Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 33

May 19

Revisiting Oladipo’s point guard development

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 12.03.56 PM

Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

In February, after everyone had witnessed Victor Oladipo’s steady development as a point guard in the first few months of his rookie season, Jacque Vaughn said that ‘Dipo may remain a combo guard further into his career.

Oladipo-at-point guard was an experiment in having him as a primary ballhandler, something that wasn’t really his main role during his three years in college at Indiana. It’s fair to say that the experiment was a success, with him finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting after a solid season.

Offensively, Oladipo was most successful in isolation. For ‘Dipo, 45.6 percent of his isolations finished in a score for the Magic and 0.93 points per possession (44th in the NBA) were generated in those situations, per Synergy Sports.

He showed good composure in isolation plays, often using his generally superior strength and speed over other point guards to his advantage. However, he settled for long jump shots a bit too often, or at least not in the right circumstances.

He wasn’t terrible from midrange and behind the 3-point line, with his percentages of 38.1 percent and 32.7 percent respectively both hovering either around or a little below the league average (for further info, here is his shot chart for the season). However, it wasn’t the volume of shots from these areas that caused problems, rather the situation.

Read the rest of this entry »

May 05

Oladipo finishes second in Rookie of the Year voting

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.11.14 PM

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via NBA press release:

Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers is the recipient of the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy as the 2013-14 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, the NBA announced today. Carter-Williams, who became only the third rookie since 1950-51 to lead all rookies in scoring, rebounding and assists, received 104 of a possible 124 first-place votes from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada, finishing with 569 points.

The Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo finished second with 364 points (16 first-place votes) and Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz finished third with 96 points (one first place vote). Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

Carter-Williams averaged 16.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds, joining Oscar Robertson (1960-61) and Alvan Adams (1975-76) as the only players since 1950-51 to pace all rookies in those three categories. He also joined Robertson and Magic Johnson as the only rookies in NBA history to average at least 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists. Carter-Williams also led all rookies in steals (1.86 spg, sixth in NBA).

Selected by the 76ers with the 11th overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, Carter-Williams was named NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Oct. 29-Nov. 3, joining Shaquille O’Neal as the only rookies in history to capture NBA Player of the Week honors to begin their careers. Carter-Williams went on to earn Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honors in October/November, January, March and April. He tallied 17 double-doubles and two triple-doubles on the season, while scoring at least 20 points in 25 contests.

To view the media voting results, click here.

May 02

Magic extend contracts of Hennigan, Vaughn

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 11.25.49 AM

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have exercised their fourth-year team option and extended the contracts of general manager Rob Hennigan and head coach Jacque Vaughn, chief executive officer Alex Martins announced today. Both contracts have been extended through the 2015-16 season. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed.

“Rob (Hennigan) and Jacque (Vaughn) have worked extremely hard in establishing a culture which embodies teamwork, hard work, hunger for success and humility,” said Martins. “With their strategic direction and leadership, we feel we are headed in the right direction, which will allow us to achieve our goals of contending in a long-term, sustainable fashion.”

Hennigan was named general manager of the Magic on June 20, 2012. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the team’s basketball operations, including day-to-day business, roster management and development, player acquisitions, salary cap management, analytical systems, and process development throughout the department. Hennigan spent the previous four seasons (2008-12) with Oklahoma City, including his last two seasons as the Thunder’s assistant general manager/player personnel.

Vaughn became the tenth head coach in Orlando Magic history on July 27, 2012. He is the second-youngest head coach in the NBA. Prior to joining the Magic, Vaughn spent two seasons (2010-12) as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs. He played 12 years in the NBA from 1997-2009, including 80 games with Orlando in 2002-03. Vaughn was a member of the San Antonio Spurs 2006-07 NBA Championship team.

Apr 29

Orlando Magic statement on Donald Sterling

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic feel the recent reprehensible comments by Donald Sterling were absolutely unacceptable and do not reflect the values and beliefs of our organization or our league. We applaud the leadership of NBA commissioner Adam Silver, as well as head coach Doc Rivers and his players, who are at the epicenter of the situation.

Apr 25

From Denver and New York with love

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 12.15.05 PM

Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Two years ago, acquiring a 2014 first round pick from the Denver Nuggets probably caused Magic fans to shrug and think, “Neat,” if they even noticed it at all in the chaos of Dwight Howard’s exit. The Magic were promised a first round selection in the 2014 NBA Draft from the worst of the two first round picks between Denver and New York, who had themselves given up the pick long ago for Carmelo Anthony.

What would ensue seemed predictable: Denver and New York would end up getting knocked out in the playoffs, and Orlando would end up with a pick somewhere in the upper teens or 20s.

Then, after last year, the Magic fanbase would have felt even more disinterested. The Knicks were back. They finished with the second-best record in the East — their 54 wins were the most in 16 years. Meanwhile, the Nuggets were a Western Conference juggernaut, finishing with the third-best record in the conference. The Magic’s pick felt securely locked in the 20s. Surely, the Knicks and Nuggets couldn’t fall off much from where they were last season.

This year came and went, and nothing unfolded predictably.

Denver, after capturing the No. 3 seed in the West last year, failed to make the playoffs this time around, struggling under a new head coach. It had been over a decade since the Nuggets weren’t part of the NBA postseason party.

