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Orlando Magic 2014-15 Thread

Originally posted by VaBeachNiner:
Originally posted by jrg:
Well, that was a close game...

New Orleans - 81

Magic - 135

3-0

Looking good in the preseason so far.

So did the Niners....
Originally posted by TheSixthRing:
Originally posted by VaBeachNiner:
Originally posted by jrg:
Well, that was a close game...

New Orleans - 81

Magic - 135

3-0

Looking good in the preseason so far.

So did the Niners....

Lol
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Originally posted by TheSixthRing:
Originally posted by VaBeachNiner:
Originally posted by jrg:
Well, that was a close game...

New Orleans - 81

Magic - 135

3-0

Looking good in the preseason so far.

So did the Niners....



Me like the new arena.
  • jrg
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Originally posted by VaBeachNiner:


Me like the new arena.

That was bad ass.
Originally posted by jrg:
Originally posted by VaBeachNiner:


Me like the new arena.

That was bad ass.

WTF is that mascot thing?
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Originally posted by StOnEy333:
Originally posted by jrg:
Originally posted by VaBeachNiner:


Me like the new arena.

That was bad ass.

WTF is that mascot thing?

His name is "Stuff" and he is the worst mascot in the history of mascots.

Originally posted by jrg:
Originally posted by StOnEy333:
Originally posted by jrg:
Originally posted by VaBeachNiner:


Me like the new arena.

That was bad ass.

WTF is that mascot thing?

His name is "Stuff" and he is the worst mascot in the history of mascots.


Stuff?
  • jrg
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Originally posted by StOnEy333:
Originally posted by jrg:
Originally posted by StOnEy333:
Originally posted by jrg:
Originally posted by VaBeachNiner:


Me like the new arena.

That was bad ass.

WTF is that mascot thing?

His name is "Stuff" and he is the worst mascot in the history of mascots.


Stuff?

Yeah, it's embarrassing. Only thing that makes me feel better about is...what can you possibly have as a mascot for a team named "Magic"? Only thing that comes to mind for me is a Wizard...and well...Washington has that. Lol

[ Edited by jrg on Oct 11, 2010 at 12:54:47 ]
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Video: Stan Van Gundy says people don’t realize how good Vanilla Gorilla is

Because Ryan Anderson’s a three-point shooting big man, he doesn’t get enough credit for his ability to rebound and score inside, Stan Van Gundy says. He added that Anderson’s the second-best rebounder on the team — a statement that people may be surprised to hear considering he plays on the same team as Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass.

After the jump, there’s video of Anderson reacting to Van Gundy’s comments.

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_magic/2010/10/video-stan-van-gundy-says-people-dont-realize-how-good-ryan-anderson-is.html
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Last year’s record: 59-23
Key losses: Matt Barnes, Adonal Foyle, Anthony Johnson
Key additions: Malik Allen, Chris Duhon, Daniel Orton, Quentin Richardson, Stanley Robinson
Playbook: Posted below

What significant moves were made during the off-season?
Despite rumblings that the Orlando Magic were in the running to acquire Gilbert Arenas, then Chris Paul, then Carmelo Anthony, general manager Otis Smith resisted shaking up the core because he felt that the roster needed tweaks and adjustments, not wholesale changes. Hence the additions of Quentin Richardson and Chris Duhon, who are expected to serve as upgrades from the players they replaced in head coach Stan Van Gundy’s rotation — Matt Barnes and Jason Williams, respectively.

Richardson, eloquently known as Q, is expected to be a better fit in the Magic’s 4-out/1-in offensive scheme than Barnes. Richardson’s ability to hit three-pointers at a proficient rate (36 percent for his career) is key for Orlando because it’ll make it difficult for opposing defenses to cheat off of him as they did with Barnes. There are a myriad of reasons why the Magic lost to the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals last season but rest assured, Barnes’ failure to make threes with consistency — allowing the Celtics to sag off him — was one of them.

With Richardson, that problem is solved in theory. Likewise, Richardson is a much more versatile player offensively than Barnes. No, you’re not going to see Richardson break down his defender off the dribble any time soon, but you will see him involved in post-ups on the low block. Richardson has the strength and size to exploit smaller guards when the matchups present themselves, which is a new wrinkle in Orlando’s offense that wasn’t available to them last year. When Richardson isn’t busy doing that, he’ll display his spot-up shooting prowess for all the world to see.

