Orlando Magic Playoff Preview: 5 adjustments Orlando Magic must make immediately

<> at Scotiabank Arena on April 1, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.
<> at Scotiabank Arena on April 1, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. /
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Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks
Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks /

Involving Aaron Gordon on Offense

Aaron Gordon has had one of the more intriguing seasons of the year.

He has clearly grown by several leaps and bounds in a whole lot of ways, shooting more efficiently and effectively while growing his offensive game. And Gordon has rediscovered his defensive chops.

Coach Steve Clifford trusts Aaron Gordon about as much as any player on the team. He leads the team in minutes per game and is the most likely player Clifford will feel he cannot take out. It is mostly because of his defense. Aaron Gordon will guard the best player on the other team whether that is Kawhi Leonard, Ben Simmons or Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Gordon will have a huge responsibility when the playoffs begin.

That means the Magic are going to have to find a way to make offense easy for Gordon. Or as easy as possible. The team will need a strong defensive contribution from Gordon for sure. But they will also need a consistent offensive effort too.

In wins this year, Gordon averages 16.8 points per game, 7.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game on a 53.9 percent effective field goal percentage. In losses, Gordon averages 14.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game on a 46.9 percent effective field goal percentage.

The secondary things are pretty similar. Gordon will dish the ball and grab rebounds at the same rate. But it is pretty clear to see when the Magic are playing well, Gordon is scoring efficiently.

So it will be key to get Gordon shots in spots where he can score within the flow of the offense and in transition. Especially since he will be doing a lot of work on defense.

Gordon will get his looks and have his opportunities though. He will find some favorable matchups and when he gets them, he has to attack quickly.

Gordon uses his athleticism best when he moves quickly. Here, he gets the ball on the wing and quickly attacks Jimmy Butler before Butler can get set. Gordon does not get the basket initially. In fact, Butler gets the block.

But Gordon’s second jump is so quick he is able to collect the rebound and move quickly into his next shot. There are countless numbers of times where Gordon forces his way to the rim in this exact way and then quickly jumps before the defense can react for a rebound and a putback.

This is obviously not the most efficient way for Gordon to score. A play like this one is probably more the way the Magic need to get Gordon involved:

Here the Magic clear the paint with Nikola Vucevic receiving the ball at the free throw line extended. Aaron Gordon is an incredibly smart cutter and he runs a flex cut to get right in the middle of the lane before Kawhi Leonard can adjust and stop him.

Gordon is able to move quickly before the defense collapses around him and he makes the shot.

The key is quick movement from Gordon. When he makes quick decisions, they are usually good ones. He has the athleticism and size to get into space before defenses can react. The longer he waits, the tighter the window to attack becomes for him.

And also the worse his shots become.

Gordon has limited the amount of dribbles he takes before he shoots and limited his isolation play. But he still falls into this trap. Especially with his penchant for fading away on shots, even with a smaller defender on him.

Gordon has to be on the attack, looking to get to the basket quickly and using his athleticism to get there. The more he waits and holds the ball, the lower his chances of scoring are and the more the defense can load up on him.

Gordon will certainly face another problem. His moves are a bit predictable. In the post he will face up, take a hard dribble toward the middle of the paint and shoot a fadeaway jumper. Teams will sit on that and make him work harder if he tries to isolate.

The solution for the Magic is to look to get him moving off the ball with cuts to the basket or flashing to the middle of the paint, where he can move quickly and score. Gordon is already a natural at doing this. He is adept at cutting into open space instinctually.

They have to create space for him to do so and run some spread sets that leave Gordon the option to make a move to get the ball and attack quickly. From there, he can let his athleticism do the rest.