Rafer Alston has now spent six games as Orlando’s starting point guard, and the Magic played six games between the Jameer Nelson injury and the Rafer Alston trade. It sounds like the time for a comparison. While there’s no doubt the Magic look like a better with Alston at the point, here are some stats that tell us what the Magic are doing differently with their new point guard. Here’s a look at the team’s wins and losses, the PG production, and the total team production during each six-game set. We’re throwing out the game where Alston came off the bench against Charlotte for statistical purposes, as he was totally unfamiliar with the team and playbook at that time.
6 games with Rafer Alston: Magic were 4-2 Opponents: Miami, Chicago, New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix (Combined W-L: 175-182) Starting PG stats: 29.5 mpg 12.8 ppg 5.7 apg 3.0 tpg 1.8 spg 42.8 FG% 23.8 3P% Team stats: 106.7 ppg 18.5 apg 15.5 tpg 227-476 FG 47.7 FG% 59-158 3P 37.3 3P%
6 games without Rafer Alston: Magic were 3-3 Opponents: L.A. Clippers, Indiana, New Jersey, Denver, Charlotte, New Orleans (Combined W-L: 171-194 Starting PG stats: 24.7 mpg 9.2 ppg 2.2 apg 1.3 tpg 0.8 spg 44.4 FG% 47.6 3P% Team stats: 98.8 ppg 18.7 apg 15.0 tpg 199-455 FG 43.7 FG% 64-166 3P 38.6 3P%
Conclusion: The Magic are undoubtedly playing at a quicker pace with Alston, as they’re shooting four more shots a game and scoring eight more points. But the Magic’s efficiency isn’t as improved as you might think. They’re turning the ball over more and passing less. 3-pointers are going in at a lower percentage under Alston, even though the Magic are shooting less shots from 3-point range. The biggest difference – and this is a good thing – is that the Magic are taking it to the hoop more. Under Rafer Alston, 75 percent of the Magic’s shots have been two-pointers. In the six games before Alston’s arrival, the Magic were only shooting 73 percent of their shots from inside the arc. Defensively, the Magic are playing worse on the stat sheet, but overall there hasn’t been much of a change. Orlando is playing at a quicker pace since Alston arrived, meaning more scoring chances for the other team. The game was slowed down with Anthony Johnson as the main point guard. Obviously, it was a good trade. While anything but Earth-shattering, Otis Smith showed a lot of juice with this move being able to pull it off at the trade deadline and give Orlando at least a fighter’s chance in the playoffs.