5 Reasons Why Orlando Magic Are The Worst Team In The NBA
The Orlando Magic Used to be Good ...
The Orlando Magic are bad. The Orlando Magic are really bad. Sitting with a record of 10-28, good enough for fifth place in the Southeast Division, they are in the midst of an eight-game losing streak. They are 17.5 games out of first place and have little hope of making the playoffs. The only team with a worse record is the Milwaukee Bucks, who are running with a six-game losing streak of their own.
The Magic was the worst team in all of the land during the 2012-13 season, posting only 20 wins. It seems like they are following last year’s blueprint for winning with unheralded precision. Granted, they lost quite a few starters off of the 2011-12 team including the head coach, and they have been playing without a few key components during this season, but that alone does not explain why the Orlando Magic are the worst team in the NBA right now.
So what's the problem? It's really simple. They need to stop being so bad. They aren’t winning and need to find a way to start doing so. They are bad at home (7-11) and even worse on the road (3-17). When the team loses, it loses by a large margin. However, when the team wins, it wins by a large margin. There seems to be no happy gray area. What were the reasons for such a substantial decline over the last two seasons that have led the Orlando Magic down the path from being a perennial playoff contender to the worst team in the world?
5. Lack of Energy/Excitement/Pride
It’s quite apparent. There is a visible lack of energy. There’s no drive nor passion. Guys are running down the floor on offensive and pulling up for a jump shot without giving the tesm a chance to set up. Ball distribution is horrendous, with the Magic ranking near the bottom of the league in this category. Shot selection, however, has been poor. Since the offense doesn’t have time to setup, rebounding has been well below the league average.
Understandably, it’s tough to care about your job when there is little success to enjoy. The team is supposed to be in the midst of a rebuilding process and the veterans are just along for the ride, biding their time until they have the chance to escape to greener pastures. Everyone is simply going through the motions, quite badly too boot.
Someone needs to take charge to motivate this team if the players cannot find a way to do it for themselves.
4. Statistics Don't Lie
The Magic are the fifth-worst in the NBA at points per game, averaging 95.2 and the 10th worst at points allowed per game at 101.3. Those numbers alone tell the story of why they are losing so much. You cannot consistently give up more points to your opponent than you score, or else you will be on the losing side the majority of the time.
So, what is the root cause for such dismal performance on these two key statistics? Most notably, fundamentals would be the answer. The team collectively does not rebound well on the offensive of the court, they turn the ball over too much, and they aren’t particularly advanced offensive distribution (ie. assists). From a defensive standpoint, they don’t block enough shots, generate many steals, rebound, or generate turnovers. Yes indeed, a rocket scientist wrote this paragraph, but it's the truth. The team needs to improve on a fundamental level in order to compete with teams with better talent. Someone made a movie called Hoosiers about this exact strategy.
Arron Afflalo and Nikola Vucevik both sustained injuries in January. Vucevik sustained the second concussion of his professional career on January 6 and Affalo was hit with a lower body injury, specifically a foot strain, on January 13. This could mean that both of them are going to be out of the lineup for some time. Vucevik could see some substantial time away from the lineup as he will need to pass the NBA’s mandatory concussion tests before he can be cleared to participate again.
These injuries leave the Magic without two of their most important cogs. Granted, when they were there, the team was still one step above horrible, so here’s hoping to a speedy recovery for both of these guys -- because it’s a very quick and short step down the ladder from here.
2. GM Rob Hennigan
The Orlando Magic's GM Rob Hennigan has to be on this list, doesn't he? After all, he's the person responsible for purchasing the tools for the toolbox, so he has to take some of this blame.
If this team is truly in a rebuilding phase, keeping a veteran around like Jameer Nelson is hindering the team’s ability to build with young and talented players. Nelson is due to make $8.6 million this year. Hedo Turkoglu is not an option for the Magic after his injury and positive steroids test, so look for him to generate interest from another team. This leaves a somewhat aged and tired starting lineup that is under-performing and perhaps incapable of improvement.
1. Head Coach Jaque Vaughn
Can head coach Jaque Vaughn really be blamed for the lack of success? Absolutely. At the end of the day, he has the ultimate responsibility for generating wins no matter the tools are put into (or taken out of) the toolbox by the GM. His job is to motivate the players to achieve excellence and perform beyond their individual abilities. With a disappointing record of 30-90 over his-two year reign. It's fair to say that he hasn't gotten the job done.