First-Quarter Report: Teams' Identities Have Developed, for Better or Worse
The Sporting News' Sean Deveney, perhaps best known to Orlando Magic fans as the guy who picked them to finish behind the Washington Wizards in the Southeast Division this season, writes that the Orlando Magic's addition of Vince Carter has proven to be the best move of the offseason so far.
Offseason payoff: Vince Carter, Orlando. The Magic are still working Carter into the offense, trying to find the right balance between getting him to be aggressive and dominate, and getting him to be one of the cogs on a very talented team. But so far, things have gone well, as Orlando sits tied for the best record in the East.
"Vince is going to be fine," [Dwight] Howard said. "He's been great for us, and the more he gets used to what we do, he is only going to get better."
From Basketball-Reference: Carter leads the Magic in scoring at 19.3 points per game, has a Player Efficiency Rating of 18.2, and has connected on 35.1% of his three-pointers. And despite leading the Magic in Usage Rate at 29.2%, he turns the ball over on only 8.2% of his possessions, second on the team only to Brandon Bass. The only other players to exceed Carter's usage with fewer turnovers this year are Chris Bosh, Josh Howard, Kevin Martin, and Dirk Nowitzki.
Earlier this afternoon, the Magic distributed a list of notes to the media. Here's the first fact:
At 17-4, Orlando has equalled its best start in franchise history (1994-95, 1995-96). The Magic have never been 18-4.
To save space, I've posted the rest of the fact sheet after the jump.
Stan Van Gundy to get shot at 3-point contest trophy
J.E. Skeets makes an important announcement:
The Orlando Magic's Stan Van Gundy will seek to become the first NBA head coach to capture the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout crown, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 13, at American Airlines Center, as part of NBA All-Star Saturday Night.
No word on if Magic forward Rashard Lewis, last year's runner-up, will also take part.
The Biggest Aberration?
In a post concerning Gerald Wallace's incredible spike in rebounding this year, Kevin Pelton tries to figure out what the biggest statistical aberration in NBA History is. Former Magic guard Nick Anderson appears in his findings.
A better candidate of a very different kind is Nick Anderson's free throw shooting. Free throw percentage tends to be very stable, especially after a player's first couple of years, which makes what happened to Anderson so bizarre. He was never much of a free throw shooter for a guard, but settled in around 70 percent before inexplicably sinking to 40.4 percent during the 1996-97 season. The odds of a player of Anderson's true ability (about 70 percent) shooting so poorly are nearly 1 in 50,000.
Steve Nash Internet Day!
Visit our friends at Bright Side of the Sun as they honor Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash with Steve Nash Internet Day.
Twitter / tribjazz
UPDATE: Former Magic training-camp invitee Morris Almond is headed to the D-League, reports Ross Siler, who covered Almond when he played for the Utah Jazz:
Former Jazz first-round draft pick Morris Almond will be joining the NBA D-League's Springfield (Mass.) Armor tomorrow.
Kendrick Perkins is core of Celtics' defense, low-post scoring
UPDATE 2 (from Eddy): Want to know why Kendrick Perkins has success defending Dwight Howard? Britt Robson of Sports Illustrated explains.
Perkins' mettle in the low block was validated by his yeoman effort in rooting Dwight Howard out of his favorite spots in last year's Celtics-Magic series in the second round of the playoffs. Unlike most players, Perkins doesn't use a forearm when guarding opponents who operate with their backs to the basket. "If you use the forearm, you don't have enough balance when they spin or fade away," he said. Instead, he uses hands for sensory information; the outside hand placed on an opponents' tailbone to determine where he's going (and, if possible, to guide him), while the inside hand stabs for steals.
NBA ticket revenue slides 7.4 percent (UPDATE)
UPDATE 3 (from Eddy): Ken Berger of CBSSports.com provides an update on the NBA ticket revenue for teams in the NBA.
The Atlanta Hawks (15-6), long challenged in the attendance department but off to their best start in a decade, have seen a league-high 26.8 percent increase in net gate receipts – to $468,036 per game, up from $369,157 at this point last season. Atlanta is selling an average of 10,573 tickets per game, up from 7,900 at this point last season. The other top gainers in net gate receipts are the Denver Nuggets (up 20.3 percent), Orlando Magic (up 17.7 percent), Portland Trail Blazers (up 12.3 percent), and Cleveland Cavaliers (up 11.8 percent).
Again, make the jump to read the rest of the fact sheet the Magic sent this afternoon.
Orlando has won eight straight on the road, the longest road winning streak for a single season. Overall, the record is nine (last two in April '07 and first sevent in November '07). Under Stan Van Gundy (two-plus years), the Magic are 64-30 on the road. At 10-2 on the road this year, the Magic will look to eclipse its seasonal franchise record for road wins (27 each of the last two years).
Orlando has won 23 straight games in which it has scored 100 points. The streak dates back to Feb. 24, 2009.
Orlando has had five or more players score in double-figures in 12 games this year (11-1 record when it happens).
Orlando has made 10 or more three-pointers 13 times this year and is 11-2 when it does so.
Orlando has had 20-plus assists nine times this year and is 9-0 when it does so.
When Orlando outrebounds its opponent the Magic are 13-0.
Over Stan Van Gundy's two-plus seasons Orlando is 91-20 (10-2 this year) when holding opponents under 100 points.
Over Stan Van Gundy's two-plus seasons Orlando is 114-34 (12-3 this year) when holding opponents to less than 50 percent shooting.
Dwight Howard now has 25 career 20+ point/20+ rebound games (two already this year). The Magic are 6-2 when Vince Carter scored 20-plus points this year. Rashard Lewis is averaging 18.3 ppg. over the last six games, while shooting over 50 percent from the field overall and three-point range, compared to 12.6 ppg. and a 33 percent field goal mark the first five games he played this season.