Denton's Notebook: March 23, 2012
By John Denton
March 21, 2012
ORLANDO – Leave it up to Duke-educated J.J. Redick to mix economics and basketball when talking about the flow of the Orlando Magic’s offense.
Redick, Orlando’s top reserve, is one of six Magic players averaging double figures in scoring this season. The Magic have one of the most dominant players in the game in all-star center Dwight Howard, but they are at their best when they are sharing the ball. Orlando is 17-3 when they have five players in double figures and 7-0 when they have six players in double figures in scoring.
``In a way, we’re very good when we play like socialists. When the wealth is spread around and we have six or seven guys in double figures with 10 to 18 points. That’s when we’re at our best,’’ said Redick, the Magic’s most well-read player. ``It’s all about us staying with what we do. We don’t go into games and (head coach) Stan (Van Gundy) doesn’t think that he has to get Ryan (Anderson) 15 shots or Dwight 15 shots. We just have to play within our system.’’
Redick said the Magic’s desire to share the ball is about much more than simply making it more difficult for teams to defend them. Quite simply, the vibe on the team and the flow of the offense is just better when the ball is moving and not sticking in one spot, Redick said.
``The general thought is that we want to play that way because it means teams have to pick their poison. But it also means that we’re playing the right way,’’ Redick said. ``We can come down and throw it into Dwight or run a pick-and-roll, but that’s not really helping our team. We’ve talked about staying with our system, moving the ball side-to-side and running multiple pick and rolls. We don’t want to just come down and run against set defenses, so we’re better when we’re moving the ball.’’
WAFER WAITS: There have been times this season when Von Wafer helped kick-start the Magic’s offense with his explosive first step and his ability to put up points in bunches. He’s scored in double digits four times, and filled in nicely at times at shooting guard when Jason Richardson was injured.
But Wafer has fallen out of favor as Van Gundy opted instead for Redick and Quentin Richardson to back up Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu. Van Gundy not only said that he had no intentions of playing more than two players at a position, he also said he’d likely opt for rookie DeAndre Liggins ahead of Wafer at this point in the season.
``It’s not a problem on his part,’’ Van Gundy said of Wafer. ``I just don’t have him in my rotation ahead of those guys. I think those guys are more experienced guys. I think those guys make fewer mistakes at both ends.
``I think Von is maybe the best individual scorer we have on the perimeter, and if games like Chicago become a habit, then I think we have to look seriously about inserting Von in there to play more,’’ Van Gundy continued. ``I like what Von has done. I like his approach in practice. I like the fact that he’s trying to get better. I like the fact that he’s keeping himself ready.’’
ETC: With the Magic 5.5 games back of the second seed and 3.5 games up on the fifth seed, it’s looking more and more like they will enter the playoffs at the end of April as the East’s No. 3 seed. The two has already started looking ahead to the team it could face in the first round – and for now the prospects are particularly encouraging. Atlanta is currently in sixth and the Hawks are 2-0 this season against Orlando and knocked the Magic out of the playoffs last spring. Boston is 1.5 games back of Atlanta and the Celtics are 2-0 this season against the Magic. Said Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis of a potential matchup with the Celtics: ``I know what they’re thinking on that side. They’re probably licking their chops. But, hey, we’re a team that can play. We know we can play. We know we can beat them.’’ … For a second time this season, Van Gundy had the highest of praise for Cleveland rookie point guard Kyrie Irving, the top pick in the NBA Draft last June. Van Gundy said Irving strikes as much fear into his as the game’s best point guards such as Chris Paul, Derrick Rose or Deron Williams. Said Van Gundy: ``This guy’s a great player, and what’s amazing is you don’t feel like when you’re watching him that you’re watching a young player. It looks like you’re watching a great veteran player. The plays he makes, the demeanor he has on the floor, the way he interacts with his teammates, his decision-making, everything.’’ … The Magic won’t play a game this weekend, but the team will attend the OMYF Gala at the Amway Center. The Magic play in Toronto on Monday and in New York on Wednesday. They host the World Champion Dallas Mavericks on Friday at the Amway Center.
John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997 and recently authored ``All You Can Be’’ with Magic center Dwight Howard. E-mail John at firstname.lastname@example.org
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