10 Key Orlando Magic Stats Through Six Games

by Josh Cohen

Magic rank #1 in fewest turnovers

No surprise here considering Steve Clifford-coached teams always do well in this category. Charlotte ranked No. 1 in limiting turnovers in each of Clifford’s first four years coaching the Hornets, third in his final year. The last two seasons, the Magic have ranked in the top five. So far in 2020-21, Orlando is averaging just 11.7 turnovers per game.

Magic rank #30 in 3-pointers made

Injuries to Orlando’s top shooters have factored into this. Terrence Ross missed Thursday’s game against the Sixers and Evan Fournier sat out Saturday’s contest against the Thunder. Averaging just nine made 3-pointers, the Magic are the only team in the NBA averaging fewer than 10 per game. One of the team’s best outside shooters to this point has been Nikola Vucevic, who has knocked down 48.5 percent of his tries from beyond the arc.

Magic rank #30 in blocks

Rim protection figured to be a weakness for the Magic with Jonathan Isaac out the entire year. Mo Bamba, one of the NBA’s best shot blockers, hasn’t played in a game yet, so perhaps when he returns, Orlando will move up in this category. At the moment, the Magic are averaging 2.5 blocks per game, three fewer than last season when they ranked eighth.

Magic rank #3 in driving field goal attempts

The Magic have made a concerted effort to get into the paint and attack the basket. They are averaging 23.5 shots on drives, with Markelle Fultz averaging 7.2 of them, ninth most in the league. Finishing on drives needs to improve, however, as Orlando has only made 46.1 percent of these attempts, which ranks 21st.

Vucevic ranks #1 in roll-man scoring

Orlando’s 7-footer ranked third in this area each of the last two seasons, so this isn’t a shocker. An argument can be made that Vucevic, now in his ninth season with the Magic, is the league’s most complete offensive center. He is scoring from all three levels at a truly remarkable clip. Through six games, he is shooting 52 percent from the field overall, 82 percent on shots within three feet of the basket, 56 percent between 10 and 16 feet out, 50 percent from 16 feet all the way to the 3-point line and nearly 49 percent on his 3-point tries. The only area of the floor where he has struggled is from three to 10 feet out (41 percent).

Ross ranks #1 in bench scoring

Less than two weeks of the season has gone by but right now the Sixth Man of the Year Award favorite has to be Ross, who is averaging 22.0 points on 49.4 percent shooting overall and 43.8 percent from downtown. The only other players in the conversation for this honor at the moment, which obviously will change as the season evolves, are Goran Dragic, Anthony Edwards, Cameron Johnson, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Caris LeVert.

Magic rank #2 in opponent fast break points

This is another area Clifford-coached teams always thrive in. While in Charlotte, Clifford’s Hornets ranked in the top three in opponent fast break points in each of his first two seasons and in the top 15 in all of five of them. Two years ago, Clifford’s first as head coach in Orlando, the Magic ranked ninth in this category. Last season, they were fourth. At the moment, Orlando is giving up just 8.8 fast break points, second fewest in the league.

Magic rank 26th in opponent points in the paint

This is the most concerning aspect of the Magic’s defense. Again, not having Isaac is a factor, but right now Orlando is allowing 51 points in the paint, five more than last season when they ranked ninth. The most glaring flaw to this point has been the Magic’s inability to keep ball handlers in front of them, as many have been able to get to the basket without much resistance.

Magic tied for #1 in fourth-quarter scoring

A big storyline when the Magic started the season 4-0 was their excellence in fourth quarters. While that wasn’t the case in their most recent game against the Thunder, the Magic currently are tied with the Bucks for the most points scored in the final frame (31.0). In their second meeting against the Wizards, the Magic overcame a 17-point deficit to start the quarter, which was the franchise’s third largest fourth-quarter comeback win since the 1996-97 season, per Sportradar.

Magic rank #1 in free throw percentage

It helps that the Magic don’t really have a poor free throw shooter on the roster. Even though he’s only shooting 64.7 percent from the stripe this year, Vucevic is typically above average in this area for a center. Fournier and Ross are outstanding free throw shooters and Fultz, who earlier in his career struggled at the stripe, has become a reliable shooter at the line. At the moment, Orlando is shooting 82.2 percent from the line and they are averaging 24.3 attempts per game, 11th most in the league.

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