Denver’s struggles might not have mattered if New York had ended up anywhere in the ballpark of last year’s success. But no: the Knicks spent most of the year grossly underachieving and getting all kinds of circus-like media attention centered around Mike Woodson’s handle of the team, Carmelo’s future, and the hiring of Phil Jackson upstairs. None of that attention translated into wins, however, and the Knicks too fell short of the playoffs even in an unusually weak conference.

(As a side note, Orlando won the battle for .500 with the Knicks handily.)

Let’s return to the Magic. Most of its future hope centered around a likely top-five pick in the 2014 draft. The other pick shouldn’t have been as exciting as it is now. The team might have drafted in the 20s somewhere, and the hope would have been for someone to just make the roster and be good enough to actually play.

Now, there are two lottery picks. The second one will likely find a Rodney Hood or Doug McDermott available. Both are excellent shooters, a role of need for the team. The already-exciting draft is now perhaps the most anticipated one in Magic history. And all of this is from the surprising mediocrity of two distant teams.

As luck, or divine intervention, or the prophetic mind of Rob Hennigan would have it, the Orlando rebuild is going to take a leap forward with these two lottery picks in June.

Someone needs to pay the lottery ping pong ball cleaners a lot more money. By the time they start bouncing around in front of the eager eyes of team executives on May 20, you’ll never be able to tell how much blood, sweat, and tears had soaked them right up until the last minute.

Apr 24

Magic fully investing in D-League


Photo by Erie BayHawks

According to a report from Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, the Orlando Magic will be acquiring the Erie Bayhawks of the D-League and entering an exclusive partnership with them.

The Orlando Magic plan to enter a single-affiliation hybrid relationship with the NBA Development League’s Erie BayHawks, people familiar with news told USA TODAY Sports. They requested anonymity because the deal has not been finalized.

An official announcement is not expected until late May as the parties finalize details. The Magic will run basketball ops and the ownership will handle business operations and community relations.

The BayHawks were formerly affiliated with the New York Knicks, but with the Knicks forming their own D-League team, the Magic pounced on the opportunity to acquire a D-League team for themselves.

The benefits of a D-League team are enormous. When Andrew Nicholson was struggling to get playing time in his sophomore season while Glen Davis was around, he could’ve been sent to the D-League to get game minutes. It also could have helped to rebuild his confidence, which was shot to hell during the season, with a few 20-point games.

Kyle O’Quinn proved in his second year in the NBA that he’s a really good player. He possibly could have been even better if he had played more than 638 minutes in his rookie season. Stuck behind more experienced players in the rotation, he could have gone to a D-League team to get real game minutes and potentially develop quicker.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 23

Video: Victor Oladipo’s top 10 plays in 2013-14

Apr 22

The rise of Kyle O’Quinn

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 10.45.52 AM

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

While we as basketball fans love to determine improvement through an increase in the main statistical categories, the indication it can give can be minimal at times.

Take Kyle O’Quinn for instance: when comparing his stats from this season to last, you’ll notice they’re fairly similar — a slight jump in most areas, but nothing that screams “big improvement.” Despite this, it’s common belief among Magic fans and writers that O’Quinn developed greatly as a player this year.

The increased trust that Magic coach Jacque Vaughn showed in Kyle played a huge part in his development. As the season went on, O’Quinn saw a somewhat steady increase in his minutes — he seized the opportunity, and increased his production significantly with an increased role in the rotation.

The stats — when split into sections of the season — are telling:

1-25 9.8 2.8 3.0 0.5 52.3%
26-50 19.8 7.0 6.4 1.5 51.1%
51-69 (started) 23.7 9.7 6.8 1.9 54.3%

Not only did he improve across the board statistically as the season went on, it was clear he was playing with more confidence. He was far less hesitant with the ball, and showed off the fantastic passing skills he possesses, both on outlets and in the half-court, rare for a player of his position.

It also must have been encouraging for Magic brass to see him play comfortably at either frontcourt spot, playing a lot of minutes in a big lineup with himself at the 4 and Nikola Vucevic at the 5, yet also sliding to center himself when need be.

SportVu’s rim protection data backs up the claim that O’Quinn is an excellent defensive player, with him being ranked 13th in the league in field goal percentage allowed at the rim, for guys who contest at least four shots a game.

He’s ranked above Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah (16th) and fairly close to Andrew Bogut (10th), Serge Ibaka (7th), and Taj Gibson (11th), along with various other elite defensive big men. That’s a pretty great sign, and shows his potential to be an elite defensive big for years to come — guys that can protect the rim generally stay in the league for a long time.

Kyle is a fan favorite, too. Working hard to transform himself from a guy who rode the bench his rookie season to a pivotal part of the Magic rotation has not gone unnoticed, and when combined with his excellent defensive awareness and never-ending motor, he’s a fantastic guy to have on the court.

With O’Quinn’s development on both ends of the floor — and his ability to play either big position — it’s looking like the Magic have their frontcourt set for the future, considering himself and Nikola Vucevic have shown they can both see the court at the same time (O’Quinn’s best defensive lineup includes Vucevic, per

With the kind of intensity and energy O’Quinn brings to the team, the minutes increase is likely to be a continuing trend, and the extra experience will only help his confidence even more.

Whatever happens, Kyle O’Quinn will always be the feel-good story that came out of a pretty tough season for the Orlando Magic.

Apr 21

5-on-5: Orlando Magic team awards

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 11.48.22 AM

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 16

Grades: Indiana Pacers 101, Orlando Magic 86

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 3.15.03 PM

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.

Page 33 of 278« First...1020...3132333435...405060...Last »