Fixing what is actually wrong with the Orlando Magic

Although plenty of other NBA observers have expressed their concerns regarding the current performance of the Orlando Magic …

A Quantitative Look at the Orlando Magic’s Four All-Stars

Orlando Magic News for January 19th: Sobering Assessments of Orlando’s Season Abound at the Halfway Mark

much of what’s been said to-date misses the mark completely, when it comes to diagnosing accurately:

#1. What’s been going on with Orlando in the last month [or so]?

and,

#2. What specific remedies the Magic will need to implement, in order to make their problems disappear for the balance of this season? 

There are five simple [inter-related] player personnel moves which Stan Van Gundy needs to implement that will cure what is ailing the Orlando Magic at the moment:

1. Replace Jason Williams with Anthony Johnson as the exclusive primary Back-up Point Guard to Jameer Nelson.

2. Remove Matt Barnes from the regular rotation.

3. Shift Rashard Lewis into the Starting Small Forward position.

4. Shift Ryan Anderson into the Starting Power Forward position.

5. Use Brandon Bass in the Back-up Power Forward position.

What these five specific changes would do, in effect, is create a regular rotation which features the following Start Five:

Jameer Nelson, PG
Vince Carter, OG
Rashard Lewis, SF
Ryan Anderson, PF
Dwight Howard, C

in conjunction with the following set of Key Subs off the bench:

Anthony Johnson, PG
JJ Redick, OG
Mickael Pietrus, SF
Brandon Bass, PF 
Marcin Gortat, C

and the following list of Reserves/Extras/Outs:

Jason Williams, PG
Matt Barnes, SF
Adonal Foyle, C

Move #1
With a healthy Jameer Nelson [PG] in their everyday line-up, an erratic player like Jason Williams [PG] is not the right fit with their team, in a primary back-up role, in comparison with a more consistent player like Anthony Johnson [who is a much better defender and rebounder than J-Wil, at this stage of their respective careers].

Game Log for Anthony Johnson in Orlando’s Last 13 Games

Regular Season

FG

3PT

FT

Rebounds

Misc

 Date

Opponent

Score

GS

Min

 

M

A

Pct

 

M

A

Pct

 

M

A

Pct

 

O

D

T

 

Ast

TO

Stl

Blk

PF

Pts

 Jan 18

@ LAL

L 92-98

0

0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Jan 15

@ POR

L 87-102

0

0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Jan 13

@ DEN

L 97-115

0

06:23

 

1

2

50.0

 

1

1

100.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

1

1

 

0

0

0

0

0

3

 Jan 12

@ SAC

W 109-88

0

0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Jan 9

ATL

W 113-81

0

0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Jan 8

@ WAS

L 97-104

0

0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Jan 6

TOR

L 103-108

0

0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Jan 5

@ IND

L 90-97

0

0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Jan 2

@ CHI

L 93-101

0

0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Jan 1

@ MIN

W 106-94

0

0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Date

Opponent

Score

GS

Min

 

M

A

Pct

 

M

A

Pct

 

M

A

Pct

 

O

D

T

 

Ast

TO

Stl

Blk

PF

Pts

 Dec 30

MIL

W 117-92

0

0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Dec 25

BOS

L 77-86

0

0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Dec 23

HOU

W 102-87

0

0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

W-L

5-8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game Log for Anthony Johnson when playing +10:00

Regular Season

FG

3PT

FT

Rebounds

Misc

 Date

Opponent

Score

GS

Min

 

M

A

Pct

 

M

A

Pct

 

M

A

Pct

 

O

D

T

 

Ast

TO

Stl

Blk

PF

Pts

 Dec 21

UTH

W 104-99

0

12:00

 

1

2

50.0

 

0

1

0.0

 

2

2

100.0

 

0

2

2

 

2

2

0

0

3

4

 Dec 19

POR

W 92-83

0

25:15

 

3

10

30.0

 