Defensively, the Magic shouldn’t miss a beat with Richardson at the small forward position. Last season, Barnes was inaccurately pegged as Orlando’s best perimeter defender (that designation goes to Mickael Pietrus) and his exploits were overrated, partly due to his antics against Paul Pierce, Kobe Bryant, and others in marquee games. Those scuffles were seen as displays of “toughness” but they didn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. Pierce blitzed the Magic in the playoffs, and there wasn’t much Barnes could do to stop him. That being said, Richardson is a capable defender at small forward and despite being undersized, he makes up for it with his physical frame. Also, Richardson is nearly as good of a rebounder as Barnes.

As for Chris Duhon, his value comes primarily from what he offers on defense. Duhon thrived defensively when he was with the Chicago Bulls under then-head coach Scott Skiles, and now he’s in a similar situation with Van Gundy who eats, breathes, and sweats defense. With Dwight Howard and even Marcin Gortat as the anchors defensively, Duhon should be able to make an impact on that end of the floor. Plus, Duhon should be able to thrive in Orlando’s system offensively because of his ability to execute the pick and roll with effectiveness. That skill-set, which he acquired while he played under head coach Mike D’Antoni with the New York Knicks, will come in handy. Duhon is a good three-point shooter also, so that works out in his favor as well.

And a significant move, that may not be seen as one, was the fact that Smith didn’t make a major transaction in the off-season. While the Miami Heat were forming like Voltron by signing LeBron James and Chris Bosh in free agency to pair with Dwyane Wade and the Boston Celtics felt one O’Neal wasn’t enough, but signed two of them (Jermaine and Shaquille), the Magic stood pat. That strategy irked some Magic fans, who felt that Orlando was being left in the dust by the moves made by Miami and Boston. But lest those same people forget that the Magic were the darlings of the summer last year and it didn’t get them a title.

Smith’s patient approach should pay dividends for Orlando because it allows second-year players like Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass, and Vince Carter to further get acclimated under Van Gundy, while maintaining the continuity and familiarity that was lacking at times last year. A lot isn’t said about the Magic’s chemistry in their NBA Finals run two seasons ago, but it’s a big reason why they got that far in the postseason that year. The hope is that better chemistry, combined with internal improvement from the roster, is an upgrade in itself and enough to put Orlando over the top.

What are the team’s biggest strengths?
The defense.

Since Van Gundy arrived in 2008, the Magic’s defense has been the staple of the team. It also helps that Howard has transformed into the NBA’s best defender in recent seasons, as exemplified by his back-to-back NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards. It starts with those two personalities, but it’s worth noting that every other player for Orlando buys into what Van Gundy is selling and is willing to put in the work defensively. Defense is a lot about effort and desire and for the Magic, they are not lacking in those departments. So what makes Orlando’s defense so good?

It starts and ends with Howard.

Last year, the Magic were first in the NBA in opponent effective field goal percentage, first in defensive rebound percentage, third in opponent free throw rate, and second in opponent’s field goal percentage at the rim.

Want more? Last season, opponents attempted 22.7 shots per game from 16-23 feet and nine shots per game from 10-15 feet. Orlando ranked third and first in those categories, respectively.

Howard has his fingerprints all over those rankings, folks.

Because of Howard, the Magic force teams to take the most inefficient shots in basketball. Just think of the common scenario where someone attacks the basket against Howard, sees him, and has to either pull up earlier than expected for a jumpshot or alter their foray at the rim. Howard’s presence is felt in so many ways, it’s a shame that people don’t celebrate defense as much as they do in the mainstream media. Face it, Howard is the LeBron of defense. His impact is that seismic.

The offense, in contrast, thrives on taking the most efficient shots available (the three-pointer, the layup, and the free-throw). Last year, Orlando was first in three-pointers attempted, fifth in shots at the rim, and seventh in free-throw rate. Everyone always wants to talk about the Magic taking a ton of threes but it’s by design. Orlando doesn’t take threes just to take them, they seek out the corner three in their offensive sets because it’s the most efficient three-pointer to attempt.

As such, the Magic’s penchant for efficiency on offense also makes it a strength.

Of course, Orlando’s greatest identity is their 4-out/1-in offensive scheme. It creates a myriad of matchup problems for teams because Rashard Lewis is, arguably, the best stretch four in the NBA due to his ability to hit three-pointers with such great proficiency. Of course, the scheme has been shut down by teams that are able to single-cover Howard and account for all the shooters on the court. That may change this year for the Magic. Why?

We finally may be witnessing an evolution in Howard’s offense, thanks to his off-season workouts with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston. Howard has developed a newfound confidence in his mid-range jumper, thanks to Olajuwon, and he’s made an effort to expand his offensive repertoire to include more moves and countermoves in the low post. Add to the fact that Howard has improved his footwork, and everything is shaping up for him to have his finest year on offense.

