We got the terrible new yesterday that Dwight Howard will miss the rest of the season, Playoffs and the Summer Olympics as he undergoes surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back. Our Magic blog Orlando Pinstriped Post is opting to look ahead instead of behind. They feel like with Dwight Howard out of the lineup, it means Jameer Nelson will be the most important member of the starting lineup.
As a point guard, Nelson may not be the most obvious candidate to step up in the All-Star center's absence, but the reasons why become fairly clear upon further consideration. Howard shoulders enormous responsibility for Orlando's offense, as he leads the team with 20.6 points per game, but the Magic simply cannot get those 20.6 points the same way they would if he were healthy, namely by posting up. Indeed, Orlando has hardly posted up in his absence, and even went one game running one post-up in 103 overall plays.
Nelson is now the most experienced member of the starting lineup, and he is also the lone team captain now that Howard is off the court. If the Magic are to have any success in the Playoffs, it will likely be up to Jameer Nelson to carry the offensive load.