Orlando Magic’s offense still the team’s biggest problem

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Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets
Aaron Gordon and the Orlando Magic were on the attack to defeat the Houston Rockets. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Effective Field Goal Percentage

2020 NBA Median 2019 NBA Median
Full Season 50.6 53.2 51.8 52.6
Pre-All-Star Break 49.4 52.9 51.3 52.7
Post-All-Star Break 54.3 53.7 53.0 52.1
NBA Campus 53.2 54.2
Playoffs 50.5 53.2 45.1 50.1

The real issue the Orlando Magic face is their shooting. No matter how you measure it — looking at offensive rating or looking at field goal percentages — they struggle to shot the ball. They are below the NBA’s median by significant margins on a regular basis.

As most Magic fans would say, and the numbers agree, shooting is the biggest thing holding the team back. Their offense simply cannot get going with the long swaths of time where the team simply is unable to hit shots consistently.

Just look at how poor the Magic shot the ball before the All-Star Break this season — 49.4-percent effective field goal percentage is genuinely poor. It is not easy to be that bad.

The Magic eventually recover and get to at least the league’s median number after the All-Star Break. Is that a matter of rhythm or comfort or desperation? The Magic have had this happen now in two consecutive seasons.

Figuring out why the Magic were able to turn the corner later in the season and not at the beginning of the season is the biggest concern facing Steve Clifford. It might be the biggest criticism anyone could levy at him at the moment.

But the team’s inconsistent shooting — which pops up in the playoffs more than anywhere else when teams are forcing the Magic to play to their weaknesses — is the biggest thing holding back any offensive breakthrough.

If there is a skill the Magic need to add to be more competitive, it is shooting. That is why it will be difficult to let D.J. Augustin or Evan Fournier or Nikola Vucevic or Terrence Ross go. Those players are the only reliable 3-point shooters on the team.

Getting more shooters is priority one if the Magic are looking to add skills to the team rather than simply collect talent.