Steele: Trades Bringing Success

Sun Sports and FS Florida broadcaster David Steele is in the midst of his 22nd season of Orlando Magic basketball, and his 13th as the play-by-play announcer for the team's television broadcasts. He was named television play-by-play voice for the Orlando Magic in March of 1998 after handling radio play-by-play duties for the team's first nine seasons. Steele shares his unique take on what's happening with the Orlando Magic and more with his newest blog.

Posted by David Steele, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2010, 8:30 AM

Trades Bringing Success

The Magic kept up their recent winning ways with a 97-87 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday night at the Amway Center. That made it 7 straight for one of the hottest clubs in the NBA, and further validates the two bold trades that Magic GM Otis Smith pulled off just three and a-half weeks ago.

Since December 20th, with newcomers Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas and Earl Clark aboard, the Magic are 7-2. They have gone from being a very good defensive team, with a plodding, half-court offense, to a very good defensive team, with a fast-paced, high scoring offense. It is the biggest transformation since Robin Williams in “Tootsie.”

Before the trades the Magic were 21st in the NBA in scoring at 96.6 points per game. Since the trades they are averaging 102.4 points per game, a difference of almost six points per game.

Before the trades Orlando was shooting a respectable 36.3% from three-point range, 14th best in the league. Since the trades they are shooting a scorching 41.3% from beyond the arc, 3rd best in the NBA since December 20th.

Before the trades the Magic were 29th out of 30 teams in assists with a paltry 18.3 per game. Since the trades they are sharing the ball like a team that has been together for years, averaging 23.1 assists per game, 6th best in the league since December 20th.

And perhaps most importantly, Orlando has been transformed from a laborious, half-court offensive team into a running, up-tempo squad, constantly on the look for easy baskets. Before the trades the Magic averaged a league worst 7.6 fast break points per game. That number has doubled since the trades. 15.8 fast break points per game ranks 7th best in the NBA since December 20th.

Defensively there has been very little, if any dropoff.

Before the trades they ranked 4th in scoring defense, allowing 92.8 points per game. Since the trades they are allowing just .3 of a point more, 93.1 points per game. Not bad considering the faster pace, and their field goal defense has even improved from 44.3% before the trades to 42.1% after.

We are talking about just 9 games, but already it appears the Magic have greatly upgraded their team. Miami and Boston still present major obstacles in the east. Chicago is greatly improved and Atlanta is still a threat. But the Magic have to be feeling much better about their chances of returning to the Eastern Conference finals for the third consecutive year, and perhaps even making a run at their ultimate goal, that elusive NBA title.