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Orlando Magic News for December 4th: Looking at Height, Looking at Threes, and More

  • The Long and Short of It
    Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus takes a look at effective height - weighted by minutes played - to see which are the shortest and tallest teams in the NBA. A must-read, including this tidbit that I found interesting.

    One surprise came when these correlations were broken down to Offensive and Defensive Ratings. Height actually correlates slightly better with offensive efficiency (.169) than at the defensive end (.141). Conventional wisdom has it that height is much more important on defense, which fits with what has been observed from adjusted plus-minus data in recent years--big men rate much better defensively, while guards tend to be better on offense than defense. Those results, however, are more about pitting one position against another than comparing height within the same position, which is part of what effective height picks up.
  • Mapping the NBA: To Live and Die By the Three
    Tom Ziller of NBA FanHouse examines which squads in the Association shoot more three-pointers than they should and which don't shoot them enough. 

  • All-NBA/Rookie Tracker
    Brad Graham of SLAM ONLINE lists his All-NBA First Team selection, at this point in the regular season. To no one's surprise, Dwight Howard is listed:

    The Orlando Magic simply shouldn’t be on top of the East. Vince Carter’s inconsistent play, Jameer Nelson’s injury, Rashard Lewis’ delay and Stan Van Gundy’s (new) disposition should’ve seen the Magic fall, hard, but their hot start (14 wins, four losses) is no surprise, given Howard’s in the middle. The L’s leader in glass cleaning is a lot like that establish popular prime time sit-com, even if you’re not a fan, or the series is in its sixth season and has become a little under whelming, it faces little competition, is well established (enough) and by now you’ve probably just come to accept its placement. That’s Howard. While he remains the best C in a field of lite candidates… ah, forget it… man, this position sucks nowadays.
    However, the rationale given isn't exactly sound. The 15-4 record for the Orlando Magic speaks more to the team's depth than anything else. Howard is a reason for the hot start, sure, but not THE reason. That being said, Dwight deserves to be touted as the league's best center.
  • My Donation to the BETA Center
    Howard posts on his official blog today, elaborating on the $25,000 donation he was able to make to the BETA Center in Orlando. Good stuff.

    I heard about the BETA Center in Orlando and wanted to do what I could to help them out. They take in teenage mothers and give them tutoring and child care that helps them stay on track to graduate from high school. I’ve seen how some people look down their noses at teenage moms and treat them poorly and I wanted to help however I could.
  • Denton: Pietrus a Big Part of Orlando's Rise to the Top
    UPDATE: John Denton of writes a sterling article about Mickael Pietrus and explains how he's been able to help the Magic on the court.

    Pietrus has been a big part of the Magic’s ascent to the rarified air of the NBA’s elite, developing into a reliable shooter from the perimeter and a hard-nosed defender against some of the game’s best wing players. Pietrus returns to Golden State on Saturday night when the Magic (15-4) face the Warriors in what they hope will be the team’s seventh consecutive road victory, one that would tie an Orlando franchise record. [...]

    ``That gave me a lot of confidence to know that I can do so much to help this team win,’’ Pietrus admitted. ``We have so many all-stars here and I just have to realize that some nights that playing my best game might be on defense instead of shooting the ball.’’ [...]

    ``I want to be first-team All-Defense this season. That’s my number one goal,’’ Pietrus said. ``I want to be on the all-defense team with Superman.’’