Question of the day: The Orlando Magic want to make a big move to secure the Eastern Conference title. What should that move be? [Updated]
Reporters from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Please check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel
Stay healthy. Otherwise, not a darned thing.
This team has been close enough often enough in the last three years that to veer too far off course now would do nothing but set back the program.
The Magic already have shown they can knock off the Heat and certainly compete with the Celtics. Dwight Howard is as imposing as it gets in the East, and few backup centers can offer what Marcin Gortat offers.
There is a defensive stopper (Mickael Pietrus), three-point shooters (Rashard Lewis, J.J. Redick) and plenty of quality depth on the perimeter.
What General Manager Otis Smith should do is tell the likes of Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson and Lewis that this is it, their last best chance. Make it work now or make it work somewhere else in the future.
It takes a while to Van Gundy-ize players. The Magic don't have that time.
[Updated at 10:36 a.m.:
Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times
The Orlando Magic need to play better, with more passion and determination.
There is no guarantee that another team will be willing to make a trade to improve the Magic. So for now, it has to come from within the Magic -– and the Magic have more than enough talent and athletes.
Pound the ball down low more to Dwight Howard, even late in the game. If he gets fouled late in the game and misses free throws, that’s on Howard. He has to be held accountable.
Rashard Lewis has not shot the ball well at all this season. Lewis needs to stop settling for jump shots and attack the basket more. He also needs to improve his defense.
When Vince Carter comes back from his injury, stop letting him stay on the perimeter and jack up shots. Carter has to get to the rim, and he also has to play better defense.
With the athletes Orlando has, it should run more, a lot more.
The Magic still are tied for the best record in the Eastern Conference. That means something has to be working.]
Photo: Orlando Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy. Credit: Tom Strickland / Associated Press