No one quite knows what to make of this Orlando Magic team as it heads into its fourth rebuilding season, a fact which extends to the folks who decide the odds. While it's generally accepted the team won't qualify for the playoffs, it's less clear how its players might perform as individuals, at least if the over/unders from the prominent sports-betting site Bovada.LV are any indication.
Perhaps the most interesting Magic case is Elfrid Payton's. Coming off a rookie season in which he averaged 8.9 points and 6.5 assists across 82 appearances, the Bovada folks are optimistic he'll improve: they've set the over-under for Payton's per-game scoring at 11 points and his assists at 7.5.
As a rookie, Payton played unselfishly, sometimes to a fault; he created looks for his teammates by getting into the paint, but was far less proficient at generating his own offense. If Payton reaches a double-digit scoring average by season's end, it'll mark a solid step forward in his development, so long as the shots he's created for himself haven't come at the expense of higher-percentage looks for his teammates.
Suggesting Payton will tally another basket and another assist per game may seem like an easy call, but we ought not forget a hamstring injury has slowed the Louisiana-Lafayette product in preseason. Additionally, he may have a shorter leash than he did a year ago, given that the Magic boast, in C.J. Watson and exhibition standout Shabazz Napier, two solid backups with an outside shot more proven than Payton's. The presence of viable rotation players behind Payton could limit his minutes if he struggles.
Some other Magic over/under figures, courtesy of Bovada, appear in the sidebar of this post. Which of these numbers most appeal to you?