Thursday, March 26, 2009

"They live and die by the 3!"

Yep, if you are a Magic fan I'm sure you have heard that one about 100 times this season."All they do is shoot 3's and when they are not falling in the playoffs, and when the game slows down, they will lose." Sure, the Magic shoot a lot from behind the arc (they currently lead the league with 10.3 made per game on 26.6 attempts) and there certainly will be games when it is not falling. However, as so many people fail to notice, it really isn't the 3 that is leading to all these wins.

It's the freaking defense!

Just ask Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard which is more important. So many talking heads fail to see that Orlando ranks towards the top in almost every important defensive category:
  • Orlando gives up only 5.4 3's a game... 4th in the NBA.
  • Teams only shoot 34% from beyond the arc against Orlando... 2nd in the NBA.
  • Opponents average 43.0% from the field... 3rd in the NBA.
  • Orlando scores the 8th most points in the league (102.1), but at the same time they give up the 8th least amount of points (94.8).
  • Orlando leads the league in the amount of points per shot they give up (1.14).
  • The Magic lead the league in adjusted field goal percentage (explanation here).
  • And to tap into Hollinger's numbers, Orlando is right behind Boston in defensive efficiency... That's the number of points a team scores per 100 possessions.
Hmm... It sure does seem that their defense is what carries these boys. The scary thing about this team is that there is really only one defensive star on the team, Mr. Dwight Howard. Jameer Nelson and Rafer Alston were never known for their lockdown defense. Courtney Lee has a ton of potential but is only a rookie. Who knows what Hedo does. Rashard Lewis has met the challenge of playing out of position and has improved his defense but certainly isn't going to make any all-defensive teams any time soon.

That leaves us with Dwight, who is undenyably the best defender in the league. Anyone who tries to argue that anyone other than Dwight should win the Defensive Player of the Year award should be publically humiliated.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed! And I love it, because as we all know, defense wins championships!


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