Orlando Magic News for August 10th: A Blast From The Past; the Magic's Off-Season Is Critiqued

  • Lost in Translation
    Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference takes the time to examine how NBA players of the present would fare with NBA players of the past, statistically. Dwight Howard is a subject in the test.

    What’s the method? Well, in the past we simply adjusted for pace, then league. Trouble is, pace adjustments assume a linear increase across the board — 20% more possessions equals 20% more rebounding chances equals 20% more turnovers… you get the idea. And worse yet, we can’t calculate pace accurately for seasons prior to 1973-74, due to a galling lack of statistical tracking on the NBA’s part, so we often end up having to make assumptions and estimations that tend to make everyone uncomfortable. So what’s the solution, then? Well, Bill James once suggested that instead of getting hung up on park factors, why don’t we worry about the player’s actual context — his team’s stats and those of his opponents? [...]

    All of which is to say, I’m not going to deal with the league at all when making these translations. What if, instead, each team had their own FG/48 min. environment, their own TRB/48 environment, and so on? Then we could simply adjust each category by its own individual context (for instance, the 1973 Celtics’ rebounding environment, or the 1971 Phoenix Suns’ free-throw attempting environment), and not have to worry about pace or possessions at all.

    The only catch? If we want to include all of NBA history, we have to pretend the 3-point shot never existed, especially if we’re translating backwards to a season before the bonus sphere was introduced in 1980.
  • Nichols and Dime: Analyzing Changes in Shot Types Over the Course of a Game
    Jon Nichols of Hardwood Paroxysm continues to analyze play-by-play data. Today, Nichols refines his examination of determining whether or not the increase of three-point shot attempts occurs only in late-game situations, or if the phenomenon occurs progressively throughout the game.

    Recently I explored how shot types change during the final two minutes of a game. However, that only gave snapshots based on certain timeframes that I chose. Looking at how those shot types change, second by second, is much more enlightening. That is what I will be doing today. For each shot type, I will calculate the total amount of attempts from every game this year for each second.
  • How did the East teams fare in the offseason? John Hollinger offers an a la carte menu
    John Hollinger of ESPN.com breaks down the off-season for the Eastern Conference and critiques how each team upgraded or downgraded their rosters. Here's what Hollinger had to say about the Magic:

    Orlando: The defending conference champs didn't exactly rest on their laurels, did they? At this juncture, in fact, their roster looks a lot more fearsome than it did at the end of last season. Carter is a major upgrade on Turkoglu, while free-agent additions Matt Barnes and Brandon Bass make what was a thin frontcourt suddenly look much deeper.

    Add in whom they retained (Marcin Gortat) and returned (Jameer Nelson, after a shoulder injury wiped out the second half of his season) and the Magic look absolutely stacked. At this point, they have to be considered the favorites in the East, and depending on how this remix works out at the defensive end, there's a chance they could post a jaw-dropping win total.

    The one reason for misgiving is a lack of backcourt depth after the trades of Rafer Alston and Courtney Lee to New Jersey; now Mickael Pietrus is a likely starter and J.J. Redick and Anthony Johnson will have to play major minutes, and another injury to Nelson could leave them exposed.
  • Is the Magic's third point guard more crucial than meets the eye?
    Tania Ganguli links to a RealGM.com article, which discusses Orlando's need for a third point guard on the roster. Last week, Ben elaborated on this topic and stated which players would fit best. 

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