Over the next few weeks Orlando Magic Daily will be taking a look at the things that went right and wrong this season as Orlando ended its season with a disappointing first-round loss to Atlanta.
Orlando had lofty goals despite a somewhat disappointing 52-30 season and Lewis was a big part of building those expectations, pushing the Magic to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances. Lewis increased his scoring averages in the 2008 and 2009 playoffs to 19.0 and 19.5 points per game. If it were not for Lewis coming down with the flu in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals, who knows how that series would have gone.
One thing was clear, Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass did not perform to expectations in the postseason. Anderson scored only 2.6 points per game while shooting 28.6 percent from 3-pointers in 2009. His PER dropped from 18.1 in the regular season to 8.4. Bass too vastly underperformed, as he again struggled to get off the bench as he had during the regular season. Bass played only 6.0 minutes per game and scored 2.7 points per game. His lack of playing time had more to do with Van Gundy trusting him than anything else.
With Lewis gone though, the Magic needed Anderson and Bass to step up in the postseason. Especially playing Atlanta and Al Horford, sliding over from center so Jason Collins could guard Dwight Howard.
In the 2011 Playoffs, neither stepped up and neither played at the same level they had during a successful regular season. And that hurt the Magic most of all.
Anderson went from 10.6 points per game on 55.8 percent effective field goal percentage to 4.7 points per game 36.7 percent effective field goal percentage in the postseason. Bass went from 11.2 points per game on 57.1 percent true shooting percentage to 7.3 points per game on 50.3 percent true shooitng percentage. Bass’ rebounding dipped from 5.6 per game to 4.2 per game in the postseason and from a 12.5 percent total rebounding rate to 10.7 percent in the postseason.
Both Anderson and Bass saw 10-point drops in their offensive rating while on the floor. Their dips had something to do with that.
Both players had significant dropoffs from their regular season production — as did just about everyone else — but the big difference in the postseason was on defense. Al Horford just had his way and proved to be a big difference between the Magic and the Hawks.
Horford averaged 12.0 points per game and 10.2 rebounds per game in the six-game series. This seemed like a big improvement from the 13.0 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game from last year’s series. While the points actually decreased from 2010 to 2011, the rebounding might be something to look at more closely. If only Atlanta had gone to him more — his usage rate climbed above 20.0 percent just once. Hardly what you would expect from an All Star.
Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post summarized it succinctly in his post analyzing Anderson and Bass’ struggles in the postseason: “I don’t think it’s at all time to consider giving up on either player, or otherwise look to replace them. They’re unlikely to remain unproductive next season. But if another postseason comes and goes with both struggling, then it’d be a pattern, and the Magic would need to weigh their options at that position.”
Anderson and Bass are going to be names mentioned in any trade talk Otis Smith and the Magic are in. They are young and still have plenty of room for development. Plus both Bass and Anderson would be fantastic options coming off the bench.
The problem for Orlando is that the team is pretty much splitting the 48 minutes between the two. In the regular season it worked because the two were producing. In the postseason, it failed miserably.
Photo via DayLife.com.