Jan 10, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) knocks the ball out of the hand of Orlando Magic point guard Jameer Nelson (14) during the second quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Magic: Half Court Offense Needs an Overhaul

The Orlando Magic lost to the Sacramento Kings 103-83 on Friday and continue to struggle on offense.

The Magic can be lethal in transition due to the athletic players the Magic have on its roster. However, when teams like the Kings are able to limit the Magic’s fast break opportunities, the Magic struggle mightily.

On Friday, the Kings limited the Magic to 10 fast break points and forced the Magic to shoot only 33.3 percent from the field. The half court  offense that the Magic are using is easy to guard for opposing teams. The problems include way too many isolation plays, lack of off-ball movement and poor decision making.


Glen Davis, Tobias Harris and Arron Afflalo love to isolate at the top of the key against defenders. Isolation basketball usually means clearing out one side of the key, creating a one-on-one match up. This kind of offense can work if you have elite level ball handlers that can beat their man off the the dribble. The only player on the Magic who is somewhat successful is Afflalo, who can use his unbelievable back-to-the-basket game, to his advantage. Harris can be successful in isolation against power forwards that lack the speed to guard him,  but struggles against small forwards. Davis will usually either drive to the basket resulting in a blocked shot or take a mid-range jump shot, neither are examples of efficient half court basketball.

If the Magic don’t win the one-on-one match up, the possession will usually end with a poor shot near the end of the shot clock.

Moving without the basketball

For a team with a lot of young athletes, the Magic don’t seem to use that athleticism in the half court. Afflalo, Harris, Victor Oladipo and Maurice Harkless excel when they run the fast break. However, in the half court the players seldom move with purpose without the basketball.

The Magic will occasionally run a curl play for Afflalo, but very rarely do the Magic make sharp cuts to the basket without the ball. It’s very easy for opposing teams to guard an offense that stands still.

Poor decision making from the veterans

The veterans on the Magic have made poor decisions throughout the season. It is expected that rookie Victor Oladipo would make bad decisions from time to time, especially with Oladipo making the transition to the point guard position.

However, what is unexpected is the bad decisions made by veterans, Jameer Nelson and Glen Davis. Nelson takes too many bad 3-point shots, gets his shot blocked easily on lay up attempts and struggles to find teammates on drives due to his height and lack of athleticism.

Davis routinely gets his shot blocked on drives to the basket, because he lacks the vertical jumping ability to finish over defenders. He also gets the ball stripped when he drives to the basket. Against the Kings, Nelson and Davis combined for eight turnovers. It is incredibly difficult for a young team to win, when its veterans make poor decisions.

This bingo chart should properly illustrate the problems that have become a consistent issue for the Magic.



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Tags: Glen Davis Jameer Nelson Orlando Magic

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