Posted Dec 2 2011 12:39PM
To get ready for the 2011-12 season, NBA.com StatsCube breaks down the critical numbers for all 30 teams.
It was just two years ago when the Orlando Magic were playing in The Finals with a star center who was just 23 years old at the time. Needless to say, the future looked pretty bright.
Now, after a seven-game drop in the standings and an early exit from the playoffs, the Magic are seemingly stuck in no-man's land, with a bloated payroll and little chance of contending for a title if they don't make changes to their roster.
Pace: 93.5 (18)
OffRtg: 105.7 (10)
DefRtg: 99.1 (3)
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
The numbers paint a prettier picture of the Magic's '10-11 season. They had the league's fifth-best point differential (+6.6 points per 100 possessions) and were one of only four teams (the Heat, Lakers and Mavs were the others) that finished in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
The season saw two very different Orlando rosters, thanks to a pair of trades that general manager Otis Smith pulled off on Dec. 18. The two trades swapped four rotation players (Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus) for another four.
And amazingly, the numbers of the post-trade Magic very closely resembled those of the pre-trade Magic. Essentially, the two deals didn't make much of a difference on the floor.
|Magic efficiency, before and after trade|
The four guys the Magic acquired on Dec. 18 -- Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas and Earl Clark -- combined to shoot just 42 percent from the field with Orlando, but the offense was still more efficient after the deal. And it may be because the new guys helped Howard become more efficient via better ball movement.
Before the trade, Howard was assisted on just 46 percent of his field goals and had a *true shooting percentage of 59.1 percent. After the trade, he was assisted on 56 percent of his field goals and had a true shooting percentage of 62.7 percent. Turkoglu had more than a third of the assists to Howard after the deal.
*True shooting percentage = Points / (2*(FGA + (0.44*FTA)))
As a team, the Magic assisted on just 52 percent of their field goals before the trade (third lowest rate in the league) and assisted on 57 percent of their buckets after the trade (18th highest rate).
Finishing in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency is nothing new for Orlando. They've finished in the top 10 on both ends of the floor in each of the last four seasons, and are the only team in the league that can make that claim. Those four seasons, of course, coincide with Stan Van Gundy's tenure on the bench.
Howard had had a lot to with those numbers, too. He's the reigning Defensive Player of the Year the last three seasons running and has been just as responsible for the Magic's offensive success as he's been for their defense.
Howard has little range on his shot (just 108 of his 1,784 points came from outside the paint last season) and shoots less than 60 percent from the free-throw line, but he's still the best offensive center in the league and his presence results in plenty of open shots for his teammates.
In fact, the numbers indicate that Howard has made more of an impact offensively than he has defensively over the last four years.
|Magic efficiency last four seasons|
|eFG% = Effective field goal percentage = (FGM + (0.5*3PM)) / FGA|
Because they were strong on both ends of the floor, it's difficult to find holes in the Magic's rotation. The starting lineup that they finished the season with was excellent, outscoring its opponents by almost 11 points per 100 possessions in 630 minutes together.
And their three most used bench players -- Ryan Anderson, J.J. Redick and Arenas -- played well together as well. The Magic outscored their opponents by more than 13 points per 100 possessions in 390 minutes when all three were on the floor.
But the Magic didn't distribute those points well enough, often winning big and rarely losing big. Of their 52 wins, 33 came by double digits and nine came by 20 points or more. But 21 of their 30 losses were by less than 10 points.
Of the 181 players who attempted at least 500 shots last season, only one (Jason Kidd) had a worse field goal percentage than Arenas, who connected on 36.6 percent of his shots. And that number is aided by the 39.4 percent that Arenas shot before he was traded. He made a putrid 34.4 percent of his shots with the Magic.
Arenas shot poorly from both near and far. Of the 236 players who attempted at least 100 shots from the restricted area, he ranked 234th at 48.6 percent. And of the 167 players who attempted at least 100 3-pointers, he ranked 157th at 29.7 percent.
Arenas did shoot decently -- 41.7 percent, better than the league average of 40.0 percent -- from mid-range. And the Magic were just slightly below average offensively, scoring 104 points per 100 possessions, when he was on the floor.
Pace: 89.5 (9)
OffRtg: 99.5 (12)
DefRtg: 96.6 (1)
Yes, you read that right. The Magic lost to the Hawks in six games, but they had a positive point differential (thanks to a 25-point win in Game 5) and were the No. 1 defensive team of the postseason.
Over the four games that the Hawks won, the Magic grabbed five more rebounds and got to the line 19 more times than Atlanta. They even shot better from inside the arc. But the Magic, who shot 30 percent or better from 3-point range in 63 of their 82 regular season games, only shot at least 30 percent from beyond the arc in that blowout win. They shot just 23 percent from 3-point range in the four losses, which included a putrid 2-for-23 performance in Game 4.
|Lowest postseason 3-point percentage|
|Minimum 100 attempts|
Including a 1-4 mark in the postseason, the Magic were 7-17 when they failed to shoot 30 percent from 3-point range last year.
Howard's offensive impact goes well beyond his own scoring because of the attention he draws in the post. But if a team can defend him without bringing a double-team, they can limit the effectiveness of Howard's teammates.
And that's what the Hawks were able to do with Jason Collins defending Howard, both in the regular season and in the playoffs. Collins played 182 minutes over 10 games against the Magic last season, and his impact was clear. The Magic were more than 30 points per 100 possessions better offensively when Collins was on the bench.
|Magic efficiency vs. Atlanta, including postseason|
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