The Magic are beginning the season the way they ended last season: looking for a dependable veteran back-up center.
“We’d like to get another big at some point,” Coach Stan Van Gundy said.
For now, Glen “Big Baby” Davis is backing up Dwight Howard. Davis, 6-foot-9, 290 pounds, is also battling to start at power forward alongside Howard.
Asked about being Howard’s sidekick, Davis laughed, “I’ll be his sidekick, back kick, front kick. Whatever kind of kick.”
I have long believed that the Magic needed a player like this to provide some of the hammer and get in the players’ ears about continuing to push forward for the team and not being complacent. A player with championship experience, who has been to the top and knows what it takes, is a valuable resource to any team. This is my often-referred to Horace Grant Theory.
Glen Davis is not Horace Grant. Grant was a six-year starter in the league with championships when he came to Orlando. He averaged more than 12.0 points per game in each year of his career from his second year until the lockout-shortened 1999 season. Grant was a workhorse and solid, consistent player.
“We want Earl to guard the 3s and 4s who are primary scorers, seeing if he can guard Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Dirk Nowitzki … the bigger wings and the 4s,” Van Gundy said. “That’s where I see Earl coming in and getting his minutes.”
Van Gundy will have to pick his spots with Clark, considering the Magic have three other power forwards: Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Ryan Anderson and rookie Justin Harper.
Though it’s true Orlando already has one 6-foot-10 player who can defend small forwards–that’d be starter Hedo Turkoglu–Clark is longer, quicker, and has better footwork. Though Turkoglu’s a bit better defensively than his reputation suggests, his diminished jets force him to sag off his man more than a more athletic defender would. Putting Clark in Turkoglu’s place gives Orlando a better shot at blanketing opposing high-scoring wings.
Kobe Bryant is not only peeved that the Lakers have regressed since last season and then dealt Lamar Odom. But he’s livid after seeing the Clippers land Chris Paul and steal some Laker limeight following David Stern’s blockade of the Paul-to-the Lakers trade.
So the question that might be felt in Orlando is this: Could Paul’s move coupled with Kobe’s unhappiness force the Lakers to give up Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard?
“I had been doing that at Wade since I was 14, 15, 16. They got my jersey up,” Wafer said. “Those guys are real strong. They are not really skilled, but they pushed me around, making me tough.
“That was the best run for me, being a young kid.”
Wafer said the games included murderers, but he wasn’t afraid, adding, “They loved me. They were just trying to make me better. Besides, I know most of the guys in there.”
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)