The Orlando Magic are struggling early in the season. The defense has been consistently great. But the Magic are struggling to put points on the scoreboard. Something a star could solve.
The Orlando Magic’s‘s poor offense has been this season’s story. Time and time again, the Magic get stuck, unable even to eclipse 95 points, making it harder and harder to win.
The Magic do not have a superstar they can turn to for instant offense when they are struggling. This season thus far has shown the Magic can play outstanding defense. But with little to non-existent offense, they struggle to pull out wins.
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The Magic’s offseason plan was to build an identity of a tough defense all-around under new head coach Frank Vogel. They have done that successfully thus far, as they rank seventh in the league in points allowed per game. But the Magic rank 29th in scoring points per game, that is the biggest concern.
In contrast, all 16 teams that successfully made the Playoffs last season had at least one All-Star player on their roster. This is an alarming statistic because there is clearly a direct correlation that shows the value an all-star player has on the team’s success.
Granted, sometimes All-Star berths are given to the best player on a Playoff-contending team as something of a team reward.
The Magic made a lot of moves this offseason, but none of the moves they made resulted in the Magic getting a clear-cut All Star-caliber player. That puts the team behind the 8-ball from the start in making the Playoffs.
The Magic’s track record during NBA Drafts has not been that great. None of the players the Magic have drafted in the last five years have shown promise of stardom.
The Magic need an All-Star-caliber player who can help them score on the offensive end. The benefits are self-evident. Stars help teams generate offense late in shot clocks, late in games and throughout an entire contest.
Their raw numbers and plain attention drawn from a defense make life easier for everyone else.
Without a star, the Magic struggled to close out games not only this year, but last year to. The Magic were 29th in the league in winning games that were within five points in the last two minutes last season. They won 34.8 percent of these close games, only better than the 10-72, Philadelphia 76ers.
A scenario that shows the effect of an All-Star player on offense is the 2015 Indiana Pacers team, who were without All-Star forward Paul George for the season due to his horrific injury with the USA Olympic Team in the summer.
The Pacers were fourth in opponents points per game and 24th in points per game. Those are similar numbers Orlando is putting up this season. Without any offensive threats on the Pacers roster, they finished with a 38-44 record.
The next season, when Paul George returned, the Pacers were 17th in the league in points per game. In that season, they finished with a 45-37 record, en route to a postseason run.
It makes intuitive sense. Adding one of the best 20 players in the league makes the team better.
For this year’s Magic team, the offensive struggles should have been expected due to the Magic hiring Frank Vogel. The teams he has coached throughout his career have been in the lower part of the offensive rankings.
D.J. Augustin was the Magic’s only signing or acquisition this offseason known for his offense. That was an issue to begin with.
The Magic may hold opponents to less than 100 points. But, at the end of the day, they have to score more than their opponents to win a game. And they are not reaching that level.
Acquiring an All Star is not an easy thing. The NBA’s trade market is still developing as every player becomes available December 15. The Magic will surely be active as they try to improve their roster and make the Playoffs — All Star or not.
Some names — such as Rudy Gay or Brandon Knight — that have been looming in trade rumors that can help end the Magic’s offensive woes. Those players are specifically known for their gifted offensive skill-set.
Rob Hennigan has a lot of work to do when the trade market really opens up Dec. 15. His offseason moves have had a rocky beginning.