The Magic had seven players who topped 60% True Shooting this preseason. This is a very high plateau for efficiency: only 34 players in the whole league averaged 60% for the 2009-10 season. (Including two Magic players: Howard and Redick.) The Magic averaged 57.3% TS for the season, good for second in the league; the league average was around 54%.
But were these pre-season numbers a fluke, bolstered by component percentages which can't possibly endure for a whole year? Or are these players truly capable of sustaining those averages for 82 games? Let's investigate.
The guys who shot well this pre-season, in alphabetical order:
Ryan Anderson: 63% TS (43.5% FG, 42.3% 3FG)
This is entirely sustainable. If anything, I feel like 43.5% is a low estimate. The 42.3% for three is definitely higher than Ryan's average last year, but I don't think he was getting lucky on bad shots or anything. (I feel he did tend to chuck threes sometimes last year, often out of the flow of the offense, or even while guarded.)
I didn't see either of his best preseason games this year... the games I did see were actually some of his worse shooting games. And even in those games, he was getting open perimeter looks in the flow of the offense. They just weren't falling. If defenses don't tighten up on him, and he doesn't try to force shots, he can definitely beat 60% TS, possibly by a substantial margin.
Brandon Bass: 60% TS (56.6% FG)
Probably not quite sustainable. I think Bass has proven that he can contribute to the team on offense, but I'm not willing to believe he's suddenly become a 57% shooter from the field. 50% maybe, but I don't think a player with his offensive game can shoot 57% for a season. 57% is a combination of talent, weak opposition defense and luck... he made a lot of contested jumpers in the games I saw. I feel 50% FG/55% TS is a solid projection for the season, and those are numbers we can work with, especially if he cuts back on his turnovers.
Vince Carter: 66.1% TS (60.7% FG, 59.3% 3FG)
This is not sustainable. 60% from the field for a guard, or 59% from three, would both be unheard of over a season. But Carter did top 60% TS in the second half last year, so I have no hesitation suggesting that he can do that again this season.
Marcin Gortat: 74.3% TS (72.4% FG)
Not sustainable. 72% for a season is not happening for ANYONE. The last two seasons, he's hovered around 57% TS, and that seems like a fair guess for 2010-11 to me. 60% is not out of the question, of course... Gortat unveiled a distinctly more dynamic scoring game this preseason, and with such a low-usage guy, the sample size of shots admits more fluctuations. But I'd be cautious and project 57-58%.
Dwight Howard: 61.3% (63.0% FG)
This is sustainable. In fact, he could improve on it. His TS last year was 63%, and his FT shooting in the preseason was slightly off.
Rashard Lewis: 63.8% TS (53.8% FG, 47.4% 3FG)
Probably not <em>quite</em> sustainable. If he keeps getting time at SF, I do think he could approach 50% from the field and 40-45% for three, which would be great numbers, and probably push his true shooting to 58-60% or so. I don't see him getting to the line enough to pass 60%... that's never been a big part of his game.
J.J. Redick: 65.9% TS (46.8% FG, 42.3% 3FG)
I actually think most of the component numbers are sustainable... 47% from the field is a very reasonable assumption. 42% for three is a very reasonable assumption. What pushed his TS to 65%, though, was the absurdly high number of FT attempts he got, and that is not going to hold up. He surpassed that 60% TS mark last year, and I think he can do it again.
So of these seven guys, I feel like four of them can surpass 60% TS. For Lewis and Gortat, 60% is a best-case scenario, and they're unlikely to end up above it, but ending up at it is realistic. And while Bass doesn't have the game to hit 60%, he can definitely beat the league average.