3 surprising Orlando Magic starts to start the season
31.0 three-pointers attempted per game – 25th in the league
Shooting, shooting, shooting. It seems like this is always a topic of discussion for the Orlando Magic so can this even qualify as surprising?
For me it falls in this category because there has been no real change from last season. As the number reads, the Magic are once again a bottom 5-6 team in league in three-pointers attempted and percentage.
This is almost identical to last year’s season long average of 31.1 three-pointers attempted per game.
At the end of last season, we talked about the importance of 3-point math, especially in the modern NBA, and how the Magic cannot afford to hemorrhage points from behind the arc while not making many of their own.
Things have improved defensively — the team is giving up 31.4 attempts per game which is the seventh fewest in the league. But the shooting just is not there on the other end.
Newcomer Joe Ingles has not gotten a real opportunity to get them up in volume, Jett Howard has a been a non-factor and is out of the rotation, and Franz Wagner is currently leading the team in attempts with 7.0 per game.
This is not really a scheme issue, it is more of a personnel one. The Magic do not have many true knockdown shooters on the roster and routinely roll out backcourts combinations that cannot shoot threes consistently.
Wendell Carter has been doing a great job spacing the floor so far, even hitting three big 3-pointers against the Utah Jazz before going out with the injury. With him out, Moe Wagner will soak up some more minutes and he has shown the ability and willingness to get some attempts up.
There is some good news. The quality of the Magic’s 3-point shots are up. The team averaged 6.3 corner threes per game last year. They are up to 8.4 per game this year (albeit shooting 26.2 percent on these attempts). That number will surely go up as these are typically quality looks.
Further, the Magic are taking 27.8 “open” or “wide open” 3-pointers per game (shooting a horrid 32.4 percent on these attempts) according to NBA.com’s stats database. Last year, the team averaged only 15.8 such attempts per game.
This will be one of the interesting stats to watch as the season progresses. If there is not much of a change, shooting will need to be addressed closer to the trade deadline or the buyout market.