1

4

25.0

 

2

2

100.0

 

0

6

6

 

3

3

4

0

2

9

 Dec 17

@ MIA

L 86-104

0

24:12

 

2

6

33.3

 

1

2

50.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

1

1

 

5

2

1

0

4

5

 Dec 16

TOR

W 118-99

0

24:46

 

5

9

55.6

 

1

3

33.3

 

2

2

100.0

 

1

1

2

 

4

3

0

0

0

13

 Dec 14

IND

W 106-98

0

27:14

 

6

11

54.6

 

1

3

33.3

 

0

0

N/A

 

1

3

4

 

7

1

1

1

1

13

 Dec 11

@ PHO

L 103-106

0

19:54

 

4

10

40.0

 

1

3

33.3

 

2

2

100.0

 

0

1

1

 

2

1

1

0

4

11

 Dec 10

@ UTH

L 111-120

0

11:48

 

1

2

50.0

 

0

1

0.0

 

2

2

100.0

 

0

1

1

 

1

1

0

0

1

4

 Dec 8

@ LAC

W 97-86

0

21:46

 

2

4

50.0

 

1

2

50.0

 

1

2

50.0

 

0

4

4

 

4

2

1

0

0

6

 Dec 5

@ GSW

W 126-118

0

11:22

 

2

4

50.0

 

1

2

50.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

1

0

0

0

1

5

 Dec 2

NYK

W 118-104

0

21:16

 

1

2

50.0

 

0

1

0.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

1

5

6

 

4

0

0

0

0

2

 Date

Opponent

Score

GS

Min

 

M

A

Pct

 

M

A

Pct

 

M

A

Pct

 

Off

Def

Tot

 

Ast

TO

Stl

Blk

PF

Pts

 Nov 29

@ NYK

W 114-102

0

11:36

 

1

3

33.3

 

0

1

0.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

1

1

 

2

1

0

0

2

2

 Nov 28

@ MIL

W 100-98

0

13:05

 

1

3

33.3

 

1

1

100.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

0

0

 

0

0

0

0

1

3

 Nov 26

@ ATL

W 93-76

0

21:08

 

6

10

60.0

 

3

5

60.0

 

2

2

100.0

 

1

1

2

 

3

0

0

0

2

17

 Nov 20

@ BOS

W 83-78

0

14:52

 

0

3

0.0

 

0

1

0.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

1

3

4

 

3

3

0

0

0

0

 Nov 18

OKC

W 108-94

0

19:30

 

4

7

57.1

 

1

3

33.3

 

0

0

N/A

 

0

1

1

 

4

2

0

0

1

9

 Nov 1

@ TOR

W 125-116

0

11:17

 

1

1

100.0

 

0

0

N/A

 

2

2

100.0

 

0

0

0

 

3

0

0

0

0

4

 

W-L

13-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Move #2
Although Matt Barnes [6-7, 226] has proved to be an energetic player over the course of his NBA career, right now he is not a “good fit” with the Magic, given his specific skill-set [i.e. 3FG%=28.6; Ast:TO=1.0] and considering the other guards and forwards on their roster.

Move #3
Using a player like Rashard Lewis [6-10, 230] at the Starting SF position makes the Magic bigger at this spot … i.e. compared with Matt Barnes [6-7, 226] … while still retaining their collective ability to shoot the ball effectively from the perimeter [i.e. 3FG%=39.5] and make good decisions [i.e. Ast:TO=1.0] around a center-piece like Dwight Howard.

This move would then allow Mickael Pietrus to flourish, by providing Orlando with a much better scorer and defender coming off the bench, at this key swing position, instead of Matt Barnes.

Move #4
Ryan Anderson is a solid low-maintenance perimeter shooting Big Man who can stretch defense around D-12 and defend adequately: [i] on the perimeter against smaller players, and [ii] in the post against non-behemoth Power Forwards and Centers.

