Game On: Hornets @ Magic

Published: December 26, 2012

Much like the Indiana game, the Hornets will be up against a team that struggles to score, but gets it done on the defensive end – though the extremes aren’t quite as exaggerated.  The Magic post the seventh best defense in the league and the 2nd worst offense, resulting in an efficiency differential of -1.7 points per possession.  Defensively, the Magic do it with sound positional defense with very little gambling put in place by Jacque Vaughn, who brought his San Antonio pedigree and focus on defensive rebounding with him.  The result is the second best defensive rebounding squad in the league, the second best squad at limiting free throws, and the seventh best squad at defending shots.  The one thing they don’t do defensively is get turnovers, ranking 28th in that stat.

Offensively the Magic rarely crash the offensive glass, turn the ball over at the second highest rate in the league, draw the second lowest number of free throws around, and live and die on their league average ability to hit jumpers.

That the Magic are great at anything is a little bit of a surprise to most around the league after the limited returns the Magic got in their Dwight Howard trade.  This team, however, is answering the question “How would a team stocked with average players 1-10 do?”  Based on WS/48, which compares a player’s statistical categories against league averages for their position, the Magic have 9 players hovering right around average overall.  Nikola Vucevic, JJ Redick, Arron Afflalo, Glen Davis, Jameer Nelson, Andrew Nicholson, Maurice Harkless, Gustavo Ayon, and Josh McRoberts all post a score between .080 and .118.  .100 is average.  Of the players that get minutes, only E’Twaun Moore is outside that range, and his isn’t dramatically bad at .060.

By way of comparison the Hornets top 10 minute getters range from .147 to – .042.  Austin Rivers, be-still my heart.

Keys to the game

  • Glen Davis is out.  His wide body is key to the Magic’s ability to control the defensive boards.  Crash the glass.
  • Play off the Magic guards.  These guys don’t like to draw free throws and take entirely too many long twos.  They are also bad at shooting threes. Let them shoot from range.
  • No stupid mistakes.  The Magic don’t hound teams into turnovers.  The Hornets need to take advantage of this.

Enjoy the game!

Oh, and yes, Eric Gordon isn’t quite back yet.


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