The proverbial dust has settled in the most sensational off season NBA trade in recent memory, we can now being to talk about the effects this has on Canada's latest League imports: Andrew Nicholson and Robert Sacre. Can Ball Ray does an early look at what Dwight Howard means to each player right now ...
After the dust has settled in both Orlando and Los Angeles from the blockbuster Dwight Howard trade that effectively turned the Lakers into a Western super power and the Magic into something of a third world nation, we can now talk a little bit about the Canadians most affected by this trade directly: Andrew Nicholson and Robert Sacre.
Now if you take a look at both teams prior to the shifting of the personnel both Sacre and Nicholson were in about the same boat. They would likely play sparingly if they were on the roster but likely were to see some significant time in the D-League.
That has changed.
Looking at the two rosters now, it seems that Nicholson may have benefited the most from the move and Sacre received the butt end of the deal, though not by much.
For the Magic, they have a pretty full frontcourt with Glen Davis, Al Harrington, Josh McRoberts, Gustavo Ayon and Nicola Vucevic. That doesn't include Andrew's fellow rookies Kyle O'Quinn and Moe Harkless. That totals eight players. We can expect that Big Baby, Harrington, Ayon and Vucevic are going to be the big minute players with McRoberts getting spot duty depending on the situation. That leaves little floor time for the rookies.
But in all honesty, this Magic team has the possibility to be very of being on the floor because the team is going to be reeling from the Howard trade.
Davis, Ayon and Vucevic will vie for the center minutes while Harrington and McRoberts will split the bulk of the power forward time. Davis will occasionally dip into the four spots minutes I would imagine and McRoberts will play the five also as needed. Assuming that everyone stays healthy, Nicholson could get in for about 10 minutes a game to start the season with the potential to increase with Big Al pushing mid-30s now and Davis having had injury issues recently. Plus the added bonus of learning from Harrington and McRoberts is a great situation.
If we look at Sacre's situation in La-La, he may have a tougher boat.
The Lakers bringing in Dwight Howard definitely anchors him at the five hole allowing Pau Gasol to move to the four when they are both on the floor. Gasol can then move around on the perimeter more and move to the post when Howard is on the bench. Great for the Lakeshow, bad for Sacre.
If we see this platooning situation by both Howard and Pau then that leaves Sacre and another center, Jordan Hill, on the bench. Hill will be in his third season in the NBA and though he can be seen as a Lottery bust to his point, he still has three years experience up on Sacre in the League and in a limited role could actually flourish. That could leave Robbie out in the cold and likely on the bench of the Lakers' D-League affiliate.
Where as Nicholson's Magic have an lack of talent which could slide him into playing time as the season goes, Sacre's Lakers have an embarrassment of riches so to speak at his position which could very well freeze him out of the opening day roster.
I think that if the Lakers kept Andrew Bynum, and McRoberts I suppose, the situation for Sacre would actually have been a little brighter. Since Bynum's knees have been suspect the last couple of seasons, he's likely good for at least 10 to 15 games in the injured list and a few after that to get reintroduced into the lineup. That would have meant more available playing time for Sacre at his position thus a greater possibility of him playing. McRoberts would have gotten a few minutes here and there but with Sacre being a real big bodied banger who defends well I think McRoberts' impact on his playing time would be minuscule at best.
Of course, with the NBA season still a few months away these situations could very well change. The roles could be reversed and Nicholson ends up in the D-League for the majority of the season and Sacre is playing 10 minutes a game. Who knows.
As it stands right now though, between the two Canucks most affected by the the drama of the Dwight , Sacre could be the one most wishing that Howard stayed in Orlando.