Move #5
Brandon Bass is an under-sized Power Forward who, on offense, works well in the mid-range area [i.e. FG%=53.1] and is able to hold his ground, defensively, and in terms of rebounding, against any Back-up PF. Unfortunately, to this point in the season, he is being wasted on the Magic’s bench with a series of DNPs.

—————————–

Magic Remedy, Part 1

If Stan Van Gundy makes these specific personnel adjustments Orlando will finish in 1 of the top 4 positions in the Eastern Conference, once again, and advance to the East Finals, against Boston or Cleveland or Atlanta or Miami, with a solid shot at returning to the NBA Finals this season. 

Magic Remedy, Part II

What Stan Van Gundy also needs to do, however, is return to being the curmudgeon he has always been, not the giant “teddy bear” he has morphed into recently, in the aftermath of Dwight Howard’s request to “lighten up” on his routinely harsh criticism of his own team/players.

If Stan chooses to continue on his current path, then, Orlando will have very little chance of besting Boston, Cleveland, Atlanta or Miami in the playoffs this season.

This is not the sort of team that Stan Van Gundy can afford to “go soft on”.

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21 Responses to “Fixing what is actually wrong with the Orlando Magic”

  1. brothersteve Says:

    Line-up changes for the OM make sense.
    I thought the reason they did all those moves in the off season was to be able to play RL at SF?

  2. drizzle Says:

    Are you serious? You want to bench J-Will? Erratic play? He’s like in the top 3 in assist to turnover ratio, is shooting over 40% from 3 and you want to bench him for Anthony freakin Johnson? You really are stupid. If anything, Jameer “Shoot and miss first, pass later” Nelson should be benched, as should Vince “shoot and miss 70% of the time” Carter. What was Orlando’s record when J-Will started? Yeah, that’s what I thought. When J-Will runs the show, the team is up tempo and has flow. D12 and Rashard actually get touches. When VC and Nelson are on the floor, D12 and Rashard never get the ball. With Nelson and Johnson, the offense is stagnant. Are you watching actually the Orlando Magic or another team? Do you need your eyes checked?

  3. drizzle Says:

    Oh wait, I get it lol. You want the Magic to LOSE, not win.

  4. khandor Says:

    drizzle,

    1. Welcome aboard! :-)

    2. J-Will’s Ast:TO is not where the problem lies with the Magic right now.

    re: “When J-Will runs the show, the team is up tempo and has flow.”

    As I said, the Magic’s problem with J-Will on the floor isn’t at the offensive end of the floor, as much as it’s at the defensive end.

    J-Will’s inability to just “play hard”, all the time he’s on the floor, in a physical way, at this stage of his career, is a major part of what’s ailing Orlando during this rough stretch they are going through recently.

    When you actually listen to what SVG is saying about the performance of his team … it is not a better Ast:TO or better flow offensively that he has identified as culprets in their present under-achievement status.

    3. What the team’s record was with J-Will “starting” is actually irrelevant to the Magic’s current plight.

    Jameer Nelson is the Starting PG for the Magic, if he’s healthy, and the proper question is:

    Who should be his proper Back-up, to allow the team to succeed in the best way possible?

    IMO, the answer to this specific question is plain to see, if you examine the win totals for this team when Anthony Johnson plays 10+ min/game vs when he does not.

  5. Ezy Says:

    khandor, if you’re worried about the defense, why on earth would you suggest moving rashard lewis to small forward? Dont get me wrong, offensively this would be great and id love to see anderson with more court time, but Lewis is simply unable to guard the smaller, quicker sf’s. Also on defense, Bass is racking up the DNP CD’s because our defense is shot whilst he is on the court.

    in terms of Dad over J-Will, you gotta be kidding me? J-Will is clearly the better player, period.

  6. Ezy Says:

    Oh, and another thing, Matt Barnes is bringing more energy, hustle and reliability than any other magic player over the past 4 weeks, and you want to not only drop him from the starting unit, but take him out of rotation? Yeah right.

