Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 199

Aug 30

Playbook: The Corner Three-Pointer

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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Over the last three years, the three-point shot has been used by the Orlando Magic as one of the primary weapons of choice in their offensive attack. There are many critics that bemoan head coach Stan Van Gundy‘s dependence of the three-pointer in the Magic’s philosophy on offense, yet they ignore the fact that threes are one of the most efficient shots in basketball — to be more specific, the corner three.

Why take a long two?

It’s no coincidence, then, that Orlando led the NBA in three-pointers made and attempted, while also putting up less shots from 16-23 feet than any other team. It should be noted that the Houston Rockets, noted for their basketball analytics, were second in the latter category. The Magic, too, dedicate themselves to the numbers, so there’s a method to the madness when it comes to their three-point happy ways.

A lot of people assume that the method primarily surrounds just chucking up threes and seeing what happens, but that’s not the case. Orlando makes an effort to seek out the corner three-pointer when executing some of their sets offensively. It’s why the Boston Celtics, in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, made sure to not allow the Magic to get those shots.

It’s an easy thing to overlook because nearly everyone remembers the end result when it comes to certain plays. But like Bret “Hitman” Hart, Orlando takes pride in the excellence of execution. There is a grand design taking place when the Magic go through the motions on each possession on offense, trying to find the optimum shot to take as the situation presents itself.

How does Orlando maneuver the offense to create corner three-point shots?

Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 30

The Logic Behind Variable Pricing for Tickets

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Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

The Orlando Magic are borrowing a page from the movie industry’s playbook.

Just as it costs more to attend a Friday-night premiere than a Tuesday matinee, the Magic also will base their single-game ticket prices on demand this upcoming season. A ticket to watch the team host the star-studded Miami Heat, Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers will cost more than a ticket in the exact same seat for, say, a game against the lowly Sacramento Kings.

For the first time in franchise history, the Magic will employ variable pricing for single-game tickets to all 41 of their regular-season home contests. Team officials will set prices based largely on the game’s day of the week and the quality of the opponent. [...]

Variable pricing is becoming increasingly popular throughout the NBA, with at least the Atlanta Hawks, Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets and Utah Jazz also planning to use it in 2010-11.

Makes sense from an economic point of view — it’s an efficient way to make money.

Considering the Orlando Magic will be sporting a payroll over $92 million this year, before accounting for the luxury tax hit, it’s only logical for ownership to squeeze out every last penny in a revenue stream that is going to be bolstered by the opening of the Amway Center.

This topic was touched upon by Kevin Arnovitz of TrueHoop a little over a week ago. Here’s what he had to say about variable pricing for tickets:

What does this mean for the average fan? He’ll have to be as precise in his purchasing strategy as the team is in its sales strategy. To maximize your dollars, first figure out the variables you value more (and less) than the rest of the customer base. In other words, apply Moneyball to your ticket-buying. The buying public usually prefers to consume live entertainment Friday-Sunday nights. If you don’t have kids, or if late nights during the week don’t bother you, zero in on the Monday-Thursday columns on the schedule. Second, what’s worth more to you — three games against mediocre opponents or one tantalizing matchup? All things being equal, superstars and the league’s premier teams generally put on a better show, but a variable pricing structure might overvalue brand names. If you’re a die-hard basketball fan, you probably have a better appreciation for the Sacramento Kings than the average New Orleanian, who might not know who Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins are. Watching the Hornets against an upstart Kings team will likely offer you the best bang for your basketball buck. Finally, seat location remains one of the most elastic variables in ticket-pricing. Determining which vantage point you value most relative to the median buyer is crucial in getting the most out of your purchase. As someone who needs to be between the baselines, I owned center-court seats in the first row of the upper bowl at Staples Center for years and paid less than half of what a corner seat 25 rows up from the floor cost.

Interesting stuff, to say the least.

