Thursday's Magic Word | Magic Basketball



Oct 14

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel: “An arena isn’t the only magnificent structure recently completed on the [Orlando] Magic‘s campus. As difficult a project as it was, from start to finish, the shiny new place comes in second to what has been built inside its walls. Under construction for years, Otis Smith made the declaration on Wednesday. […] Smith’s work is done. Well, at least the hardest part, the part many general managers never manage to pull off, much less get right. Here we have the unveiling of a winning atmosphere, the Magic way of doing things, a culture that can breed championships. How to work, how to play. I know what Magic fans are probably thinking: OK, Otis, show us the title! And you know what? Otis wholeheartedly agrees. […] What’s the big deal about the environment? Only everything. It’s the difference between the Yankees and Mets, Patriots and Raiders, Celtics and Clippers, Charlie Sheen and Charlie’s Angels. Players come and go — and the clueless ones should go first in your long-range blueprints. Winning cultures endure, from the telegraph to Twitter. And that’s what Smith feels he has at long last accomplished in HIS building. For this one, there was no speech from the mayor. No ribbon-cutting ceremony. No grand announcement. That’s not Smith. What he built he built largely away from the glow, in silence, in no-nonsense nuance, in moves great and small.”
  • The Orlando Magic have been working on their zone defense lately.
  • Head coach Stan Van Gundy on Stanley Robinson: “His attitude’s great. His attitude’s exactly what you want. He comes in, he works hard, keeps his mouth shut and his ears open. He really tries to learn both from coaches and the other players. He never makes an excuse. He’s really, really working at it. And then I see a guy who really understands this game. He does the things he can do, he’s a great cutter, he gets on the offensive glass, he runs, he’s working hard defensively, he’ll take his shots but he’s never forcing the issue; he’s just got a great understanding of what his game is.”
  • Dwight Howard got more serious because he “got older.”
  • John Denton of Orlando “Once a light-hearted group that enjoyed the ‘Magic Show’ pregame routine and usually had as many laughs as dribbles during practice, the Magic have taken on a serious tone so far in an effort to maximize their potential. Co-captains Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson have made the biggest changes, attacking each day with business-like attitudes. And the tone has just filtered down from there to a point now where Van Gundy can’t help but rave about the focus of this Magic squad.”
  • For what it’s worth, Denton predicts the Magic will win 65 games this season.
  • According to Shaquille O’Neal, Howard is one of two “real” centers left in the NBA.
  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus introduces WARP2: “The bigger question is where WARP has room for improvement. Here, we focused on the differences between how WARP and adjusted plus-minus rated each player on offense and defense. For example, Kobe Bryant’s adjusted offensive plus-minus in 2007-08 was +10.4 points per 100 possessions. His Offensive Rating was +6.4 points per 100 possessions compared to league average. Thus, adjusted plus-minus rated Bryant as 4.0 points better on offense. Are there shared traits among players who are overrated or underrated by WARP? For the most part, these correlations are close to zero, indicating that WARP is properly valuing each statistic. The most notable differences share a common theme–three-point shooting. The correlations indicate that players with higher three-point percentages and especially three-attempt percentages tend to rate better by adjusted plus-minus than by WARP. Essentially, there appears to be a value to spacing the floor that is not captured by the individual statistics of three-point shooters.”
  • Pelton’s adjustment of WARP rewards three-point shooters that were undervalued before. As such, Rashard Lewis and Quentin Richardson see their value increase.
  • Vince Carter is “Bad” … no, really.