Although the team has not always executed — the Orlando Magic rank 27th in offensive efficiency — the system that rookie head coach Jacque Vaughn has put into place is exciting as a concept.
He’s used a ton of off-ball movement all season. The primary shooter in those sets was J.J. Redick, but as we all know, he’s in Milwaukee now and Vaughn has had to adapt. He’s plugged Arron Afflalo into a particularly effective action Orlando has been running like gangbusters post-trade deadline.
Things begin in a little bit of a “Horns” look, with two high post big men, but almost immediately Tobias Harris moves towards the corner and Al Harrington comes up from the elbow for a screen-and-roll with Jammer Nelson. This is a faux-action, executed only to occupy the defense and get Nelson moving towards the middle.
Another effect of the initial pick-and-roll is to get the Magic’s lone true big man (though it may even be a stretch to call Al Harrington a true big man) out of the paint. Look how much space there is in the middle of the floor.
Harris and Maurice Harkless criss-cross each other on cuts, with Harkless continuing on a curl to the middle while Harris is stopping and lurking on the baseline.
All the space left open in the middle of the floor is now Harkless’ to exploit and the Sixers don’t want to let him do that. Harris’ man (head circled) is keeping his eye on Harkless and shifts over just a half step.
Meanwhile, Afflalo begins to accelerate towards a stealthily-set Harris screen. He comes around it and pops to the corner — the man with the responsibility of helping on him is a step behind because of the Harkless cut. If his man can get around the screen, Afflalo can just use his defender’s momentum against him and curl into the middle. Here’s a couple examples of the play in real time:
This offense will become more and more potent as players develop. The biggest thing is that a system and process are in place, and if Orlando can keep them consistent, they’ll succeed in due time.