The new Magic head coach, Frank Vogel, is defense oriented, previously coaching for the defensively stacked Indiana Pacers from 2011-2016. Though Vogel had success with the Pacers offensively and defensively, he was blessed by having one of the best two-way guards in the league in Paul George.
There is no Paul George on the Orlando Magic. There is not even a Victor Oladipo to rely on for instant offense. Instead, the team is stuck with weak sharp shooters and an abundance of big men. The Magic will be too defensively oriented to figure out a consistent offensive playbook, which then leads to a stall in any offensive movement. This leads to another forgettable season by the Orlando Magic.
Post offense and perimeter shooting are two major flaws the Orlando Magic needed to address during the offseason. There are too many front-heavy in the paint players for the forwards and centers to move comfortably.
Nikola Vucevic, Serge Ibaka, and Aaron Gordon clog up lanes. And without Gordon and Bismack Biyombo possessing a consistent perimeter shot, the space within the paint will become a mess. The Magic needed rim protectors last season, but now the team has too many. Not only are there problems in the paint, but on the perimeter as well.
The Magic did not take full advantage of free agency and the burgeoning cap space. Although paint presence is the main issue for the Orlando Magic, the lack of perimeter shooting mars both efficiency and scoring.
The point guards on the Magic’s roster are undersized and overstaffed by similar talents that bring no element of surprise to the floor. Respectively, C.J. Watson and D.J. Augustin are 6’2” and 6’0”, and both were performing below their career averages last season. Guards from other teams will be able to blow past these players, making both guards defensive liabilities on the court. Now, add Elfrid Payton’s horrendous shooting from the three-point arc – approximately 33% off of 1.3 shooting attempts a game – and there is a glaring hole in the Orlando Magic’s offensive artillery.
The guards’ shooting is weak and unimpressive. The league thrives on efficient shooting, especially beyond the three-point arc. Three pointers are proven to be a vital piece in a team’s offensive repertoire, and without multiple, consistent options on the perimeter, the Orlando Magic are doomed before the team even begins the regular season.
The team took only 22 three-pointers per game in the 2015-2016 season and made only 35% of those shots. In the modern league, shooting is a must. There is no way around it. And with the Magic getting rid of Victor Oladipo as well, shooting is a responsibility on the team that nobody, except Evan Fournier, can take or excel in this upcoming season.
New to the team Jeff Green, and Mario Hezonja, may get more touches to spread out the offense on the floor, but there is absolutely no way they will carry the offensive responsibility or make an immediate impact for the upcoming season.
The Orlando Magic made sensible individual moves. The team needed rim protection and rebounds, so the Magic acquired Biyombo and Ibaka. The team needed a reliable shooter that could cut and slash, so the Magic acquired Jeff Green. On paper, the trades do not look bad to the naked eye. However, the frontcourt is too top-heavy and the backcourt does not look promising. There is absolutely no expectation of Payton and Fournier dominating as a one-two punch in the Eastern Conference.
The separate pieces the Magic bought or traded for are logical only as individual entities. Collectively, the Magic are a conglomeration of pieces and components that will not harmonize on the floor. Various issues, spacing and offensive/defensive responsibilities, will become glaringly apparent from the start of the 2016-2017 season.
photo via llananba