Without their two best players and veteran head coach from last year, the Orlando Magic will obviously have an uphill battle in remaining competitive this season. However, this season should give fans a clearer look at Arron Afflalo and J.J. Redick, two players who could succeed in a larger role in the new offense. With the help of MySynergy Sports, let’s take a look at what we can expect on offense from the two wing players.
With Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson gone, so went the respect for Orlando’s post-up and pick-and-roll/pop game. Because of that, Orlando could look to manufacture more of their baskets through plays using off-ball screens for their wing players. Arron Afflalo would likely benefit from a screen-heavy offense under new head coach Jacque Vaughn. In Denver, Afflalo’s possessions in which he used off-ball screens increased over the past three seasons, and he maintained his efficiency in the process. Afflalo ranked 33rd in the NBA in points per screening possession last season. Using Afflalo as the 2013 Rip Hamilton could be one of the few reliable ways for the team to score. The video below shows Afflalo working screens well; he curls around or fades away from the screen depending on how the defense plays him.
Orlando’s other wing player, J.J. Redick, has developed his game to a point where a quarter of his possessions are in the pick-and-roll. Just like Afflalo above, Redick has also maintained his efficiency during this increase in responsibility, ranking 31st in the NBA in points per pick-and-roll possession as a ball-handler.
Redick has improved his pick-and-roll game by becoming a crafty finisher in the lane. Most defenders won’t go under the screen because they don’t want to give Redick space to shoot jumpers. Instead, they go over the screen to force Redick to drive. But Redick has an arsenal of floaters and runners that make him a threat as a driver. The video below shows a few examples of his surprising finishing ability.
Obviously, a large part of Redick’s success in the pick-and-roll was due to the presence of Howard and Anderson. Still, Redick has shown some of the tools necessary to succeed as a pick-and-roll ball handler. Considering his expiring contract, that could mean Orlando gets more value if they decide to trade him.
Late Game Situations
Losing your two biggest offensive threats will obviously hurt the team, but the Magic also got rid of Stan Van Gundy. With that, they lost one of the best playcallers in the league. Magic fans may want Redick to take the last second shot, but it remains to be seen if new head coach Jacque Vaughn can get an open shot for Redick like Van Gundy could. For an example of Van Gundy’s creativity, check out the play below, where he calls for an astounding seven screens to free Redick for an open jumper.
Normally, this play would have Redick following Anderson toward the ball, similar to Brandon Jennings in this play. But Van Gundy’s extra wrinkles in these late game situations gave Orlando an advantage over some defenses.
The Magic are in rebuilding mode, but if Redick and Afflalo can show off their expanded games, they may have a few more assets than previously thought.