BREAK UP THE ORLANDO MAGIC! Lol jk, I think?
Orlando went 2-2 in a week where they played some really talented teams. The Magic had their moments of really impressive basketball - even in the losses – and that’s probably more important than the record at this point.
Victor Oladipo already looks like he could be a future star in the league. His third quarter against the Nets will be staying in my DVR for a while. Oladipo’s athleticism is devastating when he’s in transition. However, when opponents slow down the pace, he’s still very much like a rookie. At this point in his career he’s what a football-guy would call a “downhill runner.” Oladipo is best when he’s moving north-and-south. He’s less effective when opponents pressure him up near half-court which prevents him from getting a full head of steam. Oladipo hasn’t yet learned what to do to avoid and/or escape double teams, and he’s thrown a handful of…ambitious…bounce passes into the post, but those are things that he will learn in time. It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t think VO has a bright future.
Obviously, Andrew Nicholson has improved. His three-point shooting is getting the most attention, but he’s also improved his low-post defense. Orlando will to continue to rely on Nicholson because the Magic are decimated with injuries at power forward (Tobias Harris, Glen Davis and Solomon Jones.)
Something interesting: Jacque Vaughn matched Nikola Vucevic against Brooklyn’s power forwards in stretches of Sunday’s game. At times Vucevic would guard Kevin Garnett in the high post – leaving Jason Maxiell to guard Brook Lopez – in an effort to mask his struggles guarding in the low post. Is this a Brooklyn-specic scheme, or could we see more?
Wednesday, Nov 6th v. Los Angeles Clippers
Both the Clippers and the Magic have been playing a fast pace, which probably plays into the Clippers’ hands. You sort of have to pick your poison when defending the Clips. Do you defend the pick-and-roll or do to pressure the Clippers’ shooters. Look out for how Vucevic handles Los Angeles’ athletic front court.
Friday, Nov 8th v. Boston Celtics
So far, the Celtics have looked as bad as advertised. Boston has trouble will turning the ball over and the Magic are most effective in transition. Harkless and Oladipo could benefit from Boston’s poor rim-protection.
Saturday Nov 9th at Atlanta Hawks
Al Horford is playing some great basketball. I’m not sure the Magic have anyone who can guard him on the block. This might be one of those games where it’s best to put Maxiell on Horford and have Vuc guard the other big.