Duhon Beginning To Fit In
For years, Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith and the Magic brass have coveted former Duke Point Guard Chris Duhon. When the Magic signed the point guard to a 4-year contract worth around $15million, fans probably expected immediate results from the six-year veteran.
It hasn’t been that easy.
Duhon has struggled to fit in with his new team early in the season; trying to find his role as the backup point guard.
Through 15 games, he’s averaging just 2.8 points and 3.4 assists per game.
At one point, with Jameer Nelson out with an injury, he even lost minutes to Jason Williams down the stretch because of ineffective play from Duhon with the first unit.
After spending his first six seasons in Chicago and New York, Duhon is happy to be part of a championship caliber team but knows he hasn’t played nearly as well as he is capable of.
“I’ve been a little passive, because you know, I’m trying to fit in,” Duhon said. “You’re the new guy and a lot of these guys have been here for awhile.”
Duhon is new to the team so there was undoubtedly going to be an adjustment period. Since a majority of Orlando’s players from last year’s team returned, it’s up to Duhon to find his role with the Magic and mold himself to fit into their system. Sure, the team is going to make adjustments to help speed the process along and make Duhon feel comfortable but ultimately, it’s on Duhon.
Duhon knows this and luckily for him, he and the team seem to agree on the solution to his early problems.
“Each day, coaches and players are telling me to be more aggressive and just be who I am,” Duhon explained.
With Stan Van Gundy always stressing the importance of ball movement and getting good looks, Duhon’s increased aggressiveness is already paying off. He had 8 points and 9 assists in a 111-110 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night.
“As the season continues to go on, I’m going to be more aggressive on the offensive end,” Duhon said. “I think that’ll open things up for us. I’m going to take my shots when I’m there, more penetrating to the basket, more looking to score first against teams that are playing me to pass first.”
Redick’s Shooting Slump Is Over
In each of his first four NBA seasons, shooting guard J.J. Redick has improved. He scored a career-high 9.6 points per game and shot a career-best 40.5% from beyond the arc during the 2009-10 season. Redick was rewarded by the Chicago Bulls with an offer sheet worth $19 million over 3 years. The Orlando Magic appreciated all of Redick’s hard work and decided to match the offer, bringing him back as the backup to veteran Vince Carter.
With a new contract in hand, the Magic expected even more improvement from the former Duke superstar.
Redick got off to a slow start, failing to shoot over 40.0% from the field in each of Orlando’s first 10 games. After Carter went down with a sprained knee during Orlando’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Redick was forced into the starting lineup and he’s responded very well, scoring 20, 15, and 8 points (14.3 per game) on 46.2% shooting from the field while shooting 7-of-15 from downtown (46.7%).
Maybe Redick’s extended minutes got him into a rhythm he wasn’t in before but Redick insists that nothing has changed.
“I think it’s just that way for shooters,” Redick explained. “I’m not doing anything different, quite frankly I wasn’t doing anything different during that 10-game stretch where I couldn’t buy a bucket.”
Redick offered a simple explanation for his shooting woes.
“Sometimes, it just happens that way,” Redick said.
With Carter’s injury lingering, the Magic are certainly glad Redick has found his stroke.
News & Notes
- Vince Carter expects to return to action when the Orlando Magic host the Detroit Pistons Tuesday night. Carter has missed the last three games with a sprained knee. The 12 year veteran is averaging 13.9 points per game on 48.9% shooting and is shooting 42.2% from beyond the arc.
- Dwight Howard was named the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season Monday. Howard averaged 26.3 points per game on 63.2% shooting and grabbed 14.5 rebounds per game while leading the Magic to a 3-1 record. It was the 13th time Howard has received the honor in his career.
- After early struggles, Forward Rashard Lewis appears to be finding his stroke. Over his last six games, Lewis is shooting 51.6% from the field and 54.1% from beyond the arc. He’s averaging 14.2 points per game over the span, upping his season average to 11.8 ppg. Lewis has averaged 16.6 ppg over the course of his career.