Film Room: Will Magic Have One of NBA's Top 3-Point Shooting Starting Backcourts in 2018-19?

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO – While the Magic’s frontcourt has extraordinary defensive potential, the team’s presumed starting backcourt is equipped to rank high in the 3-point shooting department.

Last season, D.J. Augustin led all point guards after the All-Star break in 3-point percentage (45.3) with a minimum of 100 attempts, while Evan Fournier shot 55.6 percent from downtown in October (seven games) and 48.6 percent in December (seven games).

Perhaps even more noteworthy, though, was how well they each shot the ball from distance when they were on the court together throughout 2017-18. Augustin and Fournier combined to shoot 39.9 percent from 3-point range when logging concurrent minutes.

Here are the 3-point percentages of some notable Eastern Conference backcourts from last season when they were on the floor at the same time:

Duo
Attempts
%
Victor Oladipo/Darren Collison
377
44.8
D.J. Augustin/Evan Fournier
213
39.9
John Wall/Bradley Beal
380
39.5
Kyrie Irving/Jaylen Brown
455
37.8
Goran Dragic/Tyler Johnson
335
37.6
George Hill/J.R. Smith
109
37.6
Kyle Lowry/DeMar DeRozan
743
36.7
Eric Bledsoe/Tony Snell
356
36.5
Kemba Walker/Nicolas Batum
645
36.3

Despite last year averaging a franchise-record 29.3 3-point attempts, the Magic didn’t make enough of them. In two straight seasons Orlando has ranked among the bottom three in the league in 3-point percentage.

Unlike the past couple years when Augustin spent the majority of the time backing up Elfrid Payton, the 30-year-old will now have a much more prominent role.

It’s become critical for point guards, especially starting point guards, to be reliable outside shooters, unless they have some extraordinary abilities in other facets of the game (such as Ben Simmons with his passing and size or Russell Westbrook with his speed and explosiveness).

Although Nikola Vucevic has extended his range, making 64 threes last season, and despite Aaron Gordon’s hot shooting start a year ago, the Magic’s frontcourt is not known for their perimeter shooting. That certainly could change, considering both Jonathan Isaac and Mohamed Bamba are developing and expanding their offensive repertoires.

Until all that ripens, the Magic will need Augustin and Fournier to be dependable from distance. A few years ago, Fournier was one of a few players in the entire league to shoot at least 50 percent from inside the arc, 40 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line, so we know he’s capable of being extremely efficient from all scoring levels.

Here’s a look at both Augustin and Fournier in action:

Note: The contents of this feature have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic and do not reflect the opinions of the Magic’s Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.

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