Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 49

Nov 08

Victor Oladipo’s turnovers are a good thing

While Victor Oladipo hasn’t massively burst onto the scene like fellow rookie Michael Carter-Williams, he’s put together a very solid start to the season. He’s scored well, showcased nice vision at times, and, most importantly, been relentless attacking the rim. His defense has been as good as advertised, too. The one rub on what seems like a pretty rosy start is Oladipo’s propensity to turn the ball over.

He’s averaging 5.9 turnovers per 36 minutes and sporting a 26.4 turnover percentage. We can dig even further into how these turnovers occurred using nbawowy:

Steal Bad Pass Discontinue Dribble Lost Ball Out of Bounds Stepped Out of Bounds Traveling
9 (40.9%) 6 (27.3%) 3 (16.7%) 2 (9.1%) 1 (5.6%) 1 (5.6%)

He struggled early with palming the ball, a point of emphasis this year for NBA officials. Other than that, it’s been almost entirely what he does with ball, whether it be dribbling or passing. That may look troublesome on the surface — one could think that he has bad vision or handles — but it could actually be a good thing.

John Hollinger has hypothesized that rookies putting up lots of turnovers actually have had much higher rates of improvement. And looking at the list of guys that have put up abnormally-high turnover rates as rookies since 2000, that theory doesn’t sound so hair-brained.

Andre Iguodala, Dwyane Wade, John Wall, and Russell Westbrook are all players that had a bad habit for coughing the ball up their rookie season.

After watching the video of Oladipo’s turnovers, it seems that “turnovers are good” hypothesis may apply to him also. A lot of them are things like this:

Sure, he was a bit sloppy with the ball at the end of the spin, but at least he has the reflexes and creativity to even attempt that move. Instead of taking a pull-up long two off the pick, he attacks and tries something out. And, lo and behold, a few games later against the Brooklyn Nets, he attempted the same move twice and succeeded both times.

In a few years, the rookie that took the pull-up J will have had fewer turnovers his rookie season, but will also probably be the lesser player than the one who uncompromisingly attacks the hole in the mold of Wade and Westbrook — two elite players.

Nov 07

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • Nights like Nikola Vucevic’s 30-20 game reinforce the fact that the Dwight Howard trade worked out just fine for the Orlando Magic.
  • Vucevic earned an A for his performance against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
  • DeAndre Jordan got thoroughly outplayed by Vucevic.
  • Head coach Doc Rivers talks about Glen Davis’ tenure with the Boston Celtics.
  • Josh Cohen of thinks the Magic’s win over the Clippers was more than impressive than their victory against the Brooklyn Nets.
  • John Denton of “Vucevic, 24, has blossomed into the complete package of a center for the surprising Magic because he has the rare combination of size, instincts, basketball IQ and work ethic. And because he’s just in his third NBA season, Vucevic seems to have plenty of room for growth even though he’s starting to fulfill his vast potential by constantly adding something to his game.”
  • The future is bright in Orlando.
  • Victor Oladipo has been committing a lot of turnovers so far this season, but David Thorpe of ESPN Insider suggests they’re correctable mistakes.
  • Marc Stein of “Based on the terms of the original Melo trade in February 2011, New York is required to send its 2014 first-round pick to Denver no matter where it falls. The Nuggets then have to send the worse of two picks – either its own 2014 first-rounder or New York’s – to Orlando as a condition of the four-team Dwight Howard blockbuster in August 2012. So that means Orlando, in the stunning event that the Knicks and Nuggets both unexpectedly miss the playoffs, would thus inherit one of Denver’s two lottery picks in one of the most-anticipated NBA lotteries ever.”

Nov 07

Waiting for Tobias Harris: Act II


Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

A short, semi-fictional play about Orlando forward, Tobias Harris, who’s out indefinitely with an ankle injury.

Previously: Act I


  • Stan
  • Rony
  • Bus driver
  • Tobias Harris

Act II:

Not the next day, and not the same time, but at the same place.

Hours have passed. A deep black shrouds the sky just before sunrise. Stan is reading from Rony’s phone and silently nodding. Rony blinks his eyes open.

Stan: Good morning.

Rony: Is it morning?

Stan: ‘Tis

Rony: Has Tobias Harris come and gone?

Stan: No. (Stan opens up the iTunes app and starts to sing in a low whisper.)

Sunday mornin’, praise the dawnin’
It’s just a restless feelin’, by my side
Early dawnin’, Sunday mornin’
It’s just the wasted years so close behind
Watch out, the world’s behind you
There’s always someone around you, who will call
It’s nothin’ at allllllll

Rony: HEY, what’s the meaning of that? (Pats his entire body, but doesn’t find a nip left.) Cut that racket out.

Stan: Lou Reed died.

