Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 28

Apr 21

5-on-5: Orlando Magic team awards

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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.

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Apr 16

Grades: Indiana Pacers 101, Orlando Magic 86

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AP Photo/John Raoux


Indiana Pacers 101 Final
Recap | Box Score
86 Orlando Magic

Maurice Harkless
5-9 FG | 4-7 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | -20

Last season, Harkless shot 27.4 percent from 3-point range. This season? He upped his percentage to 38.3 percent when it was all said and done. That’s a win for the Magic. Harkless has all the makings of being a 3-and-D player, who can also be an effective slasher (think Matt Barnes, but without the passing ability). Now about that free throw shooting.

E’Twaun Moore
5-12 FG | 3-3 3P | 6 REB | 3 AST | 13 PTS | -8

Amidst all the youth on Orlando’s roster, I think people tend to forget that Moore (24) is one of the team’s “older” young players. Which is to say that the odds of Moore continuing to get exponentially better are lower than Victor Oladipo, for example. Moore got better this season, mostly as a shooter, but he’s still nothing more than a fringe back-up guard.

Doron Lamb
4-12 FG | 3-7 3P | 0 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | -16

After getting barely any playing time for most of the season, Lamb saw a lot of action in the month of April. Part of that was Oladipo’s minutes getting cut. Part of that was Nelson getting hurt. The problem for Lamb is that he didn’t prove he belongs on the court. His 8.5 PER in April (7.5 PER for the season) is replacement-level.

Andrew Nicholson
4-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 10 PTS | -6

Nicholson has to be happy that he was able to finish the season on a positive note. He scored in double figures in each of the Magic’s last three games. That’s after Nicholson failed to score in double figures in three months. As for the corner 3 experiment, Nicholson’s 3-point percentage for the season was 31.5 percent. That’s solid and something Nicholson can build on.

Indiana Pacers

With the Pacers sitting three of their starters (Lance Stephenson, Paul George, and David West) and playing George Hill and Roy Hibbert in the first half only, combined with the Magic resting most of their starters, this matchup was nothing more than a glorified D-League game. With the No. 1 seed locked up, Indiana had nothing to play for. Neither did Orlando.

Apr 16

O’Quinn named Aleve ‘Hustle Player of the Year’

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

Kyle O’Quinn was named the Aleve ‘Hustle Player of the Year’ at halftime of the Orlando Magic’s regular season home finale Wednesday evening against the Indiana Pacers. At the close of each month this season, Aleve has highlighted the top hustle plays of the month in-game and has allowed Magic fans the opportunity to vote for the top play on Due to his constant commitment to playing every game with more excitement than the last, O’Quinn was selected as the recipient of the 2013-14 Aleve ‘Hustle Player of the Year’ honor, his second consecutive year to win the award.

O’Quinn accepted the award from Joe Raymond on behalf of Bayer Healthcare, the makers of Aleve. In honor of O’Quinn’s accomplishments, Bayer Healthcare is donating $5,000 to CECO – Conductive Education Centers of Orlando.

Apr 16

Preview: Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic


  • Teams: Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: April 15, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center


  • Pacers: 55-26
  • Magic: 23-58

Probable starters


  • George Hill
  • Evan Turner
  • Rasual Butler
  • Luis Scola
  • Roy Hibbert


  • Victor Oladipo
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Dewayne Dedmon

Advanced stats


  • Pace: 92.5 (20th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 104.0 (23rd of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 99.4 (1st of 30)


  • Pace: 93.7 (15th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.7 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.3 (16th of 30)

Read about the Pacers

8 Points, 9 Seconds

Apr 16

A beginning to an end in Orlando

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The circle of life that is the 2013-14 Orlando Magic regular season comes to a close tonight in the same way it began. It’s as if the schedule-makers, the Magic, and their opponent, the Indiana Pacers, the team they faced to start the season, conspired with the creative minds over at HBO to capitalize on the momentum of “flat circle” concepts of time.

