Orlando Pinstriped Post continues its series of Orlando Magic player evaluations with this review of Arron Afflalo's 2013/14 season.
Following a season in which he set new career-highs in per-game scoring, rebounding, and assists--albeit on sub-par efficiency numbers--Afflalo entered his second Orlando campaign as its go-to offensive option once again. A key difference: he expanded his scoring and all-around versatility while also improving his efficiency, an impressive dual uptick.
What went well
Afflalo started out of the gate strong, averaging 21.9 points per game on 48.6 percent shooting and 44.8 percent from three-point range through his first 29 appearances. With the exception of his rookie year and his first Orlando season, Afflalo's always been a knock-down three-point shooter, but he paired that spot-up ability with some off-the-dribble creativity to make himself a more versatile scoring threat. As a result of those improvements, Afflalo had a strong case to earn the first All-Star berth of his career. His candidacy had more merit than those of DeMar DeRozan and Joe Johnson, who made the East squad anyway.
What didn't go so well
A combination of factors led to Afflalo's productivity diminishing as the season wore on. He admitted as much in March, and later said that "the nature of our season" had affected him. Afflalo is not accustomed to losing, and in his two years in pinstripes, Orlando has lost 121 times.
On a different note, Afflalo has puzzlingly low block numbers, especially for someone who plays as many minutes as he does. He blocked three shots in 2552 minutes, and while there's certainly much more to defense that shot-blocking, those low numbers could point toward a decline in athleticism that could soon manifest itself in other aspects of his play.
Afflalo figures to be the Magic's most sought-after player in trade talks over the summer, given the affordability of his contract, his productivity, and the fact that he can become a free agent in 2015. Rumors have already linked him to the Charlotte Bobcats, for example, and it shouldn't surprise anyone if more playoff- and championship-contending teams express their interest in him as the offseason wears on.
But barring a trade, Afflalo will be one of Orlando's two starting wings on opening night, and there's no reason to expect him to play markedly better or worse than he did in 2013/14.