Rony: So, Tobias Harris is alive, and we need him back. Where the hell is he? (Begins to panic that last night’s memories were just a dream and he might not get to meet Tobias Harris.)

Stan: You don’t know who Lou Reed is, do you?

Rony: No, I don’t, but I know that in 27 games last year, Harris averaged over 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a one block in under 36 minutes of action. According to Basketball-Reference — and you can check me on that, since you somehow got my phone to work despite no visible outlet or charger I can see — only a handful of guys in the league accomplished that feat, and all of them are at the top of the forward food chain, if you know what I mean.

Stan: I actually do now. That’s why I was playing Sunday Morning. I have all these regrets about my job. Like, PER, what a wonderful stat! And this site I found on your phone, Hoopdata, except now they look to be shuttering. Tough break. I would have enjoyed those numbers.

Rony: (He remembers Stan is connected to the team somehow, but thought he was just a flunky for the owner.) How long was I out?

Stan: Long enough for me look up some relevant information on Tobias Harris.

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Nov 07

Highlights: Nikola Vucevic records 30-20 game

Nov 06

Grades: Orlando Magic 98, Los Angeles Clippers 90

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 11.48.55 PM

AP Photo/John Raoux


Orlando Magic 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Los Angeles Clippers

Nikola Vucevic
11-19 FG | 8-8 FT | 21 REB | 3 AST | 30 PTS | +6

After a quiet start to the fourth quarter, Vucevic came on strong in crunch time and single-handedly carried the Magic to an impressive victory over the Clippers. Vucevic scored 10 of Orlando’s last 12 points in the final 2:38 — including six consecutive free-throws that closed out the Clips — and finished with his second 30-20 game of his career.

Victor Oladipo
4-6 FG | 2-3 3P | 2 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +3

The Oladipo experience, which produced plenty of fireworks on Sunday against the Brooklyn Nets, was much more subdued tonight. The lone highlight occurred late in the first quarter when Oladipo finished with an uncontested dunk after cutting to the basket and receiving a nice bounce pass from Kyle O’Quinn from the high post. It was a beautiful sequence to watch unfold.

E’Twaun Moore
5-8 FG | 2-3 3P | 2 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | +21

Moore gave the Magic a nice boost off the bench — he was a team-high plus-21 for the game — and as a result of his good play, head coach Jacque Vaughn left him on the floor for the entire fourth quarter. Moore rewarded Vaughn’s trust by making two timely 3-pointers midway through the period as Orlando was trading baskets back-and-forth with the Clippers.

Arron Afflalo
5-16 FG | 0-3 3P | 6 REB | 5 AST | 11 PTS | +6

The pendulum of efficiency has swung wildly for Afflalo in recent games. After scoring 30 points on 14 shots against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, Afflalo put up a stinker tonight versus the Clippers. Afflalo’s problems in this game were three-fold: he couldn’t finish at the rim, he couldn’t get to the free-throw line, and he couldn’t knock down any 3-pointers.

Los Angeles Clippers

In the first half, the Clips were thoroughly outplayed. Their defense was porous, and they struggled to score (specifically at the rim and behind the 3-point line). But they woke up in the third quarter, erasing a 19-point deficit to take a 74-72 lead into the fourth quarter. However, the Clippers failed to execute and make shots in crunch time, and that was the ballgame.

Nov 06

Video: Victor Oladipo goes backdoor for a dunk

Nov 06

Preview: Los Angeles Clippers at Orlando Magic


  • Teams: Los Angeles Clippers at Orlando Magic
  • Date: November 6, 2013
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Florida
  • Arena: Amway Center


  • Clippers: 3-1
  • Magic: 2-2

Probable starters


  • Chris Paul
  • J.J. Redick
  • Jared Dudley
  • Blake Griffin
  • DeAndre Jordan


  • Jameer Nelson
  • Arron Afflalo
  • Maurice Harkless
  • Jason Maxiell
  • Nikola Vuvevic

Advanced stats


  • Pace: 99.6 (5th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 119.5 (1st of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 112.9 (30th of 30)


  • Pace: 97.1 (12th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 105.1 (8th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 98.6 (5th of 30)

Read about the Clippers


Nov 06

Jacque Vaughn and playing time


Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

One week into the 2013-2014 season, the Orlando Magic are 2-2. They’ve won two consecutive games against playoff contenders by more than 20 points, lost in overtime at Minnesota, and put a legitimate scare into the undefeated Indiana Pacers on the road in the season opener. The Magic currently rank in the top 10 in offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, total rebound percentage, and True Shooting percentage.

This start, basically, seems like no fluke — Orlando has been very good. And while this sample size is so small as to render any takeaways close to meaningless, the eye test confirms what advanced metrics suggest. In a vacuum, without crucial context, the Magic would be considered a surefire postseason threat after these first four games.

The scary thing is that Orlando could be even better.

