5 measures of success for the 2024 Orlando Magic (besides winning)
Orlando remains a dominant free-throw team
The Orlando Magic did not rank highly in many offensive categories. Except for one.
And it already seems like an area the team wants to continue pressing and growing.
The Magic were fifth in the league in free throw rate at 29.0 percent — essentially one free throw attempt for every three field goal attempts. This was essential to the Magic staying afloat offensively throughout last season.
Orlando was a team that gave up a ton of 3-point attempts (but defended them to a low percentage) and did not take a ton of 3-point attempts. There were games where the 3-point math did not work particularly well for the Magic.
One way they made up for this was by getting to the foul line. The Magic spent the better part of the last decade at the bottom of the league in free throw attempts per game.
Paolo Banchero, quite frankly, changed all of that on his own. He averaged 7.4 free throw attempts per game, the best mark for a rookie since Blake Griffin took 8.5 per game in 2011. Banchero was a free throw-creating machine and he reached 20.0 points per game mostly because he could get a steady diet of free throws.
If there is a reason to believe Banchero can get to 25.0 points per game or more, it is because everyone anticipates him becoming more efficient as a shooter and still going to the line for nearly eight attempts per game — he could also get better at making free throws after hitting 73.8 percent from the line.
There are a lot of players who are eager to get to the line more and it feels like this will be essential to the Magic’s overall offensive strategy. If teams are going to pack the paint against them, they are going to make them pay by drawing contact and getting to the line.
Franz Wagner certainly could be better at using his body to draw contact. He is almost too good at moving with the intent of avoiding contact. He still averaged 4.0 attempts per game.
Cole Anthony too wants to get to the line more. He is already a bigger threat to shoot from the outside. That could keep defenses off-balance enough to get to the line more — he took just 2.8 per game last year. Wendell Carter too could also find himself at the foul line more.
The Magic obviously have to let contact come and it is about being aggressive more than anything. Getting to the foul line is a mindset. And if the Magic are aggressive, they will be able to buoy their offense with consistent points at the line.