Sure, the place is different. This final encounter comes in Orlando, not the confines of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, whatever the hell that is. Everything else, though? It’s the same, because such is life for the Magic as they build toward their future selves. This season is only nominally different from the last, a journey through the NBA calendar predicated on patience, development, and a “let’s see what we’ve got here” mentality coupled with an eye on future asset acquisition.

And if one year to the next is the same, how could April be unique to October? Orlando has successfully tanked this year, but been outdone by the Bucks and Sixers in the race for ping pong balls.

For all of their turbulence, internal and external, the Pacers are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, a result as likely now as it was when the season started.

And even the trials and tribulations Indiana’s faced this year are reflected in the Ouroboros of Orlando’s season. The Magic, you’ll recall, battled the Pacers tooth and nail over the first 30 minutes or so of their season opener, succumbing in the third quarter only to be buried in the last. It was the first data point on a trend for Indiana, as they’d spend far too many games politely deferring to the opposition in the first half only to impose their will after halftime.

Moral victories against superior competition gave way to an actual, honest-to-goodness, it’s-on-the-scoreboard victory for the Magic the last time the Pacers were in Orlando.

And, just like with seemingly every other win this year, a repeat tonight would not be in the Magic’s long-term interests. They currently stand alone with the third-worst record in the league, and all of the lottery chances that come with such a lofty ranking.

A win tonight and a loss by the Jazz, however, would drop Orlando and Utah into a tie for third-worst. The two teams would split the average of the number of ping pong ball combinations for third (156 combinations out of a total 1,000) and fourth (119), with each team receiving 137 combinations and a coin flip determining who gets the extra one.

In practical terms, a win tonight, combined with a Jazz loss, drops Orlando’s chance of getting the first overall pick from 15.6 percent to either 13.7 or 13.8 percent.

Maybe that’s worth it. Maybe fans want to start the summer with one last win, small changes in odds be damned. I don’t think there is a wrong or a right answer. All I know is that we’ll ask the question in the same manner that we first ruminated on another season of tanking — against the Pacers, with nothing and everything on the line.

Apr 15

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • John Denton of “As he’s prepared for games late in the season, Vaughn has often popped in video of the Magic playing a similar opponent early in the season to see the level of improvement. He is satisfied that several of the players have made significant strides – even if it hasn’t necessarily translated into winning a bevy of games.”
  • It’s “Fan Appreciation Night” when the Magic host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday on the final day of the regular season.
  • The Pacers will be resting some of their starters against Orlando.
  • Tyler Lashbrook of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “It’s hard to believe, but the Orlando Magic are one game away from being two full seasons into the rebuilding process. In two years, the roster has transformed from a club full of Otis Smith’s spare parts to Hennigan’s young guns, sans Jameer Nelson. Those shiny, new Corvettes have produced precisely 120 losses, 121 if the Indiana Pacers take care of business like it should on Wednesday.”
  • The Magic are finalizing plans to enter a single-affiliation hybrid relationship with the Erie Bayhawks of the D-League. It’s the same type of partnership that the Houston Rockets have with the Rio Grand Valley Vipers.
  • It’s awards season in the NBA and Zach Lowe of Grantland — who has an actual ballot this year for the first time — reveals his pick for Rookie of the Year.

Apr 15

Highlights: Andrew Nicholson’s resurrection

Apr 15

Grades: Chicago Bulls 108, Orlando Magic 95

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AP Photo/Jeff Haynes


Chicago Bulls 108 Final
Recap | Box Score
95 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
5-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | +3

Afflalo’s best offensive sequence came when he made a fadeaway jumper along the right baseline, a 3-pointer off the dribble from the right wing, and a catch-and-shoot jumper from the left wing during a four-minute stretch in the third quarter. Outside of that, Afflalo was relatively quiet offensively, as coach Jacque Vaughn again — like he did on Sunday — elected to give the bench some extended minutes.

Kyle O’Quinn
9-11 FG | 3-5 FT | 1 BLK | 7 REB | 20 PTS | +9

You’re looking at the best second round draft pick in Magic franchise history. Anderson Varejao doesn’t count, given that he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers (in the Tony Battie trade) a month after he was drafted in 2004. On a day where it snowed in Chicago, O’Quinn brought a little rain with him, as he was raining midrange jumpers all over the court.

