Why are the Magic struggling?

I'm trying to wrap my head around this and it's just giving me a headache. We have added some new players, but our core is about the same. So far, we have not been hit too hard with injuries (knock on wood). So what gives?


I decided to compare the team for the last 3 seasons after 52 games and the full season stats. After the jump, maybe we can find some answers.

So here are the stats for the last 3 seasons after 52 games:

2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011
W-L 39-13 35-17 32-20
PTS/G 101 -10th 102.8 -6th 100.1 -11th
OPP P/G 94.4 -6th 95.3 -4th 94.7 -7th
Pace 92.3 -21st 92 -18th 92.1 -16th
OFF RTG 109.2 -11th 111.4 -4th 108.2 -11th
DEF RTG 101.9 -1st 103.3 -3rd 102.5 -5th


Currently, the expected W-L record for the Magic should be 36-16 so they are underperforming a bit. The offense and defense has slipped a bit but I don't think we need stats to show us that. So I wanted to dig a little deeper.


I wanted to see how the players individual PER numbers looked like. I like this stat because it captures everything in 1 nice number. I understand its not perfect, but its like OPS in baseball. Just a good snapshot of a player's value.

Howard 25.4  Howard 24  Howard 25.3  Howard 25.3
Lewis 16.8  Lewis 14  Lewis 11.1  Bass 16.7
Turk 14.8  Carter 17.1  Carter 16.2  Turk 13.2
Jameer 20.6  Jameer 15.5  Jameer 15.6  Jameer 15.6
Lee 10.7  Barnes 13.6  Richardson 9.9  Anderson 21.4
Pietrus 11.6  Pietrus 11.9  Pietrus 8.3  Arenas 9.9
Alston 15.6  Redick 15  Redick 12.9  Redick 12.9
Gortat 17  Gortat 13.9  Gortat 13.7  Q.Richardson 9.9
A.Johnson 10.3  Anderson 18.1  Duhon 5.7  J. Richardson 13.3
142.8 143.1 118.7 138.2
15.86 15.9 13.18 15.35

So a few things about this:

  • What I did was gathered the 9 guys that either received the most minutes or were key parts of team at different parts of the season. So thats why I used Alston instead of Bogans, and Anderson instead of Williams or Johnson.
  • The last 2 numbers at the end of the PER column are the sum of all the players PER and the average. Some people don't either like sum or average, but I think it gives you an idea how bad or good the teams were/are.
  • The last 2 columns are this year's team split into 2; 1 before the trade and 1 after the trade.
  • I highlighted a few players because they really stood out. A 10 in PER is a league minimum; 15 is league average, and 25 is a star. We all can see Dwight is the man but look at how high Jameer's is in the 08/09 season. All the starters were playing very well and no one was below a 10. Look at how bad this team was before the trade. 3 rotation players BELOW league average and Lewis was down to an 11! They had to change because this was not a good team. But in total, this is the worse team in the last 3 years.

I wanted to see if there was anything else that I was missing. So I used the season comparison tool on to check:

                                                                                    Team Opponent
Season G eFG% TOV% ORB% FT/FGA eFG% FT/FGA  
2008-09 82 0.52 13.4 24 0.251 0.465 0.209  
2009-10 82 0.536 13.6 24.6 0.246 0.477 0.205  
2010-11 52 0.52 14 26.2 0.222 0.483 0.226  


I apologize but when I copeied this, it didn't quite paste it the way I wanted to. But I wanted to highlight the Team FT/FGA, Opponent eFG%, and Opponent FT/FGA (the first 4 are the Magic, next 2 are opponents). We're not getting to line enough and we are fouling more. Teams are shooting better against us also. If Dwight is the only one shooting free throws, we are in trouble. And because our perimeter defense has been worse, there will be more fouls. Turk seems to be #1 culprit, when he is beat he will just foul the guy instead playing defense. Also, the Magic lead the league in technicals with 80; Boston is second with 69. Thats 80 free points that we have given to the other team.

You know what, there are no answers because it all comes down to the players playing better. Jameer has to be better than average. Turk needs to try harder on defense. But everyone knew these things before, I was just trying to visualize and show the dropoff in the team from 08/09 to now.

I would love feedback on this because this is my first post involving advanced stats. I know its more of the "basic" advanced stats, but I'm trying to wrap my head around all the progress in the stat game. I used for all the data. Go Magic!

This FanPost was made by a member of the Orlando Pinstriped Post community, and is to be treated as the opinions and views of its author, not that of the blogger or blog community as a whole.

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