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Evaluating The Power Forwards Using Statistics

Tony Battie Rashard Lewis
Games Played 77 79
Minutes Played 15.6 36.2
1 year adj. plus/minus +0.74 +10.19
net plus/minus -3.2 +10.3
statistical plus/minus -4.00 +3.67
PER 11.9 16.8
WARP 0.3 7.9
Win Shares 2.9 9.6


As Ben alluded to in the past, we know the storylines for each player on the Orlando Magic. Instead of regurgitating the same information again, I decided to take a look at the statistical production of the power forwards during the regular season.


Let's talk about offense:


With the return of Tony Battie from a shoulder injury in the 2007-2008 regular season came the return of a big man that could defend, rebound, and space the floor offensively for the Orlando Magic. Battie proved to be a threat from the perimeter for Orlando, but that didn't necessarily mean he was a great shooter. Below-average to average, more like (51.8% true-shooting percentage, 49.2 effective field-goal percentage). Battie's offensive rating (106) shows he was not efficient, either. People may wonder, why didn't Marcin Gortat play more minutes for the Magic? If Battie wasn't efficient, wasn't a great shooter, and the Polish Hammer was clearly the better player, what gives? The answer to those questions was that Battie could play alongside Dwight Howard more effectively than Gortat, given his aforementioned ability to space the floor on offense - something head coach Stan Van Gundy values a lot. 


As for Rashard Lewis, his numbers in the regular season were above-average (58.0% true-shooting percentage and 54.0% effective field-goal percentage). Lewis was an efficient player, too, sporting an offensive rating (113) that was tied for second-best on the Orlando Magic. Or to put it better, as good as Howard's Offensive Rating for the year. There's a lot to like about Lewis, offensively - he can beat opposing bigs off the dribble, he can post up, he can shoot the ball and stretch the floor, etc. It's these reasons why Orlando's hybrid/unorthodox lineup was a problem for opponents and works so well. When the Magic initiate the 3/5 pick & roll with Hedo Turkoglu and Howard or when Orlando runs its 4-out/1-in offensive set, many times the end result of the play was a dish to Lewis for an open shot around the perimeter which he'll make, more often than not. Ben has already stated that Lewis would be more effective on offense if he was more assertive, but it's clear that he was content with not forcing the issue and playing within himself. 


Though, that didn't mean Lewis wasn't afraid to make a big shot. 


Let's talk about defense:


Rashard Lewis Hedo Turkoglu
adj. defensive plus/minus +1.16 -2.76
opponent PER vs. SF's 15.1 13.2
net defensive plus/minus +1.1 -3.1
eFG% allowed 47.6% 46.2%


Both individual's defensive statistics are above-average. In the case of Lewis, his ability to play defense more then competently against other power forwards is a reason why Van Gundy trotted him out at the 4 spot each and every night. 


Let's talk about everything:


As I've said for other Magic players in my previous evaluations, Tony Battie is your typical role player when looking at the numbers. There's debating whether or not Lewis, on the other hand, is a fringe All-Star when taking into account all of the linear metrics. Lewis' PER is nothing special, but most of his plus/minus numbers are excellent. There's no debating, however, that Lewis isn't the perfect fit for Orlando when looking at the team's style of play ...


... he is, and that's what matters.