Another strength on offense is Orlando’s ability to use a variety of pick and roll variations.

Typically, the Magic execute their pick and rolls with either Nelson or Carter as the ball handler and Howard as the roll man. Once in a while, Nelson and Carter will engage in pick and rolls. Can’t forget about the pick and pops with Lewis, either. Additionally, Van Gundy is making a concerted effort to add more post up opportunities for Carter, Richardson, and Lewis alongside Howard.

Unpredictability in the offense is something that Van Gundy is stressing this season.

What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?
It’s not so much that the Magic can’t score with their perimeter players, but when Orlando needs a bucket, who do you give it to? Carter? Nelson? See the problem?

Nelson has proven he can be a go-to guy for the Magic on the perimeter, but the problem is that he can’t do it consistently enough. No one is sure if Carter can fulfill that responsibility, for the simple fact that he’s no longer the player that he once was. Yeah, Nelson and Carter can create shots for themselves but they don’t get to the free-throw line a lot, like a Wade or a Pierce, which makes their margin of error to score much higher than it needs to be.

This is where Howard’s evolution needs to be completed, to mask this weakness for the Magic. If Howard can become the go-to scorer for Orlando, something that he’s always been capable of doing, then the Magic should be fine. But if he can’t, then there are going to be times when Orlando will be looking for someone to score and having a hard time getting the result that they want.

What are the goals for this team?
Win a championship.

Predicted record?
60-22
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Playbook: The Corner Three-Pointer



Over the last three years, the three-point shot has been used by the Orlando Magic as one of the primary weapons of choice in their offensive attack. There are many critics that bemoan head coach Stan Van Gundy‘s dependence of the three-pointer in the Magic’s philosophy on offense, yet they ignore the fact that threes are one of the most efficient shots in basketball — to be more specific, the corner three.

Why take a long two?

It’s no coincidence, then, that Orlando led the NBA in three-pointers made and attempted, while also putting up less shots from 16-23 feet than any other team. It should be noted that the Houston Rockets, noted for their basketball analytics, were second in the latter category. The Magic, too, dedicate themselves to the numbers, so there’s a method to the madness when it comes to their three-point happy ways.

A lot of people assume that the method primarily surrounds just chucking up threes and seeing what happens, but that’s not the case. Orlando makes an effort to seek out the corner three-pointer when executing some of their sets offensively. It’s why the Boston Celtics, in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, made sure to not allow the Magic to get those shots.

It’s an easy thing to overlook because nearly everyone remembers the end result when it comes to certain plays. But like Bret “Hitman” Hart, Orlando takes pride in the excellence of execution. There is a grand design taking place when the Magic go through the motions on each possession on offense, trying to find the optimum shot to take as the situation presents itself.

How does Orlando maneuver the offense to create corner three-point shots?

Usually either from kick-outs in 4-out/1-in offensive sets or drive-and-kicks in pick and rolls.

The key for the Magic in manufacturing corner threes is the ball movement. When reversing the basketball from side to side on the perimeter, the passing must be crisp or else the shooters for Orlando are going to be hoisting a lot of contested three-pointers, which are low percentage shots.

The Celtics’ strategy of staying home on players like Rashard Lewis allowed them to win the series, but it’s easier said than done. If there’s one team in the 2010 NBA Playoffs that learned the hard way, it was the Atlanta Hawks. Head coach Mike Woodson’s switching defense got, dare I say, flat-out butchered.


Example 1:

Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard execute a 1/5 pick and roll. The penetration by Nelson is enough for Lewis to get an open look at a corner three, even though Al Horford is running at him with his hands in the air.


Example 2:

On this possession, J.J. Redick runs a 2/5 pick and roll with Howard. This is a prime example of the Magic’s ability to reverse the basketball in the blink of an eye. Two passes and Mickael Pietrus does the rest, swishing the three-pointer.


Example 3:

Same as Example 1.


Example 4:

Same as Examples 2 and 3.


Example 5:

This is a 4-out/1-in offensive set for Howard. It’s concert in motion. Josh Smith double-teams Howard … sort of. As that is happening, Matt Barnes cuts to the basket and forces Joe Johnson to rotate on him. Howard kicks the ball out to Lewis and Vince Carter sets himself up for a three-point shot. Johnson tries to recover and put a hand in Carter’s face, but it’s not good enough.

In games, this is a common result for the Magic.
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Playbook: The 1/2 Pick and Roll



The Orlando Magic have a number of pick and roll variations in their playbook. This is not a new revelation. Yet there’s one variation, in particular, that has proven to be lethal in specific situations for the Magic and that’s the 1/2 pick and roll with Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter.

