Expect Orlando’s Shooting To Improve

Expect Orlando’s Shooting To Improve

During the Stan Van Gundy era, the Magic have been one of the league’s elite three-point shooting teams.

The Atlanta Hawks, who the Magic have tortured with the outside shot as much as anyone over that span, are now defending the Magic as well as anyone.

After Orlando’s win Tuesday, in which they shot just 34.6% from the field and 21.7% from beyond the arc, Van Gundy joked that he should actually show the ball going though the basket when he diagrams plays.

All joking aside, something is clearly wrong with Orlando’s shooters and it’s not just Atlanta’s defense.

On the chart below, you can see just how much Orlando’s players other than Dwight Howard, whose averaging 39.5 points per game on 71.4% shooting in the series, have underperformed.

eFG% Hedo Turkoglu Jason Richardson J.J. Redick Jameer Nelson Gilbert Arenas Brandon Bass Ryan Anderson

Season Average

53.4% 53.6% 53.8% 51.7% 43.3% 51.5% 55.8%

Series Vs. Atlanta 28.0% 30.0% 25.0% 48.5% 43.8% 20.0% 44.4%

Arenas is the only player who has actually improved his effective field goal percentage but his sample size is extremely small – he’s taken eight total shots.

Jameer Nelson’s statistics aren’t down too much but that’s mostly the result of his 20-point third quarter in game 1. Nelson followed up that game 1 performance by going 4-of-15 from the field on Tuesday in game 2.

Ryan Anderson showed some signs of snapping out of his funk when he knocked down two three-pointers and scored eight points Tuesday to make up for his scoreless performance in game 1.

The biggest culprits are clearly Turkoglu, Richardson, Redick and Bass.

Redick can be given a bit of a pass because game 1 was the first time he saw real action in about five weeks.

Richardson has had some good looks, he is just ice cold from beyond the arc, going 2-of-9 in the series so far. Richardson has also mentioned this series has to be more about defense for he has drawn the tough assignment of guarding Joe Johnson. After doing a horrendous job of defending Johnson in game 1, he did a very good job in game 2. Richardson is still expected to shoot better than he has although his defense of Johnson is his most important role right now.

Brandon Bass has taken just 10 total shots in the series. Before game 1, several members of the media thought Bass looked tight. Yes, Bass has been in a big situation before – he played in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics last season – but he wasn’t even sure if he was going to get time at all in that series and really hasn’t been in a situation this big as a starter. His midrange jumper, which general manager Otis Smith has called the best on the team, hasn’t been falling. Bass seemed to take notice of this and went to the basket more in game 2.  Bass wasn’t particularly good against the Hawks this season – he shot 43.9% from the field in four games and made just 4.5 shots per game during the regular season. Still, Bass has been one of the more consistent shooters on the team and despite being matched up with an all-star in Al Horford; you’d have to expect his shooting percentage to take the biggest jump.

Clearly the biggest culprit has been Hedo Turkoglu. Yes, like the others, he’s missed some good, but he’s taken some inexplicably bad shots (well as I’ve said before, they’d only truly be inexplicable if anyone other than Turkoglu took them). On one occasion Turkoglu caught a perfect pass from Jameer Nelson under the basket but fumbled the ball and couldn’t finish. Rather than regrouping and getting back to the basket or dishing the ball to an open man, Turkoglu dribbled out and took a fadeaway. Luckily for him, Howard was there for the put back. Throughout the game, the Magic decided to post up every player Jamal Crawford was matched up against aside from the smaller Jameer Nelson.  On one specific play, Turkoglu was matched up with Crawford near the low block. Turkoglu dribbled the ball in a circle back outside and bricked an 18-footer. I’m not saying Turkoglu needs to stop shooting jumpers and taking three-pointers, that’s clearly a huge part of his game, but Turkoglu needs to get to the basket more because he’s had ample opportunities to do so out of the pick-and-roll. No one is expecting Turkoglu to take Josh Smith off of the dribble but Smith looks a little uncomfortable defending the pick-and-roll so Turk should be able to get to the hoop at times. He has to take advantage.

Despite Atlanta’s success against Orlando on the defensive end this season (and they’ve clearly had a lot), the Magic shooters should see their numbers go up. They’ve had some nice looks that just haven’t fallen and those shots have to eventually start to go. Offensive rebound was a huge key for the Magic in game 2 and if they can continue to hit the glass while the defense is collapsing around the hoop to get the rebound, more open looks will come.  If Turkoglu and Nelson can create more off of the dribble or at least get into the paint, they should be able to get better looks for their shooters.