Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 10

Feb 27

Video: Victor Oladipo hits the shot clock

Feb 27

Grades: Orlando Magic 101, Philadelphia 76ers 90

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Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images


Orlando Magic 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Philadelphia 76ers

Nikola Vucevic
9-19 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 BLK | 13 REB | 21 PTS | +5

Considering that Vucevic was playing against an undersized and outmatched Sixers frontcourt (Henry Sims? Byron Mullens?), he probably should have had a 20-20 game. There were times when Philadelphia made Vucevic look like Moses Malone out there. But 21-13-3 ain’t too shabby. Vucevic scored exclusively at the rim (9-for-14) thanks to his size advantage — mostly from pick-and-rolls and offensive rebound putbacks.

Victor Oladipo
7-16 FG | 2-5 3P | 11 REB | 3 AST | 17 PTS | +9

Facing off against Michael Carter-Williams, the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award, for a third time this season, Oladipo won this round. He was sloppy with his ballhandling and passing, as exhibited by his seven turnovers (the most he’s had in a game in over a month), but he did pick up a double-double along the way.

Jameer Nelson
7-16 FG | 2-6 3P | 6 REB | 12 AST | 16 PTS | +19

Entering tonight’s contest, Nelson was averaging 7.2 points, 7.4 assists, and 2.9 rebounds per game in the month of February. His 11.5 PER during that timeframe was in replacement level territory. To say that Nelson needed a game like this (16-12-6 with zero turnovers) to remind everyone that he still can be a productive player would be an understatement.

Maurice Harkless
5-14 FG | 3-4 3P | 2 BLK | 3 REB | 13 PTS | -1

Perhaps one of the most compelling subplots to emerge for the Magic has been Harkless developing into a good 3-point shooter. He shot 3-for-4 beyond the arc against the Sixers, which means his percentage is now up to 38.5 percent this season (37-for-96). That has to be an encouraging sign for Orlando. Harkless could very well be budding into a legitimate 3-and-D player.

Philadelphia 76ers

By trading Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner at the deadline, Philadelphia has made their intentions clear. They’re going to tank the rest of the season. Need proof? The Sixers not only lost their 12th game in a row, but they allowed the Magic to snap their 16-game road losing streak in the process. You have to hand it to GM Sam Hinkie. He has no shame.

Feb 26

Preview: Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers


  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers
  • Date: February 26, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Wells Fargo Center


  • Magic: 17-42
  • Sixers: 15-42

Probable starters


  • Jameer Nelson
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Tobias Harris
  • Nikola Vucevic


  • Michael Carter-Williams
  • James Anderson
  • Hollis Thompson
  • Thaddeus Young
  • Henry Sims

Advanced stats


  • Pace: 93.7 (17th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.5 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.1 (17th of 30)


  • Pace: 100.1 (1st of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 99.0 (30th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.6 (28th of 30)

Read about the Sixers


Feb 26

Prospect Profile: Andrew Wiggins

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Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Wiggins’ 2013-14 stats at Kansas

16.3 5.8 1.6 56.2 21.0

Andrew Wiggins was the presumptive top pick going into his freshman year at Kansas, but in what is becoming a yearly tradition with one-and-done prospects, he hasn’t lived up to the hype. Worse yet, he’s been overshadowed by his own teammate Joel Embiid.

But he’s slowly rounded into form throughout the second half of the season and still looks like a top-three pick. The athletic small forward would be a very nice draft choice for the Magic, giving them a prototypical star to build the franchise around.

It’s unclear how committed the Magic are to having Victor Oladipo at point guard, and many questions of fit eventually come down to that. If the point guard experiment works with Oladipo, they can move Arron Afflalo to the shooting guard position and slot Wiggins in at the three. If not, then there could be a bit of a positional crunch. Afflalo has shown that he’s far more than a bench player, and would likely have to be dealt in that scenario.

Wiggins is also enticing as an occasional small-ball four. Tobias Harris has thrived since becoming a full-time power forward, but he doesn’t play every minute at that position and the Magic aren’t married to him.

Wiggins has struggled shooting the ball this season, but has still put up high point totals. A third of his shots have been 2-point jumpers, and he’s only shot 34 percent on those shots, but his .562 True Shooting percentage still ranks as above-average.

Historically though, True Shooting percentage reveals only a little about what type of player a prospect will be. For wings at least, 3-pointers are a more important indicator. Wiggins has shot a solid, if not great, 36 percent from behind the arc and shoots them at a healthy rate — nearly half as often as he shoots 2s.

He doesn’t come out quite as well in defensive statistics as his athleticism would indicate, but he isn’t a flop by any means. Block rate and steal rate are surprisingly significant indicators for wings — the theory goes that they are proxies for athleticism and activity — and Wiggins rates about average in blocks (2.7 percent) and steals (1.9 percent) for wings in my seven-year database of draft prospects.

