It’s no secret that the Orlando Magic lack a consistent shot creator on the perimeter. This has been the case since Vince Carter was traded last season, though it was an issue at times even when he was around. The Magic don’t have a LeBron James on the roster, someone that can get them a bucket on offense at any time. Instead, head coach Stan Van Gundy — as stated elsewhere — has to make up for it offensively by creating a lot of pick-and-roll, post-up, or spot-up opportunities. Very rarely will you see Van Gundy call for an isolation play.
Put it this way. Hedo Turkoglu, the likeliest candidate for Orlando to run an isolation play, given that he’s 6-foot-10 and can get his shot off without much resistance from the defense, has been involved in 12 such possessions this season. And that number is a team-high! In isolation, Turkoglu is averaging 0.67 points per possession according to Synergy Sports Technology, which isn’t very good. To compare, James has run 50 isolation plays for himself and has averaged 0.90 points per possession, which ranks eighth in the NBA.
It’s a night-and-day comparison and worth illustrating how the Magic don’t rely on isolation plays, as the Sacramento Kings were the latest team to find out.
Orlando runs so many pick-and-roll variations, it’s hard to keep track of them, but a lot of their plays come out of staggered pick-and-rolls. A staggered pick-and-roll is when an offense sets two screens, instead of one, for the ballhandler to create for either himself, one of the screeners, or someone else. It’s a great pick-and-roll variation to run because it creates extra space for the ballhander to wreak havoc on a defense. On this possession, Glen Davis and Ryan Anderson are the two screeners while Jameer Nelson is the ballhander.