While both will play a lot, Van Gundy’s concern is that early foul trouble for Davis as a starter might hamper him relieving Dwight Howard as the back-up center.
“You know me. Starting, coming off the bench…I just want to play,” Anderson said.
Davis was not pleased he came off the bench behind Anderson against the Heat on Wednesday night. He still led the Magic with 18 points, firing up the team and crowd with his energy and emotion.
“Last year was a year for me that was kind of tough,” he said. “You’re coming into a team that was together for a while.
“You’re trying to fit in. You lay back. You’re passive. You don’t want to do too much, step on somebody’s toes. It was kind of a frustrating year.”
Duhon shot just 38 percent and only made 25 percent from three-point range, struggling so badly that he was reluctant to shoot.
Stan Van Gundy is willing to give both players their shot for the moment to regain their roles. And, as he said with the young players who were not getting game action in the preseason, he is seeing a lot more from them and their play through practices opposed to just games.
“People will say Player X is not playing well, why don’t you give so-and-so a chance,” Stan Van Gundy said Tuesday before Wednesday’s preseason finale. “All those guys get a chance. Fans will act like, because they haven’t seen them, that these guys get no opportunity. We watch them every day. We played today. So that’s how we make decisions. And quite honestly, no matter what happens in the game [Wednesday against the Heat], we’ve seen them for however many days, one game tomorrow night isn’t going to change my mind. It’s an overall evaluation.”
Further, New Jersey lost its remaining salary-cap space by acquiring Okur in the wake of Lopez’s injury. A previous perk of potentially trading Howard to New Jersey was its ability to use its cap space to absorb Hedo Turkoglu’s contract in the transaction. The Nets have now lost that ability.
Given that the Mavericks have precious little to offer in terms of trade assets, with scoring machine Rodrigue Beaubois being their only young player of note, the Lakers may have emerged as the favorites to land Howard if Orlando decides to trade him prior to the March 15 deadline. The Lakers can offer 24-year-old center Andrew Bynum and 10-year veteran big man Pau Gasol, but Lopez’s injury gives them some leverage. Knowing that none of Howard’s other destinations can offer a truly attractive trade package, L.A. can reduce its offer to include either Gasol or Bynum.
Can the Magic take the risk that Lopez will recover?
Can they acquire him for Howard in what will be their most critical trade in franchise history?
He might not be playing by the March 15 trade deadline.
The Magic might have no choice but to trade Howard to the Lakers for Bynum, who has been fragile himself with knee problems. But Bynum has looked great this preseason — and healthy.
Certainly, the Magic have even less leverage now. They want both Bynum and power forward Pau Gasol for Howard, but L.A. knows the Magic can’t use the Nets now to pressure the Lakers into giving up both bigs.
Check out Andrew Lynch’s Magic preview here.
Eddy Rivera offers a detailed preview here.
SB Nation’s Tom Ziller previews the Southeast Division. Check that out here.
(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)