The data alone indicate Wiggins is a top-three prospect, but what makes his potential higher than the numbers can show is his athleticism. It’s that athleticism that’s invited Tracy McGrady comparisons. He hasn’t fully displayed his athletic ability in college, but it’s unclear how much that matters.

He’s eerily similar to one-time top draft prospect Harrison Barnes in some ways. Barnes looked like the perfect NBA wing player coming out of high school, but he failed to produce in college and thus far has yet to produce in the NBA, either. Wiggins has put up far better college numbers in his freshman campaign than Barnes put up as a sophomore at North Carolina. But Wiggins has displayed the occasional complacent behavior that plagued Barnes at UNC.

On the flipside is Andre Drummond. At UConn, he was plagued by the same questions about his aggressiveness as Barnes and Wiggins, yet he’s made those questions look like lunacy in the NBA. There’s merit to the theory that Drummond’s dynamic pick-and-roll skills just didn’t fit the slow and cramped college game.

Could Wiggins blossom when exposed to NBA spacing and more opportunities in the pick-and-roll? It’s a question that won’t be answered for quite a while, and one the Magic will have to consider if he sits on the board when they’re ready to pick.

The numbers are average for a top-three pick and the Magic will have to decide if they want to bank on Wiggins’ upside. If they decide they want to, there’s a good chance they get a franchise building block out of it.

Feb 26

Grades: Washington Wizards 115, Orlando Magic 106

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Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images


Washington Wizards 115 Final
Recap | Box Score
106 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
9-14 FG | 3-4 FT | 14 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS | +1

Vucevic may average a double-double on a nightly basis, but his defense leaves much to be desired sometimes. Case in point: Gortat roasted Vucevic on the left block in the first half. When you make someone like Gortat, who’s a good player but is by no means a low post savant, look like Hakeem Olajuwon when he’s posting up, there’s something wrong.

Victor Oladipo
10-20 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 26 PTS | -9

This was one of those rare games where Oladipo did most of his damage offensively with his jump shot. And a majority of the jumpers that he made were in pick-and-roll sets with Vucevic, all from midrange. They’re the type of shots that Oladipo will need to be able to make with consistency if he wants to continue getting better.

Maurice Harkless
9-13 FG | 2-6 3P | 5 REB | 1 AST | 22 PTS | -4

This was Harkless’ best game of the 2013-14 season. He tied a season-high with 22 points and he did it by being decisive when the basketball was in his hands. His spin move and reverse layup finish on Gortat late in the second quarter was incredibly impressive. It was a perfect example of the type of aggressiveness Harkless displayed throughout the night.

Kyle O’Quinn
4-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -8

It’s hard to believe that O’Quinn was once not a part of Jacque Vaughn’s rotation, but that was the case in the first half of the regular season. Against the Wizards, O’Quinn was one rebound shy of a double-double despite playing just 21 minutes. You almost have to wonder if his emergence as a reliable back-up big expedited Glen Davis’ exit from Orlando.

Washington Wizards

The four-headed monster of Wall (27 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds), Beal (21 points), Ariza (22 points), and Gortat (21 points, 10 rebounds) won this game for Washington. They combined to score 91 of the Wizards’ 115 points. And each of them were effective in different areas of the court. Beal from midrange, Ariza from the 3-point line, and Gortat in the paint. Wall? He was effective everywhere.

Feb 26

Video: Maurice Harkless with the reverse layup

Feb 25

Preview: Orlando Magic at Washington Wizards


  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Washington Wizards
  • Date: February 25, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Verizon Center


  • Magic: 17-41
  • Wizards: 28-28

Probable starters


  • Jameer Nelson
  • Victor Oladipo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Tobias Harris
  • Nikola Vucevic


  • John Wall
  • Bradley Beal
  • Trevor Ariza
  • Trevor Booker
  • Marcin Gortat

Advanced stats


  • Pace: 93.7 (16th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.3 (27th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.8 (17th of 30)


  • Pace: 93.5 (18th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.4 (21st of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 104.2 (8th of 30)

Read about the Wizards

Truth About It

Feb 25

Magic sign Dewayne Dedmon, Adonis Thomas

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Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have signed center Dewayne Dedmon and guard-forward Adonis Thomas to 10-day contracts, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Dedmon and Thomas are the 23rd and 24th GATORADE call-ups of the 2013-14 NBA Development League season.

Dedmon (#3, 7’0”, 255, 8/12/89) has played in 15 combined games this season with Golden State and Philadelphia, averaging 2.5 ppg. and 3.3 rpg. in 10.4 mpg. He also appeared in 15 games with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League, averaging 15.2 ppg., 13.1 rpg., 1.3 apg., 2.33 bpg. and 1.53 spg. in 33.7 mpg.

Thomas (#8, 6’7”, 235, 3/25/93) has played in 26 games (21 starts) with the Springfield Armor of the NBA Development League, averaging 16.2 ppg., 4.2 rpg. and 1.3 apg. in 35.1 mpg., while shooting .469 (38-81) from three-point range.