  7. khandor Says:

    Ezy,

    1. Welcome aboard! :-)

    2. J-Will has a superior individual offensive skill-set compared with Dad but it is simply not the case that he is a better Back-up PG, at this stage of their respective careers, when you assess how the team performs collectively when led by these two different types of players.

    3. Assessing that a player is performing as one of the best ones on a squad for a specific stretch of games THAT ACTUALLY INVOLVES MORE WINNING THAN LOSING is simply not a reliable indication of that player’s actual ability to contribute to a High End team in the NBA, as a main rotation player.

    e.g. It leads to faulty reasoning that looks like this:

    - Team X is playing poorly
    - Team X’s best player during this stretch is Player #11
    - Player #11 is in fact one of the Top 8-9 players on Team X who SHOULD definitely be included in their main rotation

    Instead of this type of less-than ideal thinking what makes more sense are thoughts which run along the following lines:

    - when Team X happens to be playing at its very best, it plays this [?] specific style of basketball and wins many more games than it loses
    - in this specific scenario, Player #8 is making a positive contribution
    - Player #8 is, therefore, one of the Top 8-9 players on Team X who should definitely be included in their main rotation, given how the team performs collectively when he’s used in this specific role

    i.e. If a team is using a specific style that is losing more games than winning AND Matt barnes is racking up big individual numbers then one of that team’s main problems just might be the specific role which Matt Barnes is currently playing for this losing team. Alter Matt Barnes’ role significantly and … presto, chango … what you will end up with is a significantly different set of results than what you were getting before.

    4. I’m not worried about the Magic’s defense. IMO, it’s the Magic who SHOULD be worried about J-Will’s defense, and lack of physicality on this end of the floor.

    5. Neither am I worried about Rashard Lewis’ relatively poor defense at the SF position, given how big his teammates are in the suggested starting line-up, at their respective positions, in conjunction with their abilities to defensive rebound and shoot the rock efficiently, from Threeville …

    i.e. Nelson/PG, Carter/OG, Lewis/SF, Anderson/PF and Howard/C.

  8. Ezy Says:

    Khandor,

    J-Will, Jameer, Dad…NONE of them are good defenders. What im saying is that the positive influence of J-Will on the court far exceeds any minimal defensive gain by having AJ on, if indeed there is any defensive gain there.

    In no way whatsoever is Matt Barnes role accounting for the recent losses. His big contributions have come in categories such as rebounds and assists (sure there was the odd 20pt performance in there), but his main value comes from the energy and desire he was bringing. The problem during the magics recent slumps is the mentality of the magic, who all too often drop their heads and jack away from three pt land, and that those 3 pt shots have not been dropping. If you want to use the type of thinking you have specified there, then earlier in the year in Jameers absence with J-will starting we had a great winning record. Does this therefore contradict your J-Will argument? Dad was not as effective in all but one or two of those games (mormally the second night of back to backs)

  9. khandor Says:

    Ezy,

    re: J-Will vs AJ

    I’m not saying that Dad is a good defender by any means, or exceptionally energetic, etc., only that he is better at providing those specific things for this version of the Magic, as a low-minutes played Back-up PG to Jameer Nelson than is J-Will, and the team, collectively, happens to perform at a higher level when he’s in the rotation than when he isn’t.

    re: Matt Barnes

    Similarily, I’m not saying that Matt Barnes is a horrible player, only that, in comparison with Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis and Mickael Pietrus, he should not be on the floor for Orlando this season, while shooting a meager 28.3% [32-113] from behind the 3PT line.

    Matt Barnes is a terrific EXTRA [i.e. 4th or 5th] wing to have on your squad but he is simply not a first-class player, in the NBA, with the sort of specific or general skill-set needed to play major minutes for a high end team AHEAD of cats like VC, RL and MP.

