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Orlando Magic News for July 27th: A Second Look At Vince Carter, Reebok Says No To Marcin Gortat, and More

  • What’s Left In Vince’s Tank?
    Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference, also, analyzes how Vince Carter will fit in with the Orlando Magic.

    There’s no question that Carter can still play a mean game of ball when healthy and/or motivated. Despite concerns about chronic injuries to his knees and ankles, Carter has missed just 16 games combined over the past five seasons and sat out only twice last year. Offensively, he’s settled into a level of usage below what we were accustomed to seeing from him in his prime, but he’s still a star capable of maintaining a well above-average efficiency level even at 26-27% usage rates. He relies more on the 3-pointer than ever, so it’s nice that he made 38.5% of his shots from deep last season, his best mark since joining the Nets in 2005. Carter’s gradual shift away from attacking the basket with frequency is troubling for a player known as a creative, super-athletic finisher, but he still has the ability to close the deal inside when necessary, and his offensive talents are diverse enough to handle the transition from explosive youngster to a more earth-bound 33-year-old.

    So Vince’s offense isn’t going to cause Orlando any problems; he was actually much more effective at that end than Hedo Turkoglu, the man whose production he’ll theoretically be replacing, a season ago. The main question, though, is how Orlando’s top-ranked defense will be able to integrate Carter, a guy whose effort on D has never been great and was downright terrible last season. You can chalk some of VC’s defensive struggles a year ago to the lack of defensive ability shown by New Jersey’s entire roster, but Carter has a long history of playing bad and/or indifferent defense. Turkoglu was a surprisingly decent defender last year and Courtney Lee, whose minutes at SG Carter will be filling, was rapidly improving on D by the time the playoffs rolled around (he typically defended the other team’s top perimeter scorer every night, and even did a semi-credible job on Kobe at times during the Finals), so it’s likely the Carter/Mickael Pietrus pairing on the wings will knock Orlando down a notch or two defensively.

    That said, Carter still appears to have plenty left in the proverbial tank. He’s no longer the beast he was during his Toronto peak, but he’ll be a definite offensive upgrade for the Magic and projects to contribute more to Orlando’s net efficiency differential than either Turkoglu or Lee would have. Though Carter sort of dropped off the radar in New Jersey for a few years, he’s far from finished as a player.
  • Gortat Won't Be Wearing New Reeboks Next Year

    The odds of Marcin Gortat wearing Reebok shoes next year have seriously decreased. That’s because Reebok won’t be providing the Orlando Magic backup center with free shoes anymore.

    During the NBA Finals, Gortat disclosed that executives with the adidas-owned Reebok brand asked that Gortat cover up the Air Jordan tattoo on his calf since that brand is owned by competitor Nike. Gortat refused, saying that Reebok wasn’t paying him enough.

    The truth of the matter is they weren’t paying him anything.
  • How the Shooting Abilities of Shooting Guards, Power Forwards, and Centers Affect Offenses
    Jon Nichols of Basketball-Statistics examines how the shooting abilities of shooting guards, power forwards, and centers affect offenses. Nichols ran similar studies for point guards and small forwards; here's what he had to say. 

    For point guards and shooting guards, it is beneficial for your offense to have players at those positions that can shoot threes effectively [...].

    For small forwards, it is best to have a player closer to average (between 30% and 40%). This may be the result of sharpshooting small forwards being specialists that are weak in other areas.

    For power forwards, it all depends on the location. At home, it doesn’t matter how well he shoots threes. On the road, it’s great if he can shoot them at 28% or higher.

    For centers, the answer remains unclear. There simply aren’t enough great shooting centers to reach a reasonable conclusion.

    Let your imagination run wild with the study's application to Orlando.

  • Huh. Half The League’s In The Red, Huh? You Don’t Say.
    Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm shares a neat graph (via SuperSonicSoul) that shows the total wins by franchise in the NBA.  

  • One thing's for sure: the Magic have endless possibilities

    There’s a common theme in the Orlando Magic’s acquisitions this offseason: versatility. Brandon Bass and Matt Barnes can each play several positions, and when you add them to ultra-flexible guys such as Rashard Lewis and Mickael Pietrus, you’ve got a team that can pinpoint and exploit virtually any weakness an opposing team may have. Stan Van Gundy can throw out a formidable lineup ranging from super-small to super-tall, and we’ll surely see plenty of different looks once they start playing games again.
  • 3QC programming note. Matt Barnes will be made available to the media on Friday. Ben Q. Rock and I will be at the RDV SportsPlex to speak with Matt, the newest member of the Magic. Expect a Q/A post during the weekend.