In this morning’s Orlando Sentinel, columnist George Diaz expressed a sentiment I know a lot of Orlando Magic fans share: the team is fatally flawed against teams like the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, which can single-cover Dwight Howard in the low post with a minimum of fuss. [...]
What the Magic do have is [Vince] Carter, who was coming off a season in which he averaged 20.8 points, 5.1 boards, and 4.7 assists–All-Star-caliber production, to be honest–when they acquired him in 2009. And, rather significantly, he got a plurality of his offense that year in isolation–that is, in one-on-one–situations, at 21.3 percent. But that season, with the New Jersey Nets, may indeed represent his final campaign of such sustained productivity. To call Carter’s first campaign with Orlando “uneven” is to be charitable, although he at least impressed me with his performance from February to April. And, when called upon, he did show flashes of his former self in getting big baskets at key junctures, even outside that timeframe. [...]
Carter played 13 games last season against the Celtics, Lakers, Charlotte Bobcats, and Milwaukee Bucks, who, along with the Magic, ranked in the top five in Defensive Efficiency last year. Against those teams, Carter averaged 19.5 points per game on a reasonably efficient–given the competition–54.3 percent True Shooting mark, crossing the 20-point barrier 8 times. Further, he was roughly as aggressive in those games as he was on the year, earning 0.294 free-throw attempts per field-goal attempt against the defensive elite, versus a 0.301 ratio overall. I know the playoffs left most everyone with a sour opinion of Carter, but it’s hard to refute the idea that he didn’t bring it against tough competition last year.
Good stuff in response to Diaz’s article. Worth the read.