Not drafted by an NBA team in 2013, Dedmon played in 51 games (49 starts) during his two-year career at USC, averaging 7.1 ppg., 6.7 rpg. and 1.67 bpg. In 2012-13 as a redshirt junior, he appeared in 31 games (29 starts), averaging 6.7 ppg., 7.0 rpg., 2.13 bpg. and 1.10 spg. in 22.3 mpg. He led the Trojans in rebounding and blocked shots. Dedmon did not play organized basketball until his senior year of high school due to religious reasons and played one season at Antelope Valley College in his hometown of Lancaster, CA, before transferring to USC.

Also undrafted in 2013, Thomas played in 55 games (44 starts) during two years at the University of Memphis, averaging 10.7 ppg., 4.0 rpg. and 1.5 apg. in 27.5 mpg. He was named to the Conference USA All-Tournament Team in 2013.

Orlando’s roster now stands at 14 players.

Feb 24

Monday’s Magic Word

  • John Schuhmann of The Magic have won six of their last seven at home, scoring 107.1 points per 100 possessions, but have lost 15 straight on the road, scoring just 93.6. So when they play in Philadelphia on Wednesday, something has got to give. With Glen Davis gone, Tobias Harris has moved to power forward and totaled 50 points on 17-for-26 shooting (9-for-9 in the restricted area) in two games over the weekend.”
  • Buying out Big Baby’s contract will pay dividends for Orlando.
  • The Magic are average at home (14-15), but horrendous on the road (3-26).
  • What’s the latest tank rank report on Orlando? Chad Ford of ESPN Insider has the goods.
  • Victor Oladipo became the first Magic rookie since Penny Hardaway to post multiple 20-point, 10-assist games. Not bad company.
  • A list of players that played 20 minutes or less in a Magic uniform.
  • Zach Harper of on Orlando’s oddness: “The Magic have just been confusing this season. They’re just competitive enough while still being fairly overmatched in most games. They didn’t trade away Arron Afflalo and will end up saving a few bucks on Glen Davis with his buyout after not moving him at the deadline. They won three straight games a couple weeks ago with two of those victories happening against the Pacers and Thunder. They’ve followed that up with losing four out of their last five, including losses to the Bucks and Cavs. Their win was an overtime victory over the Knicks.”
  • E’Twaun Moore talks about his patented floater and the work he’s put in to make that type of shot with consistency.
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel with news on two players expected to sign 10-day contracts with the Magic: “The Magic expect to formally sign 6-foot-6 swingman Adonis Thomas and 7-foot big man Dewayne Dedmon to 10-day deals on Tuesday. The team wanted to wait to sign both players in order to prevent their 10-day clocks from beginning on Monday.”

Feb 24

Grades: Toronto Raptors 105, Orlando Magic 90

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AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young


Toronto Raptors 105 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Orlando Magic

Nikola Vucevic
4-12 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 STL | 4 REB | 11 PTS | -13

Not the best game for Vucevic. The only silver lining is that he didn’t get outplayed by his counterpart Jonas Valanciunas. Vucevic did get outplayed by his teammate Kyle O’Quinn, however. O’Quinn had 10 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Although Vucevic is a better player than O’Quinn, he’s not the better passer. That much was obvious versus Toronto, as O’Quinn had some beautiful assists.

Tobias Harris
10-15 FG | 7-8 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 28 PTS | -14

With Arron Afflalo out (ankle), someone had to step up and assume his role as the Magic’s primary scorer. That man was Harris, who is quickly validating Orlando’s decision to make him the full-time power forward after buying out Glen Davis’ contract. Harris could do little wrong against the Raptors. He got to the rim with ease. His jump shot was falling. But it wasn’t enough.

E’Twaun Moore
7-15 FG | 1-3 3P | 4 REB | 3 AST | 16 PTS | -2

Moore was the only other Magic player, aside from Harris, that had any sort of success offensively. It seemed like Moore couldn’t miss a floater, though he didn’t have the same success with his jump shot. Nevertheless, he played one of his better games of the regular season and came two points shy of matching his career-high in points (18).

Victor Oladipo
4-13 FG | 2-3 3P | 5 STL | 4 REB | 11 PTS | -22

After terrorizing the New York Knicks on Friday, Oladipo was subdued by the Raptors’ defense (a top 10 unit in the NBA). Oladipo tried time and again to score by driving to the basket, but he was constantly stonewalled by Toronto’s bigs. They made it difficult for Oladipo to convert layups, using their collective length to block or alter his attempts.

Toronto Raptors

There was no bigger All-Star snub in the Eastern Conference than Kyle Lowry. He’s been the best point guard in the East and he proved it against Orlando with a scintillating offensive performance, in which he was drilling 3s and getting to the free throw line at will. Lowry finished with 28 points (7-for-13 shooting from the floor), including 17 in the third quarter.

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