2018-19 Orlando Magic Player Evaluations: Michael Carter-Williams

The Orlando Magic played at a quicker pace under Michael Carter-Williams. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic played at a quicker pace under Michael Carter-Williams. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Michael Carter-Williams, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks
ORLANDO, FL – APRIL 3: Michael Carter-Williams #7 of the Orlando Magic shoots the ball against the New York Knicks on April 3, 2019 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Good and the Bad

Per Game Table
2018-19 TOT 28 13.3 .374 .263 .415 .604 2.5 2.5 0.7 0.5 4.8
2018-19 HOU 16 9.1 .410 .368 .467 .462 0.8 1.3 0.6 0.4 4.3
2018-19 ORL 12 18.9 .339 .158 .363 .741 4.8 4.1 0.9 0.8 5.4
Career 315 26.2 .401 .251 .423 .702 4.5 4.6 1.3 0.6 10.9

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/10/2019.

Michael Carter-Williams still has a lot of flaws in his game. His numbers bear that out. He scored only 5.4 points per game and shot 33.9 percent from the floor overall in his 12 games with the Orlando Magic. His shooting struggles ultimately derailed his career and that remained an issue.

In the playoffs especially, his poor shooting came to the forefront. The Toronto Raptors were willing to collapse the paint and dare players like Carter-Williams to shoot.

What was amazing in the regular season, at least, was how little that mattered in terms of overall impact. The Magic were simply a different team with Carter-Williams on the floor.

The team had a +13.0 net rating, the best mark of any rotation player on the team. The Magic were significantly better offensively — 115.0 points per 100 possessions — and better defensively — 102.0 points allowed per 100 possessions.

The Magic had a 98.7 pace for the entire season. The team had a 105.6 pace with Carter-Williams on the floor. That increased pace for the bench units especially was something Clifford and the Magic were looking for.

That was the biggest difference Carter-Williams provided. There was just a different energy when Carter-Williams took the floor. He made a lot of little plays that do not show up on a box score. That is what those on-court numbers show.

It was a small sample size for sure. And Carter-Williams had his ups and downs throughout his short tenure with the Magic.

He does a good job attacking the paint and getting into the lane. He is great at pushing the pace and working in the open floor. Carter-Williams can make good passes and play within a quick-pace offense.

Those flaws were all on display in the playoffs. Those same on-court numbers were very different in the postseason.

With Carter-Williams on the floor, the Magic had -9.7 net rating and they played at a 100.9 pace (still up from their 95.7 pace for the series). In fairness, the Magic had an advantage off the bench throughout the series (a slight one). And only Khem Birch had a higher on-court net rating among rotation players. And even that was negative.

Nobody played well in the playoffs. So maybe that is an unfair comparison. Carter-Williams actually saw an increase in his raw numbers.

But raw numbers do not measure his impact. Not wholly. And Carter-Williams did a whole lot good than his statistics might suggest.