Magic mid-season report

The Orlando Magic reached the halfway point of their season with a record of 17 wins and 24 losses. They are still somewhat in the hunt for the last Playoffs spot in the Eastern Conference. The Magic sit three and a half games behind the eighth place Washington Wizards.

Positives for the Magic include Nikola Vucevic (who has improved his defensive rating under Head Coach Frank Vogel) and off-season acquisition Serge Ibaka.

Is it possible for the Magic to be better NOW? Are they in touch with reality? Who are the five most efficient at each position? And, which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? These are the questions we will answer in our Hoop Obsession mid-season report.

Vucevic is playing better defense under Frank Vogel.

The Magic are in the middle of the pack defensively but their offense is often abysmal. Their major problem is a deficiency in three-point accuracy from their point guards and small forwards.

While we still have hope for Aaron Gordon's overall game, he is not yet at a point where he can consistently stretch defenses with his perimeter shooting. But Gordon does continue to show improvement from long range. He shot 27% from deep as a rookie, 29% in year two, and is now at 32%.

Gordon's backup, Jeff Green has been nothing short of terrible in 2016-17. Green, a career 33% 3-pt. shooter is making just 29% of his attempts from beyond the arc. Green's efficiency rating is only better than C.J. Watson's among Magic payers who have logged over 300 minutes.

Meanwhile, Mario Hezonja has been worse than Green. The second year pro's lack of efficiency makes him virtually un-playable at this stage of his career.

Elfrid Payton, the Magic's starting point guard, is just a 26% three point shooter, and he struggles at the free throw line (61.6%). The rest of his game is solid.

Are the Magic in touch with their reality?

The answer to the question above is murky. I think the Magic really thought they were ready to take the next step as a franchise. Last season, they were 35-47 (eleventh in the East). Orlando spent money to sign Bismack Biyombo. He is making $17 million this season. They traded away Victor Oladipo to get the more experienced Serge Ibaka. Evan Fournier is making $17 million. Jeff Green is making $15 million this season. The salaries are in line with what a winning team pays out. But the Magic are not winning.

We believe Orlando could really improve themselves with a few tweaks. The Magic should buy-out Jeff Green. I would say they should trade him but who would want him?

Next, Orlando needs to find another small forward to either start in front of, or back up Aaron Gordon. We also think the Magic could use a backup at the "four" spot.

Until the above moves can be made, Orlando might be wise to try a lineup with Fournier at small forward. The logical solution there would be to insert Jodie Meeks into the starting crew at shooting guard. With Meeks, Fournier and Ibaka on the floor together, Payton's lack of shooting would be less pronounced.

Five most efficient by position

PG - Elfrid Payton .493, SG - Evan Fournier .427, SF - * Aaron Gordon .424, PF - Serge Ibaka .582, C Nikola Vucevic .687

* Gordon does not meet our minimum shooting percentage requirements to play small forward effectively.

Which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? (players w/ 300 minutes played minimum)

The Magic TEAM defensive rating is 108.2 (16th of 30). The players with defensive ratings better than the team average: Nikola Vucevic 103, Bismack Biyombo 106, Serge Ibaka 107, Jodie Meeks 107.


NBA related. Trade targets.