The month of November will conclude for the Orlando Magic on Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets. The Magic are just 5-9 through 14 games, but there is much to be encouraged about. While the days of Dwight Howard are gone, Orlando is moving forward with a young, inexperienced roster. Here are five positives that the Orlando Magic and their fans can take away from the first month of the NBA season:
1. The Play of Redick
Averaging 14.2 points-per-game, Orlando guard J.J. Redick is in the midst of a career-year and has hit big shots down the stretch of games. Not only is Redick on his way to a career-high in scoring, Redick is second on the team with nearly five assists-per-game. Redick is also on his way to a career-high in minutes played and is currently shooting better than 45 percent from the field, also a career-best.
2. Orlando’s Play at the Amway Center
With the inevitable rebuilding year and Dwight Howard gone, many were wondering if anyone would show up to watch this team. The Orlando Magic have given their fans reason to attend as they have played pretty well at home. Although the Magic are a dismal 1-5 on the road, Orlando has defended its home court as admirably as could be expected. Orlando is 4-4 at home, but was competitive and had leads in the fourth quarter against good teams such as the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks. While the Magic are not any where close to being championship material this season, coming to Orlando is still far from a “gimme” for good teams throughout the league.
3. E’Twaun Moore’s Play
There is no telling how long Orlando point guard Jameer Nelson will continue to run the show for the Magic. The passing of the torch at the point guard position however, may be a smooth transition thanks to E’Twaun Moore. Moore, who is just 23 years old, has provided the Magic versatility being 6’4″ and able to play either guard position. After averaging less than three points-per-game last season as a rookie with the Boston Celtics, Moore has averaged nearly 11 for the Magic this season and has been a marksman from beyond the arc shooting 43 percent. Moore has also scored in double-figures in eight of Orlando’s 14 contests and was solid in six starts.
4. Balanced Scoring
The Orlando Magic are one of six teams in the Eastern Conference to have five players average in double-figures scoring. The Magic don’t have a superstar to carry the load offensively and Orlando has had to play as a team to be competitive. The Magic have done so effectively. Arron Afflalo leads Orlando with 15.4 points-per-game while Redick and Glen Davis both average above 14 points-per-game. Nelson averages 13 for the Magic and Moore gives Orlando nearly 11 per-contest. That number of Magic players scoring in double-figures could balloon to six as center Nikola Vucevic is currently averaging 9.3 points-per-contest.
5. The Newcomers
The rookies have yet to make big contributions for Orlando, but the Magic have gotten solid play from their other offseason acquisitions. Afflalo, who came over from Denver, leads the team in scoring while Vucevic, who was acquired from Philadelphia, is the team’s second leading rebounder with better than eight a game. Moore is providing the Magic with offense, a shooting threat and versatility while Josh McRoberts has proven to be a very capable defender in addition to shooting an efficient 48 percent from the field and 44 percent from downtown. While the Magic may not have acquired the next great superstar this offseason, they have a number of guys who can contribute night in and night out.
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