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10. Orlando Magic
Eastern Conference MORE magic
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Enemy Lines:
Lewis has averaged at least 20 points a game for the last three years.
Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP
Fast Fact
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Artis Gilmore and Kevin McHale are the only players to have shot as often as Dwight Howard did in 2006-07 (873 attempts) and have a better percentage than his 60.3%.
Telling Numbers
Record: 40-42 (8th in East)
Points scored: 94.8 (27th in NBA)
Points allowed: 94.0 (7th)
Coach: Stan Van Gundy (first season with Magic)

It's what's up front -- a high-scoring vet joining a young All-Star -- that counts

Rashard Lewis spent his first nine NBA seasons in Seattle, where he was overshadowed by Gary Payton and then Ray Allen. "Even though I was an All-Star [in '05], a lot of NBA fans don't really know who I am," Lewis says. He won't have that problem anymore. After signing a six-year, $118 million contract with the Magic in July, the 6'?10" forward has moved to center stage. Orlando is expecting Lewis to play like an All-Star again and, along with 6' 11" center Dwight Howard, lead the team to its second straight playoff appearance.

That's a tall order for a team with an unproven backcourt (which consists of inconsistent point guard Jameer Nelson and second-year guard J.J. Redick) and little depth up front, but Lewis gives the Magic a fighting chance. The sweet-shooting big man has averaged more than 20 points per game for three straight seasons, including a career-best 22.4 a year ago. Lewis's ability to shoot the three (38.6% for his career) should mesh well with Howard's physical inside game and enable new coach Stan Van Gundy to follow through on his plan to run an up-tempo attack.

The loss of power forward Tony Battie to season-ending rotator cuff surgery means the slender Lewis will have to battle bulkier power forwards on many nights. He also must be a vocal leader -- something he did not have to do as a SuperSonic. But Lewis, a former second-round pick who made the jump to the NBA from high school, says he's looking forward to the challenge.

"I'm not a guy with a big ego," he says. "Whether I'm the Number 1 option or Dwight is, we're in it together and with all the other guys wearing Orlando jerseys. But I do want to win, and I want to be considered one of the best players in the league. I've had to prove myself my whole career. This is no different." -- Marty Burns

Issue date: October 29, 2007

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