Whether we like it or not, the NBA is changing.
For decades the league has been dominated and molded by the giants of the paint. From Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon, we saw the center position give birth to countless champions and legends.
But that’s all changed now, the association and its players are evolving. The center position is growing increasingly obsolete and for the first time in league history point guards are demanding attention as franchise cornerstones.
So in other words, don’t feel so bad about Dwight Howard Orlando Magic fans. He was not and never would be the answer for championships in Orlando.
That said, this franchise has two understated and talented point guards in E’Twaun Moore and Jameer Nelson. Both being versatile playmakers with a knack for putting the ball in the basket.
Moore, at 6’4 with a classic shooting guard skill set, is essentially tailor made for the leagues progressive look at point guard. Though he doesn’t do any one thing on the court particularly great, he’s a jack of all trades who does everything well with solid inflatables.
And with Nelson’s absence since the the Magic’s season opener, Moore has taken his starting opportunity and produced in a huge way.
Not only is he scoring at an efficient 48% a clip but he’s shot a sizzling 54% from deep over the Magic’s first four contests.
He’s also been a sound distributor. Contributing more to the flow of the offense than his 3.8 assists would indicate, as he demands defensive attention and is often responsible for the pass to the assist.
On the other hand you have Nelson, who at 30 years of age is in the peak years of his basketball prime. Who in the past has shown glimpses of being a borderline elite scoring guard.
That said, Nelson’s dwindling production over the last few years could be a cause for concern, as his production against the Indiana Pacers last post-season was barely above his regular season averages despite the absence of Howard.
Which was unsettling considering Nelson has been known as a player who can perform at a different level when given the green light. However, the numbers don’t lie as Nelson only managed to muster 3.7 points and 1.2 assists more than his regular season averages.
He also shot an appalling 22% from the floor and 25% from deep in his opening debut under new head coach Jacque Vaughn, although he did notch 7 assists on the night.
Regardless, it appears Nelson will be on Orlando’s roster for the next three years after signing an extension with the organization this offseason. So for better or worse, the notion of significantly reducing Nelson’s role is really off the table.
Obviously it’s far too early to write either one of them off or say for certain who is a clear cut better fit at the helm for Orlando this season.
But as far as the future is concerned, it’s undoubtedly in Moore’s hands. And the sooner the Magic can solely relinquish the starting role at floor general for him, the sooner he’ll have the opportunity to find a rhythm with Orlando’s young core.
Be that as it may, Nelson is expected back to the starting role as soon as healthy. Fortunately while Arron Afflalo continues to play the wing in Hedo Turkoglu’s(hand) absence, it appears Moore may assume a role at starting shooting guard for the time being.