  10. Ezy Says:

    Agree to disagree bro, opinions arelike arseholes, everyone has one.

  11. Edwin Says:

    Khandor,

    You make some fair points in your argument. However, I don’t think they are the main reason the Magic have been struggling recently. Their are two siginificant reasons for the struggles:

    1. Defensive Energy: the Magic just look slow to get to loose balls, defensive rebounds, and rotating from the weakside. This has been a significant problem all season long. The only reason the Magic are any good on defense is Howard. That being said Howard can’t do everything on the defensive end. Others have to help.

    2. Lack of ball movement on offense: Last season I saw the ball swinging from side to side with ease. Teams couldn’t keep up with the Magic. This season has been much more one on one oriented offense. I believe their two reasons for this:
    a. Vince Carter’s inability to be a playmaker has put all the pressure on
    the Nelson and Jwill to create for others. Turk had his faults, but he did
    a great job of initiating the offense and taking off the pressure on the
    PGs.
    b. The PGs inconsistincy. With more pressure on the PGs their
    inconsistency has really hurt the team. Mainly Nelson due to his injury
    issues. I love Jameer, but until he gets it going the Magic will not win
    the finals or the East.

    You can talk about switching the lineups all you want, but until the defensive energy and ball movement improves no lineup will be very successful.

  12. Mark O'Meara Says:

    Over the last 10 games Barnes is hitting 53.3% of his 3-point shots. He started in a slump and is now out of it, so the 28% number is not relevant.

  13. khandor Says:

    Ezy,

    re: J-Will vs Dad, as Back-up PG for Orlando

    Agreeing to disagree is almost always a good thing. :-)

    In this case, however …

    Is there really an effective counter position to the following W-L records for the Magic this season?

    6-8, in Orlando’s last 14 games when AJ has played < 10+ min

    Dec Wed 23 vs Hou W 102-87, J-Will/-3; Nelson/+18
    Dec Fri 25 vs Bos L 77-86, J-Will/0; Nelson/-9 *
    Dec Wed 30 vs Mil W 117-92, J-Will/+37; Nelson/-12
    Jan Fri 01 @ Min W 106-94, J-Will/-1; Nelson/+13
    Jan Sat 02 @ Chi L 93-101, J-Will/+5; Nelson/-13 *
    Jan Tue 05 @ Ind L 90-97, J-Will/-7; Nelson/0 **
    Jan Wed 06 vs Tor L 103-108, J-Will/-6; Nelson/+1 **
    Jan Fri 08 @ Was L 97-104, J-Will/+4; Nelson/-11 *
    Jan Sat 09 vs Atl W 113-81, J-Will/+21; Nelson/+11
    Jan Tue 12 @ Sac W 109-88, J-Will/+17; Nelson/+4
    Jan Wed 13 @ Den L 97-115, J-Will/-21; Nelson/-7 **
    Jan Fri 15 @ Por L 87-102, J-Will/+4; Nelson/-19 *
    Jan Mon 18 @ LAL L 92-98, J-Will/-17; Nelson/+4 **
    Jan Wed 20 vs Ind W 109-98, J-Will/+20; Nelson/-9

    * - indicates Orlando Loss where the 1st unit played poorly [4]
    ** - indicates Orlando Loss where the 2nd unit played poorly [4]
    vs

    13-3, in Orlando's games to-date when AJ has played > 10+ min, as the primary Back-up PG to either Jameer Nelson or Jason Williams.

  14. khandor Says:

    Edwin,

    Welcome aboard! :-)

    1. The defensive energy that the Back-up PG brings to the table should never be discounted when evaluating how to fix the problems of a high end team that is temporarily in “fail” mode.

    Physicality is part of what AJ brings to the table, and has never ever been a strength of J-Will’s individual game.

    2. One effective way to promote increased ball movement in an elite team’s half-court offense is to remove a perimeter shooting PG from the rotation and replace him with a non-perimeter shooting PG with a focus on running the team and driving to the basket.

