If there's a difference between the Orlando Magic of last year and this year, it's the offense. Granted, last year's offense when the Magic had a healthy Jameer Nelson during the regular season ranked 5th in Offensive Rating. But it took a ridiculous shooting display from Nelson over a period of time for Orlando to be as potent as it was on the offensive side of the ball. It didn't seem like Jameer could sustain that type of performance for the entire year but one will never know - he may have, he may have not. As such, when Nelson did get hurt this past season, the Magic's offense couldn't keep pace because the personnel wasn't equipped to make up for the loss of production.
This year, the Magic rank 5th in Offensive Rating once again but there's room for improvement and a reason for that is the improved supporting cast on the team (as well as the impending return of Nelson from injury, etc). When one considers the inefficient shooters general manager Otis Smith jettisoned during the off-season (Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, Hedo Turkoglu) and who he brought in to replace them (Brandon Bass, Vince Carter, Jason Williams, among others), it's no surprise Orlando is a much more potent offensive team. What's scary for the Magic is that the team, offensively, isn't playing at its maximum. One major reason for that has been the sub-standard play from Carter on offense, who has been in a shooting slump lately. Carter hasn't been efficient and although it hasn't affected Orlando much, in terms of team-wide production, it has held the team back from fully realizing its offensive potential. Still, it's a long year and usually the numbers even out when everything is said and done.
Here's a list of the Orlando Magic players who have been efficient on offense:
|J. J. Redick
If Carter (and to a lesser extent, Nelson) returns to form on the offensive side of the ball sooner rather than later, then the Magic could live up to Pro Basketball Prospectus 09-10's projection, which is that the team will finish the regular season with the most efficient offense in the NBA.