Carter’s career-worst swoon in January was well-documented, as he was unable to do much of anything on offense. However, Carter’s former head coach with the New Jersey Nets — Lawrence Frank — paid a visit to Orlando in early February as a guest of head coach Stan Van Gundy to share his knowledge with the coaching staff and provide a different perspective on things. The irony is that Van Gundy intended for Frank to come sooner, but things couldn’t be worked out with both parties in either December or January. Talk about perfect timing, eh?

Hence the addition of the 1/2 pick and roll in the middle of the regular season, which was a play that Carter was familiar with from his time with the Nets.

And in the fourth quarter of a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in late February, the 1/2 pick and roll was unveiled by Van Gundy.

Boy, did it work.


One of the main reasons that the 1/2 pick and roll is extremely successful is because Carter is a very underrated low post player. Even though Carter’s athleticism isn’t what it once was, he still has the requisite strength to exploit smaller guards on the low block and score with relative ease. It’s partly because of the 1/2 pick and roll that Carter was able to hit his stride with Orlando after the All-Star break and snap out of his funk.

The play is, more or less, intended for Carter but Nelson is able to be aggressive offensively if he chooses to do so.


Example 1:

On this possession, Jawad Williams is defending Carter. Mo Williams is notorious for struggling defensively on pick and rolls, and this is where the Magic strike with the first of many 1/2 pick and rolls. The defense by both Williamses is bad, and Carter is able to get a highlight-reel dunk.


Example 2:

On the very next possession, Carter is being defended by Anthony Parker. Nelson tries to run the 1/2 pick and roll several times, but the Cavaliers do an excellent job of foiling the play. However, Nelson makes a very tough shot — another example that great offense usually beats great defense.

If there’s one thing to note, it’s that Williams gave Nelson just enough space on the play for him to make the jumper.


Example 3:

The same personnel is defending the 1/2 pick and roll for Cleveland and once again, they’re able to stop the play after the first couple of attempts. But with the shot-clock winding down, Carter is able to make a difficult fadeaway.

That’s a superstar shot, folks.


Example 4:

This time, Nelson does the task of breaking down the Cavaliers’ pick and roll defense. Parker shows on the play, but he’s late in getting back and Carter is able to connect on a lefty layup. Degree of difficulty? Low.


Example 5:

With the game in the balance, head coach Mike Brown made a wise decision and elected to assign LeBron James on Nelson to anticipate the switch on the 1/2 pick and roll. As expected, James switches on Carter and leaves Parker to defend Nelson on the perimeter. Unfortunately for Parker, he gives Nelson a little too much space to put up a shot. Nelson calmly nails the three-pointer.
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Playbook: The 2/5 Pick and Roll



In 2009, the 3/5 pick and roll with Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard was one of the centerpieces of the Orlando Magic‘s offense. With Turkoglu’s departure and Vince Carter‘s arrival, the 2/5 pick and roll became the flavor de jure for the Magic.

Carter’s involvement in the pick and roll not only initiated the offense for Orlando but the play was also used for him to score. Carter takes, and is still taking, a lot of heat for his underwhelming performance in the 2010 NBA Playoffs, but there’s no denying that he was an efficient force in pick and rolls. Yes, Carter settled for too many jumpers and didn’t attack the basket as much as he should have offensively, yet he usually got the job done in the 2/5 pick and roll with Howard.

Usually.

Hopefully the comparisons with Carter and Turkoglu have been put to rest. But if there’s one thing to point out between the two players when they anchored — along with Jameer Nelson — the pick and rolls, Carter took much better care of the basketball than Turkoglu did. And that means something because Carter wasn’t wasting many possessions, even if the end game (a long two-point jumper) wasn’t the result that many Magic fans desired.

With Carter at the helm last season, the Magic were more efficient on offense during the regular season than they were in 2009. This isn’t to state that Carter was the sole reason for this phenomena, though he was one of the reasons.


The 2/5 pick and roll is a very simple play, yet it has devastating effects on opposing defenses because of the personnel on the court for Orlando. Carter is the headliner of the concert and players like Nelson and Rashard Lewis are the supporting acts, because of their abilities to spot up on the perimeter. As for Howard, he is the engineer that makes it all go with his screens.

To be specific, the Magic run side pick and rolls — meaning they run them on either the left or right side of the floor. As has been stated before, note the excellent spacing by the shooters.