    J-Will is many things as a decent enough PG in this league but he is not better at doing either of these things offensively than Dad is, at this stage of their respective careers.

    3. re: the PG’s inconsistency

    The problem has been how the 2nd unit has played in the Magic’s 4 losses high-lighted with the ** in the comment above.

    Remove those specific results from Orlando’s current W-L record and I would contend that this discussion we’re having at the moment would never be taking place. :-)

  15. khandor Says:

    Mark O’Meara,

    Welcome aboard! :-)

    1. What percentage Matt Barnes is shooting in Orlando’s Last 10 games is rendered irrelevant given that the Magic have performed poorly, overall, during this specific stretch of games [i.e. W-L = 4-6].

    How well Player X shoots the 3 when his team is “under-achieving” should not be the barometer by which you go when determining his actual level of effectiveness when that same team is performing at its highest level.

  16. Charles Says:

    How about adjusting your Scenario with Matt Barnes to something like this.

    Drop Vince Carter out of the rotation, replace with Matt Barnes or Michael Pietrus.

    So your starting lineup would look like this
    PG – Nelson
    SG – Pietrus
    SF – Lewis
    PF – Anderson
    C – Howard

    Back-ups
    PG – Williams/Johnson (Depending on who you are playing)
    OG – Reddick
    SF – Barnes
    PF – Bass
    C – Gortat

    Now how, do those lineups fair in your analysis? I bet dropping Carter would benefit the Magic the most, as of right now. Replacing him with a reliable and capable playmaker rather than scorer would cure zillions of headaches on the offensive end.

  17. khandor Says:

    Charles,

    1. Welcome aboard! :-)

    2. I still prefer my suggested line-up to yours:

    Charles’ Line-up Option for Orlando
    STARTERS: Nelson + Pietrus + Lewis + Anderson + Howard
    KEY SUBS: Williams/Johnson + Redick + Barnes + Bass + Gortat

    khandor’s Line-up Option for Orlando
    STARTERS: Nelson + Carter + Lewis + Anderson + Howard
    KEY SUBS: Johnson + Redick + Pietrus + Bass + Gortat

    with the following positional allocations:

    khandor’s 9-Man Rotation for Orlando
    STARTERS: Nelson/PG + Carter/OG + Lewis/SF-PF + Anderson/PF + Howard/C
    ——————————————
    KEY SUBS: Johnson/PG + Pietrus/OG-SF + Bass/PF + Gortat/C
    ================================
    RESERVES: Williams/PG, Redick/OG, Barnes/SF and Foyle/C

    IMO, Vince Carter is a player who needs to be used within the confines of a heavily set-based half-court offensive system, utilizing his array of abilities as a scorer, passer, shooter and post-up player.

    ================

    PS. Whenever Wince Carter is injured, he should be removed from the game immediately and not be put back in. If he is incapable of playing at a high level due to injury he should be removed from the line-up altogether and Matt Barnes should simply take his place in the rotation.

    PPS. If you look carefully, you should be able to see that Matt Barnes and Jason Williams aren’t the only 2 players in Orlando’s present rotation who I see as being used incorrectly.

  18. Charles Says:

    I agree that Vince Carter should not be playing if he’s not able to perform at the high level of the NBA, or a shade off his All-Star level, due to injury. Which is the current situation.

    Leaving out Jason Williams, I don’t have a problem with, Matt Barnes on the other hand, I question.

    I think your use of stats is misleading in Barnes’s case because basketball is a team sport, and Barnes is getting the negative effects of being on the court with an incompetent Vince Carter, and sometimes J-Will, too ferquently. Thus by measuring Matt the same, it reflects negatively and I would venture to say inaccurately upon Matt’s value to the team.

