, this shoudl not be a problem at all.
Knicks: A-/B+ Magic: B Advantage: Knicks
With the Knicks winning at the PG, SF,PF and C position and the Magic barely having the upper hand at the SG position, the Knicks win the position matchups 4-1, clearly showing that they have the advantage over the Magic.