As every day passes, it looks less and less likely that Hedo Turkoglu will ever play for the Orlando Magic again. In a previous blog, the thought of the Magic acquiring Brandon Bass and how he would be a very good fit with Orlando Magic was discussed. This would be a great pickup for the Magic and he would indeed be a very good fit, but I’m not sure that he would be the best fit. In fact, the best fit for the Magic could be a player who has been a thorn in the side of Magic – Detroit Pistons PF/C Rasheed Wallace. On draft night, David Aldridge of NBA TV reported that Sheed wanted to decide between the Orlando Magic and the San Antonio Spurs. Now several outlets including Wicked Good Sports, are reporting that both Boston and Rasheed Wallace are interested in each other. The Cleveland Cavaliers are also apparently on Rasheed’s radar. He is apparently good friends with Kevin Garnett and would like to play with the 2007-08 NBA champions. The Celtics are arguably the favorite to win the title again this year. The three Rasheed Wallace suitors are three of the five best teams in the league. In Boston, Sheed would probably not be a starter. Orlando could offer Sheed a starting job.
Wallace’s numbers were down last year – he averaged 12 PPG and 7.4 RPG while playing in 32.2 MPG. He appeared in 66 games and was virtually non-existent as the Pistons were swept out of the first round by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. With that being said, in all of his other postseason appearances, with both Portland and Detroit, Wallace has performed very well. This year his team was extremely overmatched losing to a team that won 66 games last season. For Wallace’s career, he has averaged 15 PPG, 6.9 RPG and 1.3 BPG. Throughout his career, Wallace has always been an outstanding interior defender. With Wallace and Dwight Howard, the paint would be locked down. When Howard was in foul trouble in the 2009 postseason, teams had no problem getting into the paint and scoring or kicking out for open shots. Wallace would prevent this from happening. He would be able to be matched up with players like Pau Gasol, who burned the Magic last season, and Kevin Garnett, who is returning from injury, and has always been a thorn in the Magic’s side. He could also keep Dwight Howard out of foul trouble against the Cleveland Cavaliers by covering their new Center, Shaquille O’Neal. He could also match up with Tim Duncan in a potential Finals matchup with the San Antonio Spurs.
The Magic showed a lot of mental toughness during last season’s postseason but many critics still wonder if the Magic lack enough toughness to actually win an NBA Championship. Rasheed would fix that. He never backs down and has a type of swagger that the Magic seem to lack at times. Rasheed would become the starting PF, allowing Rashard Lewis, the Magic’s 18 million dollar man, to move back to his natural position of SF. This would give the Magic maybe the biggest, toughest front court in the NBA. They’d have a chance to lead the league in both rebounding and shot blocking, rather than just having Dwight do all the work. Besides that, Wallace has always defended Dwight Howard better than anyone else and keeping him away from the other two Eastern Conference contenders, Boston and Cleveland, would be good news for Superman. Rasheed is not only a pretty good scorer in the paint, but he has a nice stroke from downtown. Rasheed can hit the three, which, even without Turk, would still allow the Magic to have four threats from three point range surrounding Dwight Howard. He could also make players like Gasol and Garnett step away from the basket to guard Sheed, allowing for penetration by Jameer Nelson.
Of course there are some drawbacks. Rasheed Wallace is 34 years old, had a poor postseason and one of his worst regular seasons in a while. There are some reasons that Sheed may have not performed up to his usual standard. The trade of Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson really hurt the whole team. Not only did they lose their floor leader, but then, Iverson was injured for a good portion of the season. The Magic, on the other hand, are just getting their floor leader back as All Star PG Jameer Nelson returned from a midseason injury in the NBA Finals. Rasheed also played Center during the last two seasons while in Orlando he would move back to his natural position of PF. Rasheed also has mental lapses and a big mouth which is why he usually leads the league in technical fouls. He can really get a team into trouble, but also, his antics have many times sparked his Pistons teams. All in all, Rasheed Wallace seems like he would be another fantastic acquisition and a perfect fit with the Magic. Newly acquired SG Vince Carter should get his fellow UNC alumni on the phone.