Among the reasons the Orlando Magic struggle offensively is their lack of reliable scoring from their bench. Reserve two-guard J.J. Redick is the most prolific of the bunch, averaging 10.9 points per game in 25.2 minutes, but scoring from point guard Chris Duhon and big man Glen Davis is considerably more scarce. And when swingman Quentin Richardson earns playing time, it's for defensive purposes; the 12-year veteran shoots just 7.7 times per 36 minutes, the second-lowest figure on the team, behind Duhon's 5.8 tries per 36.
A common thread in the reserves' struggles? An inability to make a two-point basket. Richardson, Redick, and Duhon shoot better from beyond the three-point arc than inside it. Davis, too, shoots below an acceptable percentage on two-point shots. The data, and more, follow the jump.
In a vacuum, there's nothing wrong with a player who shoots better from three-point territory than from two-point range. But when that's the case for three of a given team's top four reserves, and its lone rotation-playing backup big-man, it can prove problematic. Each of these players needs the table set for him, so to speak, in order to score effectively; Redick can create off the dribble, sure, but he's markedly more effective shooting threes off the catch than long twos off the bounce.
In other words, the Magic's lack of reliable bench scoring speaks to the front office's inability to provide coach Stan Van Gundy with a well-rounded roster than it does to any sort of problem on the players' parts, though they aren't entirely without blame. Davis, for instance, cannot continue to force long jumpers. His shot-selection is woeful, arguably the worst on the team. Picking his spots better would surely raise his shooting percentage.
And Van Gundy isn't blameless either. He has journeyman shooting guard Von Wafer at his disposal, but has only played him in 17 games. The former Florida State Seminole is shooting 52.7 percent on two-pointers and 40 percent on threes. He and Ryan Anderson lead the team in True Shooting Percentage (59.6 percent), and only Dwight Howard and Anderson score more points per minute than Wafer. If this information sounds familiar, it should, as I mentioned it in a scouting report on Wafer I posted Wednesday, and I don't wish to beat a dead horse. But scoring has been an issue for this Magic team throughout the season, and a big reason for it is their lackluster bench play.
Perhaps playing Wafer won't improve the situation dramatically. But I don't see any evidence that it would hurt, either.
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