Aug 27

Friday’s Magic Word

  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic com: “After talking to Rashard [Lewis] lately, I can tell you that he worked out with legendary big man Hakeem Olajuwon this summer to come up with some more moves in the low post. Hakeem talked to Lewis about using his body more to attack small forwards when switched to him in the low post. Using Lewis at power forward the past three years was a stroke of genius by head coach Stan Van Gundy because it gave the Magic a tremendous 3-point threat and pulled other bigs away from the rim to give Howard more room to operate inside. But Lewis has been told this summer to be ready to play more at the small forward position.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “One of the top players from the Orlando Magic’s 2010 summer league team has signed on with an NBA club. Forward Patrick Ewing Jr. has signed a free-agent deal with the New York Knicks, the Knicks announced today. Howard Beck of The New York Times is reporting that Ewing received a partial guarantee and likely will compete for a roster spot. Ewing Jr., of course, is the son of Magic assistant coach and former Knicks legend Patrick Ewing.”
  • Will Brinson of CBSSports.com catches up with Dwight Howard.
  • Keep an eye out for Fran Vazquez in the 2010 FIBA World Championships: “Fran Vazquez returns to the Senior National Team to hopefully replace some of the interior defense lost in Pau’s absence. Vazquez uses his combo of length and athleticism to change shots, board and finish strong on rolls/cuts. My partner would like to see some twin tower alignments of Marc & Fran, and I second that notion.”
  • Make sure to stay up-to-date with the Magic universe on Twitter.
  • Chris Broussard of ESPN Insider: “Vince Carter‘s wishy-washy play will only get more disappointing and inconsistent after a summer’s worth of aging; Rashard Lewis’ pattern of declining productivity in each of his three seasons in Orlando should continue; and summer spies say Dwight Howard hasn’t been diligent about adding post moves to his sub-par offensive arsenal, so there’s not much reason to believe the Magic will improve this season.”
  • Summer spies? For what it’s worth, Broussard is the same individual that reported that Baron Davis’ weight has ballooned to 260 pounds in the summer, which turned out to be false.
  • Who are some of the richest players in the NBA?
  • Do defenses really win championships? Is that axiom true? Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference investigates: “These findings still bear out the axiom of defense winning championships, but the split between offense & defense is much smaller than it had been when we included pre-merger seasons. Going back to our earlier example, to have the same p(C) as a team with an average offense and a -5.0 defense, an average defensive team would have to score only 5.8 more pts/100 poss than average if we use this equation. However, the continued prominence of defense even when we drop the heavily D-oriented Celtics dynasty from the sample does suggest that, all things being equal, teams should prioritize excellence at that end of the court if they want to win a championship.”
  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie: “Dwight Howard pays attention to defense. He runs with a smile on his face and won’t remind you of Elvin Hayes in the low post, but he is a dominant force, an MVP candidate and the best player at his position. He also doesn’t turn 25 years until December. Which just doesn’t seem fair, if we’re honest.”
  • Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook takes a look at how Orlando beats double-teams on offense.

Aug 27

Dwight Howard Speaks, and the World Listens

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Via Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie:

Dwight Howard: I think people see the end product, but they don’t see what it takes to get there. Defense is about heart and will. There are a lot of things that come easy to guys on defense, but to be able to want it, and be consistent with it, that’s what makes you the best. The things that I tried to keep on my mind that I wasn’t good at, especially during my first couple of years in the league, were pick and rolls. And I studied all the guards, and what they like to do coming off screens.

That’s the part that, I think, makes me a pretty good defensive player. I really read the guards. I know that when a guard comes off [a screen and roll] he’s going to do one or two moves to get around the big. The guards that have gotten past me are the ones I haven’t seen much before. But other than that, I just try to remember that defense will lead to offense. And that with point guards, watching the film, that really helps me out. I would say film, and lots of studying players that play those positions help me out. Lots of things in the pick and roll that you can master – it helps give your team a chance to win.

Dwyer interviews Howard and asks him a variety of questions.

The transcript is worth the read.

Aug 26

Single-Game Tickets for Orlando Magic’s 10-10-10 Opener Sold Out

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Via the Orlando Magic:

Single-game tickets for the Orlando Magic’s inaugural game in the new Amway Center on Sunday, October 10 against New Orleans are sold out. Fans still have an opportunity to score tickets for the game, as a limited number of tickets are available via a partial plan or full season ticket purchase.

Partial plans and full season tickets are available for purchase:

  • Online at www.orlandomagic.com
  • At the Orlando Magic ticket office at the RDV Sportsplex (cash, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover)
  • By calling 407-89-MAGIC (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover)

Orlando Magic season tickets, partial plans, group and single-game Amway Center suite rental opportunities are on sale now. Ticket highlights in the new Amway Center include: 2,500 seats priced $15 or less and 7,000 seats priced $25 or less, while supplies last. Single-game tickets for the regular season will go on sale in October. Single-game tickets remain for the Magic’s other three preseason home games, October 14 vs. Charlotte, October 16 vs. Chicago and October 20 vs. Dallas.

Aug 26

Playbook: The 1/2 Pick and Roll

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic have a number of pick and roll variations in their playbook. This is not a new revelation. Yet there’s one variation, in particular, that has proven to be lethal in specific situations for the Magic and that’s the 1/2 pick and roll with Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter.

Carter’s career-worst swoon in January was well-documented, as he was unable to do much of anything on offense. However, Carter’s former head coach with the New Jersey Nets — Lawrence Frank — paid a visit to Orlando in early February as a guest of head coach Stan Van Gundy to share his knowledge with the coaching staff and provide a different perspective on things. The irony is that Van Gundy intended for Frank to come sooner, but things couldn’t be worked out with both parties in either December or January. Talk about perfect timing, eh?

