A Progress Report of "The Magic Show," Part I | Magic Basketball

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May 12

A Progress Report of “The Magic Show,” Part I

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

With the Orlando Magic halfway home to their goal of winning a championship, it seems more than appropriate to conduct a progress report on each player that has been in head coach Stan Van Gundy‘s 10-man rotation (excluding Ryan Anderson, due to lack of minutes) since the start of the 2010 NBA Playoffs. The reports will serve to track a player’s performance at the midway point of the postseason.

There will be no grades handed out, just comments attached.

Today, the reserves.
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Mickael Pietrus (24.8 minutes per game):

PER TS% eFG% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG%
11.9 .555 .540 7.4 4.7 1.6 1.4 10.5 18.0
17.7 .662 .657 5.3 7.9 1.6 1.8 7.5 18.9

Ah, “Planet Pietrus.” At this point, there’s no question that Pietrus lives for playoff basketball. For a second straight postseason, Pietrus has taken his game to another level on both ends of the court. Yes, Pietrus’ primary objective when he’s on the floor is to check the opposing team’s best wing player and he usually does a good job of doing it. However, his impact on offense is too great to ignore. Pietrus’ shooting percentages have been off the charts and the main reason has been because he, up to this point, is shooting an absurd 51.2% from the three-point line (21/41).

When the Magic need a big shot late in games, Pietrus hasn’t been afraid to step up in crunch time. Already in the playoffs, Orlando has benefitted from Pietrus’ marksmanship more than anything else. As such, there’s no question that when Pietrus is focused and prepared for the task at hand, he becomes a dynamic player and unquestionably the Magic’s sixth man extraordinaire coming off the bench. And given his track record last year, Pietrus is more than capable of maintaining his high level of play as the postseason continue to progress.

Marcin Gortat (16.4 minutes per game):

PER TS% eFG% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG%
13.9 .563 .533 18.1 2.4 0.8 4.8 15.0 13.0
16.1 .672 .650 17.2 6.2 0.9 1.2 8.0 9.6

Gortat’s energy has been up and down, at times, in the playoffs and he appears to be playing a tad below the level he was at last year but there’s no denying that he has served a valuable role for Orlando, especially in the first round against the Charlotte Bobcats when Dwight Howard was dealing with foul trouble in every game of the series. Gortat was able to step in, rebound, and defend when the Magic needed him to. Seems simple to do but then again, that’s why general manager Otis Smith matched Gortat’s offer sheet from the Dallas Mavericks. Smith invested in Gortat and the move has paid off for Orlando, so far.

Jason Williams (14.1 minutes per game):

PER TS% eFG% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG%
12.9 .555 .542 4.3 26.9 1.6 0.1 16.4 14.5
4.6 .352 .316 2.2 15.8 1.5 0.0 13.1 10.1

Williams has been really low-key in the postseason, when taking a look at his numbers compared to the regular season, but no one has been talking about his less-than-stellar performance because Jameer Nelson has been playing out of his mind. Because Nelson has been performing at an extremely high level, Williams’ lack of production offensively hasn’t been much of an issue. One theory that may explain why Williams has struggled on offense may be attributed to the pace of the games, which doesn’t allow him to play completely to his strengths.

Orlando isn’t a running team, given that they were 18th in pace (92.0 possessions per game) during the regular season, but they were more apt to play in the open-court when Williams was in the game. Unfortunately for Williams, the pace has slowed down dramatically for the Magic in the playoffs (85.6) and he’s been subjected to becoming strictly a half-court player. The slower style of play isn’t entirely out of Williams’ element but it does lessen his potential impact on the floor. Right now, it remains to be seen whether or not Williams will make his presence felt in the postseason.

J.J. Redick (14.0 minutes per game):

PER TS% eFG% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG%
15.0 .606 .540 5.0 13.9 0.8 0.2 8.8 18.3
9.0 .530 .500 6.2 13.4 1.0 0.0 16.3 19.1

It’s easy to look at Redick’s statistics and state that he’s been a non-factor in the playoffs. It’s partly true, actually. However, it’s nothing that Redick is necessarily doing wrong. Redick just hasn’t gotten a ton of minutes on the floor. Part of that has been due to unfavorable matchups on defense, even though Redick isn’t much of a liability on that end of the court, but another factor is the fact that Van Gundy has upped the ante on Vince Carter’s minutes. When Redick has had ample playing time to make a meaningful impact in a game, he’s been able to do that without too much trouble. Even though Redick hasn’t done much in the postseason, it isn’t for a lack of effort or trying. That much is certain.

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Tomorrow, the starters.

12 comments
magicfaninTN
magicfaninTN

I know SVG is just trying to win games, but a nice side-effect of JJ's lower minutes is that it may keep his RFA price lower in the offseason. Which means it would be easier to keep him. In that regard, I only want him having a breakout post-season if it is necessary for winning the championship.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Mikeyho

No fear. Yeah, that's how I'd describe Pietrus' mentality.

If the Magic win it all, not sure where I'd place them among teams all-time. That's looking too far down the road, anyway.

@derek, @jax502

I wouldn't be surprised if Bass saw more minutes in the Eastern Conference Finals. But then again, if the Magic face the Celtics, I think Van Gundy sticks with Anderson. Orlando is going to need all the offense it can get against Boston and Anderson provides more punch offensively than Bass.

Don't be surprised if the Magic used Gortat/Howard in unison with each other if they face the Celtics, though. They had some success together in the fourth quarter when Lewis made a game-winning shot against Boston a few months ago.

@BigMike21

Yeah, Williams' numbers have been poor. I have to think it's attributed to the pace of play. That's the only logical explanation I can think of.

@Will

I wouldn't be too worried about the Magic's depth at center. I think Howard has gotten most of the ticky-tack fouls out of his system and as @Billy (slickw143) pointed out, he's showing discretion and playing smarter when he has fouls.

derekk
derekk

I would never trade Gortat. I'd rather quickly trade Bass this summer and promise Gortat more relief minutes than ever before and more twin towers. We need him for most of the other elite teams, Boston, La, Cleveland.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

If we play the Cavs, then yeah, Bass would be the 3rd center if it came to that. He can fill that role, especially if the opposing center is Varejao or Perkins or Wallace (Shaq would command a double from him though). Dwight played remarkably smarter in the ATL series, even letting a few shots go by, showing **gasp** discretion. If that continues, I don't think we'll have to worry considerably about foul trouble, unless Pierce or LeBron turn into D-Wade circa 2006 and Bennett Salvatore calls every game of the ECF.

Will
Will

@jax502: Anderson took some interesting shots in some of the games but I loved his tenacity on the offensive boards. Plus, he attacks the rim a lot. He provided a lot of energy off the bench even if it didn't translate into recordable stats. I approved of his effort immensely though I do perfer Bass at times.

@everyone else: I'm a little worried about our depth at center. Let's say we play the Cavs in the next round. If Dwight gets in foul trouble then Gortat comes in. I love Gortat but if HE gets in foul trouble. . .do we have Bass play an undersized center? Does Foyal come in? Though the Celtics are plain embarrassing the Cavs right now, if they showed anything it's that they can get the entire Celtics line-up in foul trouble and they have, like, 5 centers.

Also: Air France was on Jim Rome today (radio) so look for the podcast AND Jameer will be on tomorrow. Guys. . .this team is seriously focused. I've listened to about seven different radio interviews from three or four different players and they are all on the same level.

jax502
jax502

Hopefully J-Will will play great in the next round. I was kind of disappointed with Ryan Anderson's playoff performance though. I guess I expected too much from him this Playoffs. If I can remember he had one good game but that was about it. He seemed a little bit nervous at times, but that's understandable since this is just his second year. I also want to see Bass get some playing time.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@Billy (slickw143)

Yeah, due to lack of minutes. Forgot to add that to the write-up. Thanks for reminding me.

BigMike21
BigMike21

Man, Jason Williams' numbers are gross. Thank God that Jameer is playing so awesome as you wrote.

Billy (slickw143)
Billy (slickw143)

Nice write-up, Eddy. However, I wonder why you left Ryan out of it? Is it due to his lack of minutes, even compared to the other guys off the bench?

derek
derek

j.j. reddick will see more time in the next round so im not worried bout him and pietrus has been amazing. i wanna see bass play more next round wether we face celtics or cavs.

Mikeyho
Mikeyho

How many records is Orlando going to break this year? If they win it all, where should they rank compared to some of the best teams? What if they crush the Celtics or Cavs?.. it's not probable, obviously, but you'd have to assume at this point that it might be possible.

Mikeyho
Mikeyho

Peaches is cooking a sandwich and everyone else is eating it! I meant... what?

I was frustrated with him in the regular season but have since had to realize that Pietrus is silly amazing. He has no fear of defenders and must have no fear of Stan's rage cause he's making some superstar 3s.

He's the wild card we need cause if he's not hot we can just yank him for a more consistent Matt Barnes.