Andrew Nicholson
8-9 FG | 3-3 3P | 1 BLK | 4 REB | 19 PTS | -9

After having his best game in months in Sunday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, Nicholson followed that up with one of his best games of the season. This is the player that Magic fans expected to see on a regular basis before he regressed after the first month of the regular season. Hook shots, midrange jumpers, corner 3s — everything was clicking for Nicholson.

Victor Oladipo
3-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 10 PTS | +3

With Orlando’s season winding down, Vaughn has said that he was going to cut Oladipo’s playing time since he’s already amassed nearly 2,500 minutes in his rookie year. To put that number in comparison, Oladipo played just 1,021 minutes in his final college season at Indiana. What’s amazing is that Oladipo never visibly showed he hit the rookie wall.

Chicago Bulls

No Derrick Rose, no Luol Deng, and yet the Bulls are now 48-33 and in line for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, as long as they beat the Charlotte Bobcats in their final regular season game on Wednesday. All hail Tom Thibodeau and Joakim Noah. This is a team that no one in the East wants to face in the playoffs.

Apr 14

Preview: Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls


  • Teams: Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls
  • Date: April 13, 2014
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: United Center


  • Magic: 23-57
  • Bulls: 47-33

Probable starters


  • Victor Oladipo
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Kyle O’Quinn
  • Dewayne Dedmon


  • Kirk Hinrich
  • Jimmy Butler
  • Mike Dunleavy
  • Carlos Boozer
  • Joakim Noah

Advanced stats


  • Pace: 93.7 (15th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 101.7 (29th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.2 (16th of 30)


  • Pace: 90.2 (28th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 102.5 (28th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 100.5 (2nd of 30)

Read about the Bulls

Blog a Bull

Apr 14

Grades: Brooklyn Nets 97, Orlando Magic 88

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Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images


Brooklyn Nets 97 Final
Recap | Box Score
88 Orlando Magic

Arron Afflalo
2-7 FG | 1-2 3P | 0 REB | 5 AST | 5 PTS | +2

Another game, another single-digit scoring performance from Afflalo, who’s been piling those up in the past two weeks. Passivity on offense, which has been a recurring trend from Afflalo in these last two weeks, was partly to blame. Another factor was coach Jacque Vaughn’s decision to give extended playing time to the Magic’s second unit, which meant not as many minutes and not as many touches for Afflalo.

Tobias Harris
7-11 FG | 3-5 FT | 3 STL | 7 REB | 18 PTS | -2

People like to call Harris a poor man’s Carmelo Anthony and it’s easy to see why. They love to shoot midrange jumpers. They use their strength to bully their way to the rim. They have a quick first step when snaring offensive rebounds for putbacks. All of those attributes were on display from Harris against the Nets and it was tantalizing to watch.

Victor Oladipo
5-8 FG | 3-3 3P | 2 STL | 2 REB | 14 PTS | -13

It’s no secret that Oladipo needs to improve as a jump shooter during the offseason if he wants to continue to get better as a player. If Sunday’s game in Brooklyn was any indication, the ability is there for Oladipo to have a consistent jumper. It was looking pure. Deron Williams dared Oladipo to beat him with his jump shot and the rookie obliged.

Andrew Nicholson
5-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 STL | 7 REB | 12 PTS | -13

Before Sunday, the last time Nicholson finished in double figures was on January 2 versus the Cleveland Cavaliers. That was a span of 42 games. Needless to say, Nicholson’s 12-point, 7-rebound game against the Nets was his best performance in months. The right hook was falling. So was his midrange jumper. Nicholson even threw down some sledgehammer dunks for good measure.

Brooklyn Nets

It was a sloppy performance from Brooklyn, as exhibited by the 23 turnovers. The Nets really didn’t take this game seriously until the third quarter. That’s when they went on a 15-0 run midway through the period to open up a double-digit lead on the Magic before cruising to an easy victory. Mason Plumlee (17 points, 11 rebounds) was the star of the game.

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