From the “What were they thinking?” file: the Orlando Magic’s bizarre makeover

This isn’t the first time I don’t understand what the thinking is behind a particular basketball transaction.  But Orlando’s pair of trades swapping 4 players in all for 4 incoming players is particularly confusing.  First of all, I can’t remember a contending team ever remaking itself in the middle of the season.  Secondly, Orlando looks like it weakened itself in the process.  Thirdly, why in the world would you voluntarily invite the rapidly fading trouble maker Gilbert Arenas onto your team?

Below I have constructed two Win Charts analyzing the current and 3 season win production and value added by:  (a) the four outgoing Orlando players and (b) the four incoming Orlando players.

The charts show a huge net loss for Orlando if you analyze the trade based on each player’s production this season, and a merely large net loss if you analyze the trade based upon three season’s of production.

Moreover, the 3 season numbers include aberrationally strong single seasons for both Jason Richardson and Hedu Turkoglu, and no such distortion in the numbers of any of the outgoing Magic players.  Turkoglu and Richardson are consistently closer to being average to below average players.  When you throw in Gilbert Arenas, who at one point was a slightly above average player, but who since his injury has been an increasingly horrible player, plus Earl Clark, who is worthless… do you see why I don’t get it?

Things get worse if you then consider who the Magic are dumping.  Vince Carter has a terrible reputation, but the fact is he’s consistently been above average, and was above average this season.  Marcin Gortat is one of the most valuable backup centers in the NBA, and has never had a poor season.  Rashard Lewis has not been good since his strange steroids suspension, but I don’t know if there’s a connection there.  Strength was generally his weakness anyway.  And Mickael Pietrus wasn’t playing well but he’s a decent bench level swingman.

Of all 3 teams involved, I think Phoenix may have won this swap.  Washington is kind of a winner as well because they pulled off the impossible — they somehow found a team dumb enough to assist them with 86ing the monstrous contract of a destructive-in-every-possible-way player?

Orlando Magic
Outgoing Players
Win Score
Win Contribution
Player Winning
R Lewis
3.6 -2.11 0.5__3.1 -0.285 .144%
11.9__13.1 -0.017 .476%
V Carter
2.1 +1.52 2.1__0.6 +0.186 .761%
2.3 +0.67
M Gortat
4.8 +2.20 1.4__0.2 +0.145 .876%
4.8 +2.57 8.6__0.6 +0.134 .934%
M Pietrus
2.9 -1.98 0.3__1.4 -0.134 .165%
2.7 -0.81 5.2__9.0 -0.059 .366%

2010-11 Totals
4.3__5.3 -0.088

3 SEASON TOTALS 40.8__32.2 +0.139

Orlando Magic
Incoming Players
Win Score
Win Contribution
Player Winning
G Arenas
1.3 -3.05 0.0__3.0 -0.379 (-.016)%
1.1 -2.19 1.1__6.7 -0.207 .141%
H Turkoglu
3.9 -2.41 0.2__2.4 -0.248 .093%
3.7 +0.22 12.6__11.0 +0.027 .534%
J Richardson
2.1 +0.43 1.9__1.3 +0.056 .575%
2.4 +1.04 14.6__6.9 +0.118 .679%
E Clark
3.4 +1.29 0.2__0.1 +0.015 .721%
3.6 -2.05 0.3__1.6 -0.036 .157%

2010-11 TOTALS: 2.3__6.8 -0.556

3 SEASON TOTALS: 28.6__26.2 -0.098

As for Orlando’s end, this move must have something to do with the impending lockout.  I can’t find any other feasible logic behind it.  You give up a bad player for a worse player in one swap.  In the other you trade a valuable backup big man, a serviceable bench player, and an above average shooting guard, for a worthless second year player, a shooting guard who’s peak potential is equal to the average production of the shooting guard you traded, and a small forward who once was above average, but who hasn’t been in two seasons.

All told, how is Orlando not a much lesser team this evening than they were this morning?  I do not get it.  Unless Orlando got tired of being a serious championship contending team.  I guess that’s plausible.  How bad does Dwight Howard want off that sinking ship?

And what about the famously irascible Magic coach Stan Van Gundy?  How will he deal with the addition of the subversive Gilbert Arenas?  Didn’t the Magic just put more stress on a guy whose structure really wasn’t up to code to begin with?


3 Responses to “From the “What were they thinking?” file: the Orlando Magic’s bizarre makeover”

  1. Chris Ross Says:

    Hey man, great post I’m defs glad I took the time out to read it. Anyways, I was just shocked to see this big blockbuster trade go through and it just makes the NBA season that much more exciting. Hedo Turkoglu going back to the magic with Gilbert along with J-Rich. The Magic really needed a shakeup and I think it will be good for them. Actually, I think it works out pretty decently for all the teams. They seemed to have gotten what they wanted, or gotten rid of what they didn’t want for that matter lol. Also, you think you could check out my blog, cuz I really wanna hear what you have to say., we have the same picture lol

  2. Redhopeful Says:

    I agree I like it for both PHX and WAS but I don’t consider it bad for ORL. Sometimes you’ve got to look past the numbers Ty. First, they reflect how they were doing on their existing teams with their existing roles. Hedo is back in a familiar role and now the rotations are smaller cutting out a guy like Duhon. Second, they were not going to win a championship with Carter/Lewis so at best you shake things up to appease DHoward. ORL just cannot take the chance to lose the big guy – especially after putting up such a fantastic new arena.

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