Orlando Magic Mid-Season Awards

facebooktwitterreddit

After a 17-4 start, the Magic have not played well. Since then, the Magic are just 9-11, have lost nine of their last 11 road games and seven of their last nine games overall.

Orlando’s 26-15 record means that we’re at the halfway mark, so let’s hand out some mid-season awards.

Click below to see the awards.

There are a lot of questions surrounding the Magic right now and I like to give the bad news first, so we’ll start off with the negative awards.

Biggest Disappointment: Vince Carter

Carter is averaging career-lows in scoring, shooting percentage, assists, steals, blocks, and minutes played.  Carter is shooting the worst he has shot from downtown since his rookie season. He has scored 23.2 points per game over his NBA career and has not averaged less than 20.8 points per game since his rookie season. This season, Carter is scoring just 16.8 points per game. Carter, who is a career 44.5% shooter and has only shot lower than 43.0% from the field once, is shooting 38.6% from the field this season.

I will expand on Carter later in the week.

Other nominees: There were a few nominees for this award, including two players, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson, who were All-Stars last year.

Worst Team Performance: January 15,2010: Blazers – 102 Magic – 85

The Magic have had several terrible performances this season but their performance against the Trail Blazers on January 15th was the worst. Not only was Blazers starting Center Greg Oden out for the season but his backup Joel Przybilla is as well. Blazers’ superstar Brandon Roy also missed the game. The Blazers dominated the game from start to finish. Portland shot 11-of-21 from beyond the arc while the Magic were just 7-of-30.  The Magic allowed Martell Webster, Andre Miller and Steve Blake combine to make nine three-pointers and score 61 points. The score was much closer than the game really was – the Magic were never in this one. Click here to read more about that game.

Other nominees: November 8, 2009: Thunder – 102 Magic – 74

The Magic shot 36.8% from the field and 18.8% from downtown. The Thunder shot 57.1% from the field and 56.3% from downtown. Orlando was outrebounded 45-30. This performance would have been classified, but Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson did not play. You can find more about that game here.

Best Effort: Matt Barnes

This was one of the easier awards to give out. Barnes brings it every night. He had some shooting issues early in the year, but rather than complain about it, Barnes worked his way through it and seems to have the problem corrected. He has scored 14.3 points per game in the month of January. Barnes averages 9.0 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game and routinely makes hustle plays.  He is a solid defender and helps to provide a much-needed toughness for the Magic. Barnes has been both a starter and a back-up and has yet to complain about either role. He does his job no matter what the situation is. Barnes has also stepped it up in the blocker. He has made his voice heard, as evidenced by his recent postgame tirade after Orlando’s loss to Portland January 15th. Every Magic player should take a long look at Matt Barnes and attempt to match his effort, energy and intensity.

Other nominess: J.J. Redick. He’s not the most physically gifted player but J.J. works hard on both ends of the floor every night.

Most Improved/Biggest Surprise: Ryan Anderson

I made this into one category because Ryan Anderson deserves both awards. Anderson, who many considered to be nothing more than a throw-in in the Vince Carter deal, has been very effective for the Magic. Anderson is another player who has played whatever role he has been asked to. Before injuring his ankle in the sixth game of the season, Anderson was a starter due to Rashard Lewis’ suspension and during those six games, played well – he averaged 15.0 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game. Anderson’s PER is 19.1, up from 13.6 last season. Anderson has proved to be more than just a shooter. He’s been a very solid rebounder, especially on the offensive glass where he has a rebounding percentage of 8.4%.

On the season, Anderson is scoring 9.3 points per game on 43.2% shooting from the field and 38.0% shooting from beyond the arc. He’s also grabbing 3.6 rebounds per game in just 17.1 minutes per game. Anderson, who played 19.9 minutes per game in 66 games for the Nets last season, averaged 7.4 points per game on 39.3% shooting (36.5% from downtown).

Other nominees: J.J. Redick has improved just about every aspect of his game and deserves to be right there with Ryan Anderson for both of these awards.

Jason Williams, who did not play last season, has done a very good job in both a starting role and as a backup. He’s effectively ran the team, had an excellent assist-to-turnover ratio and has made timely baskets.

Sixth Man of the Year: J.J. Redick

Any one of Orlando’s backups outside of Anthony Johnson, Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass probably could have received this award, but Redick deserves some credit for his performance. As stated above, Redick brings good energy night in and night out and is an improved player in every area of his game. Redick is averaging 9.6 points per game on 43% shooting (39.9% from downtown). Redick has done some good things this season. He puts the ball on the floor more often –  13% of his shots are from a close distance. Only 8% of hits shots were from a close distance last season. He has also done a nice job of drawing fouls. Redick draws fouls 12.4% of the time compared to 9.4% last season.

Other nominees: Take your pick. Mickael Pietrus, Ryan Anderson, Jason Williams. The Magic have showed off their depth this season – their bench has been strong.

“When Called Upon” Award: Anthony Johnson

A.J. has been nothing but a professional this season. He has only played in 22 games this season and often plays limited minutes when he does play, but he has performed when called upon. First, A.J. was called to play when Vince Carter went down with an ankle injury and he had to spend some time at Shooting Guard. Then Jameer Nelson went down with a torn meniscus and Johnson had to step and play more minutes, this time as the #2 Point Guard. Johnson has had a few very good games, including scoring a season-high 17-points in a Thanksgiving night win over the Atlanta Hawks. Johnson also had three straight double-digit scoring performances from December 10th through December 14th and was even inserted as a defensive replacement in a few games because of his size.

Other nominees: Jason Williams for stepping into the starting Point Guard spot when Nelson went down.

Best Team Performance: January 9, 2010: Orlando -113 Atlanta – 81

Funny that Orlando’s 32-point victory over the current Southeast  division-leading Atlanta Hawks came in the middle of Orlando’s worst stretch of play this season. The game ended a three-game losing streak. Ryan Anderson said that the win proved just how good Orlando could be. The Magic shot 53% from the field, made 12 three-pointers and held the Hawks to just 39.7% shooting from the field. The Magic had six players in double figures. You can read more about the game here.

Other nominees: November 4, 2009: Magic 122 Suns 100

The Magic held the previously undefeated Phoenix Suns to just 100 points on 45.5% shooting. The Magic shot 53.3% from the field, 52.2% from the three-point line and put up 122 points. The Magic forced 18 Suns turnovers and had six players score in double figures. You can find more on this game here.

MVP/Defensive Players of the Year: Dwight Howard

Although the Magic have a lot of talent, no one else is even in the conversation. Howard’s numbers are down but he is still the team’s leading scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker, averaging 17.0 points per game, 13.1 rebounds per game and 2.5 blocks per game. I attempted to explain Howard’s dip in production back in early December. Howard’s usage rate is down and his turnover rate is up – those are two huge reasons why his numbers have dipped.

Howard is still a monster on the defensive end, allowing virtually nothing inside the paint unless he is in foul trouble.  Howard’s defensive rebounding percentage (30.5%) is actually higher than it was last season and his block percentage (5.4%) is the second highest of his career. His defensive rating is 97. Last year, it was 95. Lately, the Magic have done a better job of getting Howard the ball, which is something they have struggled with for most of the season. Howard is averaging just 9.2 attempts per, the lowest number he has posted since his rookie year. Last season, he averaged a career-high 12.4 attempts per game.

Howard is still the Magic’s best, most important player and the most dominate big man in the game, which is why the Magic need Howard to be at his very best if they expect to make a run like they did last season.

Other nominees: None. No one else is even close.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)