10 Games in, Offensive Struggles Hurting the Magic Early on

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10 Games in, Offensive Struggles Hurting the Magic Early on

Amway center during Milwaukee Bucks vs the Orlando Magic.

Amway center during Milwaukee Bucks vs the Orlando Magic.

Josh Miller

Amway center during Milwaukee Bucks vs the Orlando Magic.

Josh Miller

Josh Miller

Amway center during Milwaukee Bucks vs the Orlando Magic.

Josh Miller, Sports Staff

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         The Orlando Magic are 10 games into the 2020 season and, having posed a 3-7 record, are sitting at the bottom tier of the eastern conference standings. The biggest struggle that the Magic have faced this season has been their play on offense, specifically shooting from behind the three point line. 

         The Magic’s 3 wins thus far have come from games against the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks’, and the Memphis Grizzlies, all at home. Their seven losses have been due to the lack of scoring, from all parts of the court. In the first 10 games of the season, the Magic’s field goal percentage is second-to-last in the league at 41.9%, while their 3-point shooting percentage is the worst in the NBA at 28.2%. 

         “We are missing wide-open shots, that’s why our offense is struggling.” Coach Steve Clifford stated in a post-game conference. The wide-open misses is what is hurting the team from beyond the arc and all around the floor.

         Though the offensive struggles are hurting the Magic this early on, the defensive play has been great. The Magic currently rank 2nd in the NBA in points allowed with only 99.3, as well as second in the league in blocks per game with 7.2. 

         A big help with their defensive play has been forward Jonathan Isaac, who has stepped up tremendously in protecting the rim. Averaging 3 blocks a game, Isaac is second in the NBA in blocks per game, behind Anthony Davis with the Los Angeles Lakers.

         All-Star center Nikola Vucevic has been leading the way offensively, with 4 straight games with a double-double through the first 10 games. Vucevic is currently averaging a double-double with 17.1 points and 11.5 rebounds a game. Evan Fournier has been doing his part to keep the Magic’s 3-point percent from decreasing even lower by averaging 40% from beyond the arc and averaging 15.5 points per game this season so far, as the second-leading scorer on the team.

         In a postgame interview following a Magic’s home win against Memphis, Vucevic talked about the offensive struggles and how they can get past that: “Play together, move the ball and try to create offense for each other, if we really create and try to look for each other it can be really effective.” Jonathan Isaac also relayed the same message after his big 22 point performance against the Grizzlies, “Continue to move the ball… create easy shots and knock down the open shots.” 

         A huge plus for the Magic this season early on has been Markelle Fultz. He is currently averaging 9.7 pts a game with a Field Goal percentage of 47.1% (second on the team) as well as 3.1 assists per game. 

         Markelle has also worked his way into the starting lineup for three games thus far. It’s great to see Markelle healthy and getting back to his old ways. After a big win, he said: “I feel great, still taking it day by day and living in the now just happy to be able to compete and help this team and contribute, it’s truly a blessing.”

         Overall, if the Magic can keep the defensive play strong and begin to move the ball and hit open shots and open 3’s, they can get hot here early on in the season and turn things around. The Magic have seen promise in their 3 wins, where ball movement was present and shots were being made. With a lot of games left to play, if they can continue to do the same, they can see themselves climb higher in the east and closer to .500, and sit at a pretty good spot to make a playoff run in the first half of the season.

         The Orlando Magic play two games at home Friday, November 15th against the San Antonio Spurs, as well as Sunday, November 17th against the Washington Wizards.