Example 1:

A 2/5 pick and roll on the right side with Marcin Gortat as the screener. The Atlanta Hawks defend this fairly well since Joe Johnson rotates properly to cover Carter on the play, yet Marvin Williams is late in recovering on Mickael Pietrus. Even though Carter does make the floater, he might have been better off passing it to Pietrus for the open three. It’s, admittedly, a nit-picky observation.


Example 2:

A 2/5 pick and roll on the left side with Howard as the screener. Howard does just enough to clip Williams as he goes over the screen and once again, Johnson does a good job of rotating onto Carter. However, this is where Carter’s athleticism (even if it’s waning) allows him to finish strong at the rim. For Magic fans, these are the types of plays they’d like to see more from Carter.


Example 3:

Same play, different side. This time, Carter elects to settle for the fadeaway jumper. The degree of difficult on this shot is high, yet Carter makes it.


Example 4:

This possession is similar to Example 2, yet the Hawks do a horrendous job of rotating on Carter as he comes off the screen that is set by Howard. The befuddlement is amusing, to be frank. Oh yeah, and Carter dunks the ball.


Example 5:

This is where Orlando’s spacing comes into the forefront. The sole reason that Lewis has an open look at a three-pointer is because Carter was aggressive in attacking the basket on earlier possessions. As such, Johnson creeps towards Carter as he’s about to execute the pick and roll. Lewis is left open and drills the three.
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Playbook: The 1/5 Pick and Roll



The 4-out/1-in offensive scheme that the Orlando Magic employ is the foundation of an offense that features Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, and others. But there are also other plays that the Magic run with frequent regularity.

Like the 1/5 pick and roll.

The pick and roll is like a common household appliance — every team in the NBA runs it to varying degrees of success. The analogy is probably not the best one, but the point is that pick and rolls are the bread-and-butter of many offenses in the league. Head coach Stan Van Gundy has made it his job to utilize the pick and roll as much as possible. And its worked for Orlando.

Up to this point, the Magic of this era are best-known for riding the 3/5 pick and roll with Hedo Turkoglu and Howard all the way to the NBA Finals in 2009. The zenith of the play’s effectiveness was displayed against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, where Turkoglu had a field day initiating Orlando’s offense from the pick and roll. The Cavaliers were helpless to stop it.

However, a lot of people forget the devastation caused by the 1/5 pick and roll with Nelson and Howard in the first half of the 2008-2009 regular season. Before Nelson suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder, he was the proprietor of the pick and roll and it fueled his All-Star campaign. After Nelson got hurt, it took a while for him to get back to that same level but he reached it in the 2010 NBA Playoffs.

That’s where the 1/5 pick and roll will be examined.


To clarify, the number designation for pick and rolls is based on the player’s position on the court. Point guard is 1, shooting guard is 2, and so on and so forth.

The primary purpose of the 1/5 pick and roll is to get Nelson or Howard involved on offense. However, there are secondary purposes to the play and that’s to generate some looks for players like Rashard Lewis, who often find themselves in catch-and-shoot situations. That’s one of the main reasons why the Magic employ so many shooters, so that they’re ready to put up a shot as Nelson probes into the lane and forces the defense to collapse on him.

Notice the spacing on each of these examples, too. It’s always superb.


Example 1:

This is a standard 1/5 pick and roll, in which Howard receives the basketball and dunks it with authority. Notice the spacing on the play, however. If Howard wanted to, he could flip a pass to Vince Carter or Lewis for an open three-pointer.


Example 2:

This is a variation of the 1/5 pick and roll, and a play that was seen a lot in Orlando’s series against the Boston Celtics in Games 4 and 5. Lewis sets a staggered screen, alongside Howard, to free up space for Nelson to navigate himself. Rajon Rondo gets caught by Lewis’ screen and Nelson is able to put up a three-point shot without any disruption. This is one of the reasons why Nelson is an excellent fit at point guard, because of his ability to hit threes with proficiency.

The staggered 1/5 pick and rolls were the key to the Magic’s two victories against the Celtics.


Example 3:

This is another staggered 1/5 pick and roll, but Nelson decides to utilize Howard’s screen and dribble penetrate. As Nelson gets near the basket, Boston’s defense collapse on him and that allows Matt Barnes a clean look at a three-pointer in the corner. Barnes delivers but now that scenario becomes more effective in the future, with Quentin Richardson on board.


Example 4:

On this possession, Orlando runs another standard 1/5 pick and roll. Nelson does a great job of using Howard as a shield against Tony Allen, providing himself enough space to put up an uncontested jumper just inside the three-point line.


Example 5:

A standard 1/5 pick and roll, in which Lewis spots-up in the corner for a three. If you pause the video, all five defenders for Boston converge on Nelson as he kicks it out to Lewis.

This is execution at its finest.