Does the Ibaka Trade Actually Hurt Orlando?
Orlando, Orlando, Orlando. The good ol' magicians from The City Beautiful. The magicians that magically make assets and talent disappear elsewhere to flourish under new systems. The Magic made what was the biggest trade in before the deadline (until Sacramento refused to be outdone), shipping our three-month lease, Serge Ibaka, to Toronto for a washing machine. I mean shipping him to Toronto for Terrence Ross and the lower of the either the Clippers or Toronto's first round picks. While Toronto got a player they desperately needed, Orlando accepted defeat, setting themselves up (and us hopeless Magic fans) for a long and slow rebuild.
Orlando planned on building an elite defense when by acquiring Ibaka and Biyombo in offseason deals. Ideally, they would be able to protect the paint and switch everything on the perimeter. Instead, they never really found their footing defensively, and the glaring offensive deficiencies doomed Orland to a 21-37 record. Now I'm sure Terrence Ross is a nice young man that I'd like to hang out at strip clubs with or maybe go to the casino with. But he is noootttt exactly the second coming of basketball Jesus for the Magic. Essentially, the Magic gave up Oladipo, the rights to Donatas Sabonis (11th pick in last years draft), Tobias Harris, Moe Harkless, and Ibaka for Terrence Ross. Pardon me while I go throw up.
If there is a good to come from this "trade," Aaron Gordon will likely move to the 4. FINALLY! He's not a good enough shooter to excel on the wing (29.2 career 3-point shooter). Pairing him with Fournier and Ross on the wings allows more space for driving lanes where he can utilize his speed advantage over bigger guys guarding him. Defensively, AG to the 4 allows him to be more active in the pick-and-roll. If nothing else, Ross makes the roster more coherent. The team actually makes sense. They'll be worse but things look to be falling into place. In Ross' defense, he has not had a huge load to carry in Toronto backing up DeRozan. Check out his per-36-minute numbers versus Oladipo's:
Oladipo: 17.2 pts, 44.4 FG%, 4.7 Rebs, 2.7 assists, 35% on 5.8 3s per game.
Ross: 16.7 pts, 44.1 FG%, 4.1 Rebs, 1.3 assists, 37.5% on 7.6 3s per game.
Ross' career usage is 18.7 compared to Oladipo's 23.6. If these numbers hold up, Ross can have a solid impact on this particular Orlando roster. 7.6 3s per game is exactly what Orlando needs to open the floor.
Gordon has spent 93% of his time at small forward this season. For a better idea of the possibilities with Gordon at the 4, look at January 11th game at Clippers. Though Orlando lost, Gordon was outstanding sliding to the 4 with Ibaka out due to a sprained right shoulder. Gordon scored 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting. With Ross on the floor, these scoring outputs from Gordon could be common occurrences.
It’s time to see what Aaron Gordon is really made of. Do not let us down like you did in the Dunk Contest. Y'all be cool.