Huntington natives O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker were both selected in the June 26 NBA Draft, but…
Magic Get Defensive
"In the Eastern Conference you had better be able to defend that position. We think he can really help us do that. And he can shoot the 3," said Smith.
Last season, Orlando lacked a player who had the aptitude and talent to hang with premier guards such as Kobe Bryant, and that weakness was exposed in the postseason when Rip Hamilton of the Detroit Pistons scorched Orlando.
With great length, athleticism and solid shooting (35% career three-point shooter), Pietrus is exactly what Orlando needed. Guards Maurice Evans and Keith Bogans were both solid defenders, but lacked top athletic ability, while J.J. Redick and rookie Courtney Lee are not known for their defensive prowess, but are consistent shooters. While Pietrus isn't regarded as an elite perimeter shooter, he certainly can nail an open three, which is critical in Stan Van Gundy's system.
Because Pietrus fills such a huge void, he will likely be Orlando's starter on opening day, and that will send a ripple affect down the team. First, Keyon Dooling may no longer be in Orlando's plans, as he served a combo guard, and the move might also push Hedo Turkoglu to the bench, although he will still log major minutes.
Orlando still has the Veterans Exception to add another player, who will most likely be a point guard. The main targets for Orlando include Jason Williams, formerly of the Miami Heat, Anthony Carter of Denver, or journeyman Anthony Johnson.
Magic fans had complained about Otis Smith's lack of aggressiveness and his blatant admiration of prospects, but inking Pietrus should calm the nerves of many fans.
Look for Pietrus to bring not only a defensive presence to Orlando, but some additional energy and intensity. His presence will give the team depth during the regular season, but Pietrus' defensive tenacity will be most vital for the Magic in the playoffs.
MagicIllustrated.com Recommended Stories
Week 8: Super Sleepers
Every week, Fantasy Football Expert Jeb Gorham digs in his list of rankings to find the best sleepers for deeper formats. Consider giving these players a chance, but be aware of the risk! Tampa Bay…Read More
Watch: Sailfish Goes Psycho!
Check out this classic video of Dan Larson battling an acrobatic sailfish on a trip to the world-famous Tropic Star Lodge in Panama.Read More
BOMBS AWAY: ISIS BEFORE AND AFTER AIRSTRIKE
Photographer Bulent Kilic captured these amazing images of ISIS members who were on the very wrong end of an allied bombing in Turkey.Read More
TBT: Pumpkin Carving With A Handgun
While many hunters are focused on pursuing big game in late October, it’s also time to make sure you’re ready for Halloween, and specifically trick-or-treaters. In this throwback Thursday video,…Read More
Sullivan weighs seriousness of concussions
John Sullivan has suffered five concussions in his seven-year career, but he doesn’t believe his future is “in doubt.” He weighs the severity of the concussions against the number of them.Read More