Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 17

Feb 28

HoopIdea: Putting the 4-pointer into practice

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Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

The odd prospect of a 4-point shot in the NBA has many writers envisioning the scenario and wondering how teams would be affected.

The whole story is gaining more traction than it ought: it’s tough to watch this video and say the NBA president of basketball operations (Rod Thorn) isn’t smirking like a candy-covered kid during the whole thing.

But that won’t stop us from outlandish hypotheticals, will it? So how would the Magic fare if the rule changed tomorrow? Quite well, actually. I was genuinely surprised at the statistics I found for them at long, long range.

While I don’t know exactly where a 4-point line would be put in reality, I’ve been seeing a lot of people throw out 28 feet, almost five feet behind the 3-point line. A search for shots taken from 28-35 feet this season produces some interesting information in favor of Orlando.

Out of the whole NBA, Jameer Nelson is tied for fourth in field goals made. He has eight. The Magic are one of only two teams (Houston) with three players to make multiple shots: Nelson, Victor Oladipo (two) and Arron Afflalo (two). And they are shooting a solid 43.3 percent as a team (13-for-30). It’s obviously a tiny sample size, but 43.3 percent from that distance, even out of only 30 shots, is pretty impressive.

I can’t imagine many coaches drawing up plays for 4-point shots other than in late-game situations, but guess who would be the most prolific testers of the heave? Those young, experimenting teams looking to grow. Teams like Orlando. In such a scenario, they might even be the pioneers for a radical shift in the game.

You wouldn’t have Gregg Popovich letting the Spurs launch 4-point bombs whenever they wanted. Most teams would probably be very tentative incorporating it into their game plans.

But a team like the Magic, whose immediate goal is not necessarily to win every game, would be more willing to try it out. Essentially, they would test the worth of the shot for the rest of the league.

The only other question would be the exact range for the shot. Would there be a league-wide expansion of the court, as Thorn also alluded to, so another arc could fit neatly behind the 3-point one? Would shots be worth more in designated areas, like the Harlem Globetrotters have been trying out for a few years? Now that one would be fun: just imagine a team down four points at the end of the game going to the 4-point circle and facing a wall of five players in front of it!

Or would four points be awarded only for half-court shots? In that case, would the backcourt violation have to be reevaluated? And would big men become go-to players, since they’re stronger and can shoot that distance with less effort?

Who knows? You can (almost) never say never, but I would be absolutely shocked if we ever saw a shot like this cross into reality. There would be bricks flying all over the place, and the game would never be the same.

It could happen, but it won’t.

But it could.

Feb 27

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • The latest 2014 NBA mock draft from Sports Illustrated.
  • Watch Victor Oladipo block Thaddeus Young’s duck attempt in the Magic’s 101-90 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
  • Orlando will not be participating in the league’s Noche Latina program this season. The Magic had been involved the previous two seasons.
  • Oladipo has had a number of amazing blocks this season. Which one of them stands out the most?
  • Should Orlando pursue Jimmer Fredette? He and the Sacramento Kings finalized a buyout agreement today.
  • Could a phone call by Horace Grant persuaded Shaquille O’Neal to stay in Orlando when he became a free agent in 1996? Grant wonders aloud to Bill Simmons on the B.S. Report during All-Star weekend in New Orleans.

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

Essentials

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

Records

  • Magic: 17-42
  • Sixers: 15-42

Probable starters

Magic:

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

Sixers:

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

Advanced stats

Magic:

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

Sixers:

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

Read about the Sixers

Hoop76

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

Essentials

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

Records

  • Magic: 17-41
  • Wizards: 28-28

Probable starters

Magic:

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

Wizards:

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

Advanced stats

Magic:

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

Wizards:

  • 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 NBA.com: 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 CBSSports.com 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.”
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