That got out of hand, fast.
The Orlando Magic completely turned around their rotation today with the addition of Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas (sorry Earl Clark). But on a team with this many options, how are these rotations going to work out? Let's take a look. First, where are they at with each position? There's no way of knowing how SVG will formulate his starting lineup, so they're considered liquid.
Point guardStarter: Jameer Nelson
Reserves: Gilbert Arenas (combo-guard), Chris Duhon, J.J. Redick (in a pinch, combo-guard), Jason Williams
Nelson has played at a near All-Star level the past three seasons. With Carter off the grid, Nelson could benefit. Arenas can play shooting guard, but in reality, he plays with the ball in his hands. He deferred to John Wall in Washington, but it didn't work well. As a back-up point guard, he's going to dramatically improve the Magic's scoring potential in the bench unit.
Shooting guardStarter: Jason Richardson/Gilbert Arenas/Quentin Richardson
Reserves: Jason Richardson/Gilbert Arenas/Quentin Richardson, J.J. Redick
Redick may be a trade asset now. J-Rich can play the three, but he's really a shooting guard. Arenas can play the two, but is really a point guard. Quentin Richardson is just a wing. Redick provides great insurance for the two-spot, but that's a pricy policy.
Small forwardStarter: Jason Richardson/Hedo Turkoglu/Quentin Richardson
Reserves: Jason Richardson, Quentin Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu
Hedo can play the four, but he'll likely spend some time at small forward. Quentin Richardson may actually wind up the starter here with J-Rich at the shooting guard and Brandon Bass or Turkoglu at the four. The Magic are pretty short at the three after this move, with Pietrus gone.
Power forwardStarter: Brandon Bass/Hedo Turkoglu
Reserves: Brandon Bass/Hedo Turkoglu, Ryan Anderson, Malik Allen
Anderson hasn't been as good as he needed to be this season to make a leap, while Bass has been better than expected. It's hard to see Turkoglu taking Bass' place, but given his familarity with the offense, it's conceivable. Meanwhile, Malik Allen has another duty....
CenterStarter: Dwight Howard
Reserves: Malik Allen, Daniel Orton
That's it. That's all they've got to back up Howard. Which means when Howard sits or gets in foul trouble, the Magic will have to go small. This could wind up as a good thing in the end.
LineupsNelson - Richardson - Richardson - Bass - Howard
If we're talking the actual best players available, this has to be it. Quentin Richardson is no star, but he doesn't have to be with the firepower the Magic now pack. It's a more traditional lineup with Bass at power forward, but with Nelson as the primary creator and Richardson geared as the finishing point, it could work.
A reserve unit could look like this:
Arenas - Redick - Turkoglu - Anderson - Bass
It's a strange big-small combo with Turkoglu at the three, but it could work with Arenas as the primary creator and shooters stocking the floor. Unfortunately, they'll get rebounded into oblivion.
Another starting unit option for SVG:
Nelson - Arenas - J. Richardson - Turkoglu - Howard
Arenas as a shooting guard is problematic, but it may be a dual combo-guard set up with Nelson and Arenas both working with the ball. I've never been sold on Turkoglu as a power forward, but he did play minutes in Orlando before. This lineup likely has the best scoring potential, and has Turkoglu as the fourth scoring option. Which is probably for the best.
The lesson here is that SVG has the same depth he had before, but now his frontcourt gets considerably smaller and more shallow. To put it simply: Howard has to stay out of foul trouble.
If Arenas can create and score to his potential and if Turkoglu regains his magic (sorry for the pun) under Van Gundy, Orlando could take a step forward -- that is, back to elite status in the East. Does that make the Magic better than Boston or Miami?
That's a whole other question.