This is not an April Fool's Joke: The Orlando Magic are "the most economically efficient team in the NBA," according to a study done by the noted statistician Kevin Pelton. Orlando has paid $498,310 per marginal win this season, roughly $31,000 less than Utah, the next-most efficient team.
But this isn't just a one-shot deal. Over the last four seasons, Orlando rates 9th in the league in dollars per marginal win, paying $678,597 in that period. Smith and Dave Twardzik became co-general managers in 2005, which means their work is indeed included in that four-year period.
In short, this study only affirms the Magic are justified in their campaigning for Smith to win the Executive of the Year award. Not only has he assembled an elite team, but he's done so relatively cheaply, and the Magic are truly getting more for their money than any other team in the league. And this is with Rashard Lewis' $118 million deal included. Unreal.
Take a look at this chart, which shows teams' efficiency differential (offensive efficiency - defensive efficiency) based on rest days. Here's how the Magic rank:
4th in four-games-in-five-nights situations;
2nd in back-to-back sets during a three-games-in-four-nights period;
1st in three-games-in-four-nights sets;
19th in back-to-back sets;
2nd with one day of rest;
- 4th with two days of rest; and an eye-popping 27th with more than three days of rest.
These data have huge playoff implications, as they suggest the Magic do their best work when they are in rhythm. Remember there are no back-to-back games in the playoffs. Definitely keep that last figure in mind--27th is better than only the Clippers, the Kings, and the Nets--if the Magic breeze through the first round of the playoffs and have to wait a while for their next series to start. Huge hat-tip to TrueHoop for the link.
Two nights ago, Dwight Howard became the youngest player in NBA history to grab 5000 rebounds, surpassing a mark originally set by Wilt Chamberlain. He had no idea he had a record until his phone started "blowing up with text messages" after the game.