Tanking, rebuilding, constructing — call the big-picture goal of 2013-14 whatever you like, but winning games is just a small portion of it. This season, first and foremost, is meant to develop young talent and build Orlando’s stable of assets ahead of next summer’s loaded draft. But Rob Hennigan’s patient primary objectives differ from those of his coaches and players. There’s only so much big-picture perspective he can implement on game night from a press box above the floor.

Jacque Vaughn appears compliant with front office directives. No coaching staff — no matter how seemingly doomed its team prospects are for a current season — would ever employ on-court strategy that encourages failure, and Vaughn is no different. He has the Magic’s intricate half-court offense firing on all cylinders, and his players rarely deviate from the team’s strong principle values on defense. To that end, Vaughn’s done nothing to discourage those who saw his first season as a head coach promising. In fact, it’s actually quite the opposite.

When looking at things from a rotation standpoint? Hennigan might as well be calling the shots.

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Nov 05

Tuesday’s Magic Word

  • Victor Oladipo can dunk and sing. He’s a master of all trades.
  • Miles Wray of The Classical: “After the Howard/Bynum trade scorched the earth for more than one NBA team, it is now obvious that Orlando—initially mocked for not acquiring any “big names” in the deal—definitively won the trade, acquiring their present nucleus of quiet, blue-collar hustlers. Meaning that a team with Stuff the Magic Dragon as its mascot is the same team most likely to appeal to the sort of hoop fundamentalists who appreciate a firmly set pick, tucked-in shirts, and no trash talk. They’re building towards something, whether we watch it or not.”
  • There are a number of reasons why Jameer Nelson, a veteran player on a rebuilding team, is still in Orlando.
  • That being said, Nelson is a perfect trade candidate for a playoff team.
  • No. Really. Oladipo can sing.
  • A look ahead at the storylines for the Magic’s games this week.
  • Oladipo’s top plays of the week.
  • Little by little, Orlando is getting better as a team, and it starts with the relentless work ethic of the young players on the roster.
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel provides this statistical nugget: “Magic rookie guard Victor Oladipo has scored a total of 55 points in his first four regular-season games. According to George Galante, the Magic’s director of communications, only one other player in Magic history has scored more points in his first four games: Shaquille O’Neal. O’Neal scored 100 points during the Magic’s 3-1 start in 1992-93.”
  • Former Magic player Grant Hill has transitioned smoothy into retired life.

Nov 05

Waiting for Tobias Harris: Act I


Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

A short, semi-fictional play about Orlando forward, Tobias Harris, who’s out indefinitely with an ankle injury.


  • Stan
  • Rony
  • Bus driver
  • Tobias Harris

Act I:

A country road halfway between Jacksonville and Orlando abutting a bus stop late at night. Rony is lying on a concrete bench nursing a hangover. Stan is looking him over morosely. 

Rony: Ugh.

Stan: (Shakes him.) Wake up. I need to rest my legs.

Rony: Wha—Who are you?

Stan: Stan.

Rony: Any relation to Stan Van G—

Stan: Who? No. Can you please move over so I can sit down? The bus isn’t coming until 2 p.m. and I’ve been on my feet all day. (This was a lie.)

Rony: Right, sure. I’ve had a lot to drink, so please no more shaking.

(Stan sits down, and within five minutes, Rony is fast asleep on Stan’s shoulder. He tries to wiggle him off, but only succeeds in waking Rony up.)

Rony: What the hell is your problem, mister? I’m just trying to get some shut-eye.

Stan: I’ve got to pick up a very important person for work soon, and I can’t have your drool on my shirt. (He points to a splotch of dark brown on his collar.)

Rony: Oh sorry, I can’t breathe through my nose, so I drool a lot. Not as much as some of the Magic cheerleaders make me, though. (Laughs.) Know what I mean?

Stan: I do, but it’s uncouth.

Rony: What’s uncouth?

Stan: Nothing.

Rony: Do you like the Magic? (Glances at Stan’s clothes.) The Magic are a basketball team in Orlando.

Stan: I know. I work for them.

Rony: Oh WOW. Nice to meet you. (Grabs Stan’s hand and and shakes it aggressively.)

Stan: (Pointedly wipes hand on shirt sleeve.)

Rony: What do you do? (Assesses his outfit.) I’ll bet you’re in the marketing department, or you look after the books?

Stan: (Stan was an accountant, but he didn’t like the implication, so he lied.) No, I arrange travel for players and do the leg work when they need to be picked up or transported somewhere for a team event near Orlando.

Rony: So you’re a lackey?

Stan: No. (More angry.) It’s an important position. (… one where I am compensated handsomely and which affords me a certain amount of respect within the organization and from the public at large, he didn’t add, but wanted to.)

Rony: Awesome man. (Attempts to slap five with Stan and is met with a blank stare.) Do you know Tobias Harris? Where has he been?

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