With 10 games under the Orlando Magic's belt, I figured now would be a decent time to take a look at some of the numbers the team has accumulated from the start of the regular season to now. The resources I'll be using for analysis come from Basketball-Reference, Hoopdata, and 82games . Normally, I'd use BasketballValue as well but the 1 year adjusted plus/minus figures are plagued with high standard errors at the moment, which makes it tough to come to any meaningful conclusions from what the statistics show.
To make things easier for you, the reader, I'm going to split the post into sections for each site. Also, I want to clarify that I'm looking at offensive numbers at Basketball-Reference & Hoopdata and I'm looking at defensive numbers at 82games. That way there's no confusion.
Despite having to deal with foul trouble, nearly on a game-by-game basis, Howard has been able to post some impressive stats. Howard leads the squad in PER (26.9) and in the same category, ranks 5th in the NBA as of November 15th. Likewise, Howard's offensive numbers are excellent - TS% (66.9%), eFG% (65.7%), and Offensive Rating (120) - as well. For all the talk about Howard's rebound and block totals, his total rebound percentage is 20.2%, which isn't far off from his total from last year (21.8%), and his block percentage is 4.4%, which matches his career total (4.2%). Perhaps Howard's blocking statistics this past season (5.9%) were an outlier or he's simply off to a slow start. Tough to say.
As for Jameer Nelson, he's been inconsistent, so far. Nelson has shown flashes of the brilliance that made him an All-Star last year, but for the most part, his numbers have not reflected that. Nelson's PER is above-average (16.4) but his shooting percentages have been roughly average - TS% (53.5%), eFG% (50.0%) - and he hasn't been efficient, with an Offensive Rating of 106. No point in pressing the panic button, though. It's still early in the season and Nelson has been historically known to get on hot streaks on offense. As head coach Stan Van Gundy said a few days ago, the numbers will even out at the end.
Vince Carter, in and out of the lineup because of an ankle injury he sustained against the New Jersey Nets in the second game of the year, has been playing well. His PER (19.8) is at a borderline All-Star level and Carter's offensive numbers have been efficient - TS% (55.8%), eFG% (52.9%), and an Offensive Rating of 111. Carter hasn't been shy to use up possessions, either, sporting the highest usage rate (27.8%) on the team. Because Carter has been shooting efficiently, that hasn't been a problem. For Carter, it's been so far, so good on offense. More importantly, Carter is a defined "closer" and the second option for the Magic.
It should be noted that sample size is always a concern when examining stats this early in the season but one has to note how impressive Ryan Anderson has been, from a statistical sense. His PER has been outstanding (21.5) and his offensive numbers have been staggeringly efficient - TS% (60.6%), eFG% (58.7%), and an Offensive Rating of 118. One has to wonder if Anderson will be able to continue this torrid pace, especially with Rashard Lewis back in the starting lineup, but one has to be encouraged by how well he has been playing offensively. Again, it's early, but Anderson's numbers have been far superior to Courtney Lee's, the player he "replaced."
And the team numbers? Orlando ranks, as of today, 10th in offensive efficiency and 12th in defensive efficiency. Good stats, but certainly could be better. Especially when it comes to the offense, which is fully capable of leading the Association in offensive efficiency when it's all said and done.
As my colleague Jon Nichols wrote last week in his examination of Vince Carter and Hedo Turkoglu, Hoopdata is a new site that tracks some valuable data. Here's an examination at how the Orlando Magic have performed offensively, when taking a look at shot location:
rankings in parentheses/stats are as of November 15th
|At Rim||15.5 (17)||25.1 (20)||61.8% (10)||49.2% (16)|
|<10 Feet||2.8 (26)||6.3 (25)||44.4% (12)||39.3% (13)|
|10-15 Feet||2.8 (16)||6.8 (19)||41.2% (11)||32.1% (17)|
|16-23 Feet||5.8 (29)||14.6 (30)||39.7% (10)||41.4% (29)|
|Threes||9.3 (2)||25.4 (2)||54.9% [eFG%] (10)||80.6% (23)|
*percent of assisted field goals
It's no secret that the Magic shoot a ton of threes and this information shows that, but it's fascinating to see where the team's shots are concentrated at. Or most notably, where they're not - the mid-range section. As one knows or should know, the mid-range shot is the most inefficient in basketball so it makes sense that Orlando would, for the most part, eschew from shooting it. It's a concept that Van Gundy is aware of and putting into practice.
There's been a lot of chatter about Jameer Nelson's defense and the fact that it needs to improve for the Orlando Magic, so it's only justifiable to take a peak at what the numbers state. As always, it's important to note that advanced defensive statistics are a work in progress but they do a decent job of painting a picture as to how good or bad a player is, defensively.
People have commented that it seems like Nelson has regressed, a bit, on defense compared to last year, where he rated as an above-average defender. This year, the numbers aren't as kind to Nelson.
|adj. defensive plus/minus||+4.61|
|opponent PER vs. PG's||19.7|
|net defensive plus/minus||+5.0|
Not good. Again, it's early but it's imperative that Nelson rounds back into form on the defensive side of the ball. This past season, the Magic were able to finish the season ranked 1st in defensive efficiency, partly because Nelson was able to play good defense. Van Gundy knows the importance of Nelson [and Dwight Howard] being one of the leaders, defensively, for the squad.
There's certainly more players I could have examined in this write-up but I wanted to touch on some of the individuals who have received a lot of attention from various media outlets. It's a long season so there will be plenty of time to talk about different storylines as they present themselves.