Hence the addition of the 1/2 pick and roll in the middle of the regular season, which was a play that Carter was familiar with from his time with the Nets.

And in the fourth quarter of a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in late February, the 1/2 pick and roll was unveiled by Van Gundy.

Boy, did it work.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 26

Orlando Magic and Fairwinds Credit Union Extend Partnership

Via the Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic announced today a new, multi-year relationship with FAIRWINDS Credit Union. The partnership includes presence in the new Amway Center, along with the opportunity for FAIRWINDS Credit Union to offer an Orlando Magic-branded debit card to its members for the third consecutive year.

The Magic and FAIRWINDS Credit Union recently hosted an online contest for the new design of the official Orlando Magic debit card. The new design was chosen on August 13, 2010 (shown below). FAIRWINDS will distribute the new cards beginning in the fall at local branches as the exclusive Magic-branded debit card for Orlando Magic fans.

The partnership with FAIRWINDS Credit Union also extends into the new Amway Center to include digital signage, location sponsorship of the Amway Center’s tower hospitality space, ATMs and on-court promotions. The location sponsorship of the Amway Center’s tower hospitality space, the FAIRWINDS Tower Room, will be located on the Promenade Level inside the signature element of the building.

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Orlando Magic,” President/CEO Larry Tobin said. “The Orlando Magic and FAIRWINDS have very similar values with our commitment to community at the forefront. As a leading financial institution serving Central Florida, we are extremely proud to support our hometown team.”

Aug 25

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • John Krolik of ProBasketballTalk: “Bosh was the starting power forward on the worst defensive team in basketball last season, and that’s not a thrilling bullet point to have on one’s resume. Bosh hasn’t definitively proven that he’s a bad defender, but he sure hasn’t proven that he’s a good one. The best precedent for those hoping Bosh will become an effective defender in Miami is the career of Orlando Magic power forward Rashard Lewis. Like Lewis, Bosh isn’t particularly strong or physical, and doesn’t do much to shut off the paint. And remember that Lewis played for some of the worst defensive teams in the history of basketball during his time with Seattle. But just like the old adage that every quarterback is a system quarterback, to some extent every NBA defender is a system defender. A player can do all the right things and force his man towards where the help is supposed to be and look like he got torched when the helper blows his assignment. Likewise, good help can make anyone with good feet look like a defensive mastermind most of the time. With the Sonics’ interior defense being as horrible as it was, Lewis’ inability to defend the paint made him a liability. When he got traded to Orlando, his ability to get out on the perimeter and force players towards Dwight Howard made him a major asset on the defensive end.”
  • Want to ask general manager Otis Smith a question? You can do so here.
  • Five of the 93 panelists on ESPN.com voted for the Orlando Magic to win the NBA title this season. Here’s what one of the panelists had to say: “It’s not so much that they have better personnel than the Miami Heat, as much as that the South Beach team will implode during the course of the 82-game season. The Heat have too many superstars and egos together on one team. I believe the Magic will play as a more cohesive unit, and have more depth than the Heat. Plus, they have Dwight Howard, a strong center who will give the Heat a lot of problems should they meet in the conference finals. If the Lakers face the Magic in the Finals, I don’t think they’ll have the upper hand like they did two years ago, especially after Orlando beats Miami.”
  • I can almost guarantee that the Miami Heat won’t implode this year.
  • Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie: “Get excited, everyone, because this is happening for real and not in a fever dream like last time, when you dreamt you were Big Baby, which was weird for everyone — Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard will “star in a basketball film with an award-winning Chinese director named ‘Amazing,’” the NBA and Shanghai Film Group announced Tuesday.”
  • Art Garcia of NBA.com has more on Dwight Howard’s budding acting career.

Aug 25

The Art of the Fastbreak by Penny Hardaway

Aug 25

Fact or Fiction Returns to Magic Basketball

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Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Last year around this time, I introduced a feature at Orlando Pinstriped Post — then known as Third Quarter Collapse — called “Fact or Fiction.”

For those that watch, or have watched, ESPN regularly on television, the premise is very simple — a statement is made about something (ex: the Orlando Magic will win the Eastern Conference this season), arguments and counter-arguments are given, then viewers decide on their own if they agree with one side or the other.

Since it was a popular segment at OPP, I wanted to conduct the same series at Magic Basketball as the beginning of training camp creeps closer.

The focus of the posts will be on the Magic, of course.

For today, I’m going to give the floor to you, the readers, so that y’all can come up with statements that you’d like to see analyzed. I only ask that the comment or e-mail you submit is in the form of a statement, as shown in my example.

Have at it!

Next week on September 1, the festivities begin.

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