Roster Breakdown (Starters in Bold)
- PG - Jameer Nelson, Chris Duhon
- SG - Jason Richardson, JJ Redick, Von Wafer, DeAndre Liggins
- SF - Hedo Turkoglu, Quentin Richardson, Earl Clark
- PF - Glen Davis, Ryan Anderson, Justin Harper
- C - Dwight Howard, Daniel Orton
General ThoughtsGiving this roster the nod as the #3 team in the East (regular season) is a basic homage to Dwight Howard's brilliance. In the midst of the trade rumor madness, people aren't discussing that Dwight is the best center alive (by the widest margin of any position in the league, by far), and the best defensive player in the entire league. The second he steps foot on a roster, they're a playoff team. It's that simple. Outside of Howard, it's a bit of a mess of roster construction. There are guys I like in Nelson, Redick, Richardson, and Anderson, but none of them are legitimate 2nd options at this point. Hedo Turkoglu is still around thanks to a wildly absurd contract, and Orlando managed to pay twice what Brandon Bass was making to Glen Davis despite Davis being an equal (or worse) player. Big shout-out to Otis Smith on that one. The Jason Richardson signing was a pure "win now" move, and he's a certain upgrade at the 2-guard, but I don't really see the organizational direction. They have 8 legitimate NBA rotation guys (and 9 if you count Duhon, ehhh) and that, along with Howard, should be enough to sneak away with home court in the East for a series.
Did you think I forgot about the Dwight Howard sweepstakes? The clear x-factor on this team is whether Dwight will actually BE on this team in February. For the record, I wouldn't trade Howard for Andrew Bynum, or for Brook Lopez and 107 first-round picks. I'm not saying I wouldn't trade Howard for the right package (because I do think he's leaving), but you better be getting back a legitimate organizational building block (Bynum isn't that for me), or a 3-4 quality player package to do it. Otherwise, offer him way more money than anyone else and make him walk away from that. If I had a gun to my head, I think Otis Smith goes rogue, holds onto Dwight, and pays the consequences in the summer when he leaves, but for this year, his presence gives them this ranking.
Predicted Finish3rd in the East