Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
With the season over for the Orlando Magic, it’s time to hand out team awards. We asked our panel to hand in their picks for the 2013-14 season.
1. Who’s the 2013-14 most valuable player?
Ryan Drawdy: Arron Afflalo. He may not factor into the future plans of the organization, but if we’re zooming in on this year alone, there’s no other answer. Afflalo gave the team an offensive punch it hardly possessed otherwise. The only other option here would be Vucevic, but he played in 16 less games and wasn’t as consistent a threat to defenses.
Jacob Frankel: Arron Afflalo. Nikola Vucevic has been close in quality of play, especially with Afflalo’s late season lull, but just hasn’t played enough games to be in contention for the Magic MVP.
Spencer Lund: Arron Afflalo. He shot over 42 percent from beyond the arc, and while his performance on a game-by-game level dropped significantly in March and April, he was the biggest reason other Magic players got open looks offensively. His shooting had to be respected, but that tapered off at the end (like the Magic) and his defense is overrated at this point.
Andrew Lynch: Arron Afflalo. Value was hard to come by for the Magic this year, but Spell Check managed to give the people a show. He garnered legitimate All-Star consideration, which is not an easy task for a team on its way to a top-three pick.
Tim Sartori: Arron Afflalo. Afflalo was huge for the Magic this season, particularly through the first half — prior to the All-Star break, he averaged 19.4/4.1/3.7 on excellent shooting percentages. He slowed down a bit in the second half of the season, but he was still without a doubt the Magic’s best player.
2. Who’s the 2013-14 sophomore of the year?
Drawdy: Kyle O’Quinn. If only because his main competition, Andrew Nicholson, took steps backward. O’Quinn was a spark of energy and a much needed defensive help.
Frankel: Kyle O’Quinn. O’Quinn’s emergence has been one of the biggest storylines of this tanking Magic season. His passing is sublime, he has soft touch around the rim, and he’s a vicious shot-blocker. His versatility is especially useful too, as he can play both big positions.
Lund: Kyle O’Quinn. But only if I’m forced to between him and Maurice Harkless. He might have been their best defender this year and Moe’s 11.8 PER is hard to ignore (though his improved 3-point shooting is the reason he had an argument). He was the only rotation player with a positive net rating on the whole team!
Lynch: Kyle O’Quinn. Orlando’s sophomore class disappointed to some extent, with Maurice Harkless unable to take any significant steps forward in his development and Andrew Nicholson coming back to earth after a fun opening week to the season. O’Quinn wins as much for his beard as for his steady play in the middle for the Magic.
Sartori: Maurice Harkless. However, if you picked O’Quinn, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. Maurice didn’t really have much of a bump stats-wise, but he provided the same solid production that he did all through his rookie year (with a major bump in 3-point shooting), which was excellent to see.
3. Who’s the 2013-14 most improved player?
Drawdy: Kyle O’Quinn. He improved in every statistical category from last year (except TS%, because he shot more). He’s gone from a second-round end-of-the-bench player to a fan-favorite who has a chance to be a staple of Orlando’s core for years to come because of his defense and energy.
Frankel: Maurice Harkless. I’ll give the MIP to him based not on his improvement from last season to this, but on his in-season improvement. He started off the season tentative. He was slow with his decision-making and seemingly unaware on how to use his athletic gifts. He’s gotten more confident as the season has progressed, especially making decisions and finishing in the drive-and-kick.
Lund: E’Twaun Moore. He finally shot over 40 percent from the field for the first time in his career. I thought he’d definitely be relegated to the D-League by now, and he’s just continued as a steady backup with better shooting.
Lynch: Victor Oladipo. This is cheating, since Oladipo’s a rookie and obviously didn’t improve from a season past that never happened. But his progress through this season deserves to be highlighted. He grew more comfortable as a ballhandler and showed the flashes of defensive prowess that made him Orlando’s first pick in 2013.
Sartori: Aaron Afflalo. There aren’t too many candidates for this, with Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic both making their big jumps last season. However, Afflalo was very much in the conversation for an All-Star appearance this year, which he wasn’t last season, and posted career highs across the board, while having a lower turnover percentage than last season despite his higher usage rate.
4. Who’s the 2013-14 defensive player of the year?
Drawdy: Victor Oladipo. He interrupts my Kyle O’Quinn man-crush. Oladipo led the team with 1.6 steals a game, but my choice is more subjective. He looks like he’s going to be a pest in the league, and I mean that in the best way possible. He has the potential to be a defensive x-factor when games become significant. That’s exciting stuff.
Frankel: Victor Oladipo. He’s not the best defensive player on the Magic, but I’ll give it to Oladipo for how good he’s been on defense for a point guard. He has a +0.96 defensive real plus-minus, 10th in the league for point guards. That’s especially impressive considering how other young point guards like Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving have struggled on D.
Lund: Victor Oladipo. I was tempted to go with O’Quinn again, but I’m taking the rookie, who led the team in defensive Win Shares (2.8) on the year, per Basketball-Reference. He’s big, strong, fast and totally buys into the two-way player mentality, which is a good sign for Magic fans moving forward.
Lynch: Nikola Vucevic. Centers tend to be the most impactful defenders by default, and such is the case for Vuc and the Magic. Nikola still has a ways to go before he’ll be considered even a good defender, but the instincts seem to be there. Now, it’s a matter of developing them.
Sartori: Victor Oladipo. Kyle O’Quinn was probably the Magic’s best defender this year, but it’s hard to give the award to a guy who only played 17 minutes per game. Oladipo took some big strides in terms of defensive awareness throughout the year, which was great to see, and the solid defense on-the-ball that we saw in college appears to have translated well to the NBA.
5. Who’s the 2013-14 sixth man of the year?
Drawdy: Tobias Harris. This one’s fluky. The starting lineup featured only three consistent figures in Afflalo, Nelson, and Vucevic. Because the lineup was in flux all season, I’ll put Harris, who started just over half of his games played, in this category. Harris was the team’s best offensive threat off the bench.
Frankel: Kyle O’Quinn. This one is more by default however, as he’s one of the only steady Magic players to start fewer than half his games.
Lund: Tobias Harris. I wanted him to be the Magic’s stretch four, but instead he’s turned into a pretty decent sixth man — someone that still can’t play defense (he should be Scottie Pippen with his body), but can still drop buckets and create his own shot with the second team.
Lynch: Kyle O’Quinn. This is as much a reflection on O’Quinn as it is an indication of how fluid Orlando’s lineups were this season. The only players to appear in more than 50 games and start fewer than half of them for the Magic were Doron Lamb, E’Twaun Moore, and O’Quinn. Of the three, the bearded one is the easy choice.
Sartori: Kyle O’Quinn. Kyle became a starter with around 20 games to go, but played a vast majority of his games off the bench. He was great on both ends of the floor, providing solid rim protection as well as an improved offensive game.