For this game I decided to switch gears and exchange questions and answers with Ben Q. Rock. He runs Third Quarter Collapse, which is one of the newest SB Nation blogs. And yes he is not quite over Paul Pierce's double OT explosion from last season. Get yourself caught up on the opponent here and make sure to check out his blog to go even more in depth.
My questions are in bold. His answers follow.
I vaguely remember someone from one of the major media outlets putting forth the case that Keith Bogans was the worst shooter in the NBA. This was a few years ago. Now he is in the top five in three pointers. What is going on with him?
Keith has never been a great shooter. In fact, his career field-goal percentage is under .400. Other teams are aware of his poor marksmanship, which is why they usually leave him open to double-team Howard. KeBo isn't a great player, but if you give him enough open looks, he'll hit a few of them. The fact that he's an excellent defender also helps his cause.
A lot has been made about how much money the Magic gave Rashard Lewis. Some argue that they could have signed him and retained Darko if they
played their cards right. Regardless, Lewis has not disappointed. Describe his presence so far.
I look forward to hearing about Rashard's contract for the next six years. No, really. Hey, maybe they could have kept Darko if they offered Lewis less. I'm not Otis Smith. I don't know what Darko was asking, or what other teams were offering Lewis. Bill Simmons thinks the Magic overpaid by about $50 million, which is certainly possible. Thing is, Otis knew he wanted Lewis, and made him an offer that took all other teams out of the running. And considering that Sweet Lew was on the Rockets' and the Knicks' wish lists, our overspending may actually help us in the end. I just don't see how we'd be better off with, say, Darko and Gerald Wallace.
Do you expect anything from J.J. Redick this year?
I expect plenty from J.J. this year... plenty of DNP-CDs, that is. ZING! He's probably a better shooter than Bogans, but he also can't defend his way out of a paper bag. I think John Hollinger pointed out that J.J. was the only shooting guard who played enough minutes last year to not block a single shot, and his steals per minute was third-worst. Something like that. Stan the Man wants to surround Dwight with shooters, but he also wants to have a lock-down defensive team. He's willing to sacrifice a bit of offense if it means better defense, which is why J.J. isn't going to crack the rotation. Hell, he may not even be on the team by the time his youth jersey night rolls around (March 8). There are plenty of teams who would love to take a flyer on J.J. -- Cleveland needs a shooter, right? -- so he may be on his way out. We'll see.
Is having Dwight Howard on your team as awesome as it appears? And how is his offensive game developing?
As far as Dwight is concerned? Dude, you have no idea how lucky I feel. Or maybe you do, since you have the PGA Tour or whatever you want to call them. But what makes Dwight so exciting is that he isn't, like, half the player he's going to end up being. Just last night, he broke Shaq's record as the youngest player to ever record 3000 rebounds. He's not as gifted offensively as Shaq was at that age, but he's also a completely different type of player. As Steve Weinman pointed out when explaining why he prefers Dwight to LeBron James, D-12 has low-post center skills, but the overall athleticism of someone much smaller.
His offense looks much better. Yes, he's still primarily a dunker, but that's because he gets more opportunities to do so than anyone else in the league. But when he doesn't get in dunking position, he's still able to score. He particularly likes to use his left hand to finish when he is defended well. He's also using the backboard more often than he used to. Patrick Ewing, now an Orlando assistant, is certainly helping in that regard. Dwight uncorked a few bank shots in the preseason, but hasn't attempted many, if at all, so far this season. Why should he? He's getting the ball within 7 feet of the basket with regularly. No need to face-up and shoot the J.