Orlando Magic Weekly Recap
“Washed Up” is a phrase I’d be perfectly happy with never hearing again. It’s oversaturated like scammers in Brooklyn; played out like Fab’s “litty” music. But got-dammit, that is exactly what I was bringing in the New Year; folding clothes, listening to “Allure” when the ball dropped. I may as well have had on a bonnet with a Ford Taurus parked out front with a baby seat in the back. Anyway, last time we spoke about the Magic was before the New Year and even before Christmas. They were 13-17, coming off of a double overtime win against the smelly Miami Heat. Since then, they have played seven games, winning three (Lakers, Grizz, Knicks) and losing four (Knicks, Hornets, Pacers, Hawks) on their way to a 16-21 record (12th in the eastern conference). In their three wins, Orlando boasted an offensive rating of 114.5 and a defensive rating of 101.2, which is exceptional, but in their four losses? Pretty much the exact opposite: offensive rating of 98.2 and a defensive rating of 114.6. Yuck.
I won’t go over each and every game because I am sure nobody wants to read 1,000 words about the damn Orlando Magic. I’m a fan and I would not even want to. Bump that. Peep this: Orlando has allowed at least 100 points in FIFTEEN (15!) of their last 16 games. That is some Orlando Magic shit if I ever heard it. Know what’s even funnier? Orlando welcomes the third-most efficient offense in the league to town. The Houston Rockets led by MVP in waiting, James Harden (sorry, Russ). (By the way, Ryan Anderson looks like every single middle-aged white man who has ever taught at a high school in a low-income neighborhood. But he’s really good at shooting and that’s about it, but hey, it works). Looks like it will be 16 of the last 17 games after Friday night.
Orlando is still on the bottom of the ocean floor offensively. Ranking 27th, you will not beat many teams by outscoring them. The same early season problems that plagued the Orlando offense continues to be an annoying girlfriend watching a movie with you for the first time. As I have mentioned before, the roster is just thrown together. No direction. There is no player on the team that can create shots for others. Without a playmaker, you would need some isolation ball specialists…NOPE! None on the roster either; the best on the team at creating their own shot would probably be…Fournier (who has missed the last five games). But awarding him that title is like the winner of the chubby kid 50-yard dash in elementary school, somebody HAS to have the title. Vucevic is a pretty good scorer one-on-one down on the block, but there lies the problem. His mid-range shot has abandoned him this season, leaving him to resort to the most ineffective play in basketball: the post up. By now, I was hoping AG would slide into the role of playmaker. He has not really, though he has woken up offensively during the last couple of games. During the last 5 games he saw his points per game average jump to 16.4. Encouraging. So since Orlando lacks a playmaker or shot creator, they should have some gifted passers to move the ball efficiently. Yeah, we are going to leave that box unchecked as well. Payton is the best passer by default. Not good enough though. Orlando has a few shooters, but they are not scary to the point you would rather leave your unattended child outside of daycare waiting for you than leave them open in the corner. Augustin, Fournier, Jodie fucking Meeks, and CJ Watson does not put fear in a damn soul. Another issue because it not only shrinks the court, but closes up driving lanes and makes rotations for the defense easier thanks to the lack of spacing. When you step back and look at it, it is so obvious the offense will struggle to put up points on a nightly basis. Sure, Orlando can get a three-game span where they score 115but then they go another three without hitting 95. Ibaka has been good, averaging a career-high in points (15.5) with a career-high usage rate. That being said, his trade value may never be higher. With 2017 here, it may be time for some roster shake up. Vucevic and Payton have seen their names come in trade talks, with Boston being one of the teams in the mix. If Orlando wants to land some true value, it may have to part ways with their big free agent signing (yes, I’m looking at you, Ibaka).
Y’all be cool.