    He’s the best hustle player the Magic have, he extends plays, grabs tons of rebounds and loose balls that only he would get due to his hustle, and he has of late been fairly accurate. I will concede that he does tend to frequently hoist too many three pointers, but his defense and hustle are why he is primarily on the court in the first place. If only his hustle was contagious, and until someone else stepped up their hustle to remotely resemble his, excluding Dwight Howard, he has to remain at the very least a Key Sub.

  19. khandor Says:

    Charles,

    Unfortunately, the array of positive things which Matt Barnes can do on a basketball are more than off-set by [i] his 28% 3PT Field Goal shooting, [ii] his penchant for hoisting them, in the first place, and his less-than stellar individual defense against physical wing players like Lebron James, Pierce Paul and Kobe Bryant.

    Although what Matt Barnes did with the Golden State Warriors was certainly above average, what he’s done the last 1.5 seasons with the Phoenix Suns and [now] the Orlando Magic indicates that he is far from being a solid contributor to a first-class contending team in the NBA.

    Based strictly upon the facts …

    It is simply an accurate observation to say that when Matt Barnes plays major minutes, he is capable of putting up solid individual production numbers himself, in such hustle categories as: rebounds, steals, blocked shots, defelections, etc.; while the team he plays for loses more than its fair share of games.

    IMO, Matt Barnes can succeed as either a Reserve, or an Extra player on a contending team in the NBA; but, not as a Starting player.

    The primary reason Matt Barnes needs to play as an Extra player with Orlando, isn’t because he is a “bad” wing but because Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus and Rashard Lewis are each better than he is, working within the specific confines of what the Magic are trying to accomplish Offensively, Defensively and Rebounding wise, while playing around Dwight Howard.

  20. Charles Says:

    Well, again, your interpretation of the facts, in my opinion, is misleading as to whether or not Barnes hurts the team more than helps. I’m not saying he should start, but I do see the usefullness of him being a consistent role playing reserve.

    We can’t use the statistics he accumalated with another team prior to the Magic, because that was different system with different players and basketball is a TEAM sport. Whether a team wins or loses, is the result of multiple individual performances combined and intertwined together.

    I believe it was pointed out that Barnes has been shooting better as of lately, it would be wrong to solely look at his season’s entire output rather than the specified time frame and on to justify his inept shooting touch.

    But as you stated, Matt Barnes is not a starter in the NBA, he’s a reserve but a quality reserve that gives you 100%. That’s what you want from all your players, especially your reserves. And if Lebron, Pierce and Kobe are the only 3 guys he has troubling guarding … well, that’s the rest of the players in the NBA too, so no defense lost there. (Just saying that point seemed kind of absurd.)

  21. khandor Says:

    Charles,

    1. I referenced Matt Barnes’ play with Phoenix to convey the information that he is a player who has contributed this type of “negative” effect to a NBA team’s performance in the past … despite the fact that he is a good “hustle” player … and that what is happening now with Orlando does not seem to be an unique occurence for him.

    2. I only listed Lebron, Pierce and Kobe as 3 “examples” of ultra-physical wing players that Barnes has trouble against not because they are the “only” 3 players to whom this designation applies … e.g. each of Carmelo Anthony, Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, and Tayshaun Prince – not all of whom are physical “beasts”, at the SF position – also happens to be a tough check for Mr. Barnes.

    3. Matt Barnes is shooting 28% on 3PT FGs for the season.

    If he has indeed shot “better” recently when he’s been given more playing time, the simple fact is that his improved 3PT shooting percentage has coincided with the relatively poor play of the Magic overall. Therefore, this is not a “positive” correlation, in terms of Matt Barnes’ good play contributing to the highest level of performance for Orlando’s team, on the whole.

    As I’ve said already, Matt Barnes is an okay NBA player who I would have few qualms about using in a specific role with my team, if it wasn’t the case that I also had 2 other wing players like Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus on my squad, in addition to Rashard Lewis who is capable of playing either PF or SF in a more than adequate way, when Dwight Howard is the Starting Center.

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