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Orlando Magic News for July 9th: Otis Smith Making And Mulling Moves; A Look At Data Samples

  • Magic sit tight as free agents cash in around the NBA
    Brian Schmitz provides the latest information on whether or not general manager Otis Smith will decide to match Marcin Gortat's offer sheet from the Dallas Mavericks. He has seven days to decide.

    Because Gortat is a restricted free agent, the Magic can match the Mavs' mid-level offer and will have seven days to do so.

    Smith has said he won't pay that much to employ a backup center. He will wait and use Gortat's deal as leverage with other free agents. The Magic could threaten to retain Gortat, whose contract would severely drain the small pool of luxury-taxed money they have available for players.

    The Magic could match and trade Gortat to receive compensation this season. They would have to wait 90 days from the start of the season to deal him -- hoping that he stays healthy until December -- but that doesn't appear to be on Smith's agenda.

    "It's doable," Smith said. "But right now I'm still thinking the other way [not to match]." 
  • Hedo Turkoglu, Orando Magic, trade exception
    Here's the update on what the Orlando Magic will do with the trade exception it acquired as a result of a four-team, multi-player sign-and-trade.

    The Magic likely will use the exception during the season. They are not expected to use it in potential sign-and-trades for free agents because they would have to trade a player in the deal and they have only eight on their current roster.
  • Nichols and Dime: How the Shooting Abilities of Point Guards Affect Offenses
    Jon Nichols of Hardwood Paroxysm runs an excellent data sample to examine whether or not a point guard's ability to shoot the three is a key skill. Nichols provides a chart, and states his opinion after looking at the results.

    It appears as though the ability of your team’s point guard to shoot the three well is very important. Overall, the difference is more than three points per 100 possessions. Similarly, if your point guard struggles with his outside shot, your offense will struggle.
    Two words: Jameer Nelson.
  • The Not-So-Instant Impact of 1st Overall Picks
    Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference takes a historical look at how the #1 pick in the lottery era fared vs. the top players from the year before over the following 3 seasons. For Magic fans, take note of Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Webber, and Dwight Howard. The results are interesting but not surprising. 

    As fans, we like to think holding the #1 pick in the draft is the key to an instant turnaround, pointing to examples like the Spurs in ‘98 with Tim Duncan, the Cavs with LeBron James, and even the Magic last year with Dwight Howard. However, recent history shows that if given the choice between a proven veteran and a talented rookie for the next 3 years, the vet will give you better production, and it’s not really a close contest. 67% of the time during the lottery era, you’d actually be better off with a veteran who had ranked between #26 & #30 in the league the previous season than you would with the #1 overall pick over the next 3 years. Only in the case of a select few first picks (LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Chris Webber, Shaquille O’Neal) would it have been a good idea to trade their first 3 seasons straight-up for the next 3 seasons of a player who ranked between 6-10 the year before, and for zero #1 picks would it have been advisable to trade a Top-5 talent from the prior season.
  • Four-way trade puts Dallas Mavericks back in West's elite
    UPDATE: John Hollinger of chimes in on Orlando's trade.
  • Looking at the 2009 free-agent class
    UPDATE 2: Chad Ford of lists the top free agents available.