Position: Power forward
Who's the starter: Glen Davis
Why he's starting: Davis continues to recover from a fractured left foot he suffered midway through last season. Although he underwent surgery in early February, he required another surgery in July to receive a bone graft and have a larger screw inserted into the same foot. The Magic will bring Davis along in his rehabilitation slowly, and it could take weeks or a couple of months for him to play in a game, but he projects to be the starter once he's fully healthy.
Davis, 27, was having the best season of his career last season until his injury. He was healthy in the Magic's first 25 games, and the team started with a 12-13 record and ranked sixth in the NBA in defensive efficiency. Without him, however, the team struggled on defense. Davis is the Magic's best low-post defender. He's also their best screener on offense.
He's at his best on offense when he's driving to the hoop. He sometimes takes too many midrange jumpers.
Who are the backups: It's unclear when Davis will play in his first game of the season, but the Magic arguably are deeper at power forward than at any other position. Tobias Harris, 21, can play either forward position, and he averaged 17.3 points per game after the Magic acquired him from the Milwaukee Bucks in mid-February. Harris sometimes was overpowered at the power forward position, and he needs to concentrate on his defense.
The Magic have other options. Kyle O'Quinn, 23, provides size and rebounding. Andrew Nicholson, 23, is one of the Magic's most dangerous offensive players even though he doesn't have eye-popping athleticism. Nicholson was vulnerable at times defensively last season as a rookie. Jason Maxiell, 30, was signed over the summer to provide veteran leadership and toughness, especially on the defensive end.
Who has played this position first: After stints with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Washington Bullets, Terry Catledge came to the Magic in an expansion draft in 1989. Catledge wound up starting 72 games during Orlando's inaugural season, and he finished the season as the team's leading scorer, averaging 19.4 points per game on 47.4 percent shooting from the field. He also averaged 7.6 rebounds per game. Catledge remained with the team until it released him in Oct. 1993.
Who else has played this position: The Magic signed Horace Grant to a free-agent deal prior to the 1994-95 season, and Grant's rebounding and toughness helped Orlando reach the 1995 NBA Finals. Grant played a total of 411 regular-season games for the franchise, averaging 11.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game during his tenure.
Rashard Lewis was a natural small forward when the Magic signed him to a massive free-agent deal before the 2007-08 season, but the Magic played him at power forward in order to put more outside shooting on the court and allow Hedo Turkoglu to start at small forward. Lewis embraced his role, and his accuracy from beyond the arc fit perfectly into coach Stan Van Gundy's 4-out, 1-in offense. The team traded Lewis away during the 2010-11 season for guard Gilbert Arenas.
Ryan Anderson was the prime successor to Lewis, and Anderson was a weapon on offense from 3-point range. Anderson won the NBA's Most Improved Player award for the 2011-12 season. A few months later, the team sent him to the New Orleans Hornets in a sign-and-trade deal.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun