- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: It’s hard to draw any conclusions about how they’ll play together from such a small sample size. My impression, based on their overall performance last season, is that [Brandon] Bass‘ best skill is scoring. 5.8 points in only 13.0 minutes per game last year, on a career-best 51.1% shooting. That’s not bad for a guy still learning the playbook in the playoffs, I suppose. His asset is his mid-range jumper, typically the least efficient shot in basketball. Synergy Sports Technology shows, however, Bass connected on half of his 56 jumpers from within 17 feet of the basket last year, which ties him for 9th in the league among the 141 players who attempted at least 50 shots from that distance. Hyper-specific stat, I know, but again: that’s Bass’ biggest asset. Even when he posts up, he’s more likely to turn, face, and shoot the jumper than he is to try a hook or drive for a layup. And in 92 post-ups last year, he passed the ball 8 times, so you know he’s not likely to give the ball back once he gets it. And [Rashard] Lewis? He can score too. [Stan] Van Gundy‘s been known to run post-ups for him to get his offense going, particularly in third quarters if Lewis didn’t get many touches in the first half of a given game. He’s effective down there because, at 6’10″, there aren’t many small forwards who can handle his size. That’s Lewis’ utility as a combo forward: put him on the perimeter at power forward, and opposing fours can’t keep up with him. Put him in the post, and opposing threes can’t muscle him. For the first three years of his deal, the Magic have heavily leaned on the former strategy. Maybe it’s time to try the latter a bit more. And that’s why, to a degree, you like this news: the Magic aren’t getting complacent. They are looking to make some changes. Not drastic ones–note [Bob] Vander Weide saying “we love [Lewis] at the four the majority of the time”–but changes nonetheless.
- The rise and fall of Jason Williams.
- Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk ranks the Orlando Magic third in his off-season power rankings: “They didn’t do much this off-season, other than be involved in Chris Paul rumors. Oh, and they got Chris Duhon, let us never forget that. But as much as they get overlooked, the Magic did not have to do much. This team has been to the NBA finals and the Eastern Conference finals the last two years. They kept J.J. Redick and you’ll see more of him and less of Vince Carter. They will stick with their system of Dwight Howard and guys who can shoot the three, because it works. Jameer Nelson is still good and will have a chip on his shoulder. They still play defense. Overlook Orlando at your own peril, they are contenders.”
- Royce Young of CBSSports.com: “An article from the Times-Picayune says after hearing Demps’ plan for retooling the roster, Paul is “on board with the team’s direction and will not seek to force a trade.” The Times-Picayune story says the Hornets won’t listen to any offers for Paul. Also mentioned is this quote: “Chris never said anything about a trade, ” a source close to Paul said. “All he said is that he wants to win. He does so much in the community. He hasn’t built those courts around (town) for nothing. Of course, he wants to be here.” Which I find odd because Paul publicly said he’d be open to a trade if the right situation presented itself. This sounds like positive spin from Paul’s camp so in order to not come out looking like a bad guy. Not everyone wants to walk down the road LeBron did just to get a shot at winning. Besides, there have been multiple reports saying CP3 would like to be traded to a contender. Multiple high-profile, plugged-in insiders have reported the same thing. There’s definitely some smoke here. And this report from the Times-Picayune might just be an effort to put out some of the fire.”
- Basketball-Reference has player photos now!