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Stats notebook: Analyzing Orlando’s sneaky-interesting starting 5


Stats notebook: Analyzing Orlando’s sneaky-interesting starting 5

The Orlando Magic are competing. It might not show in the standings, where they have the worst record in the NBA at 12-41. It won’t show in most of their catch-all metrics, where Orlando is 28th in Offensive Rating and 26th in Defensive Rating, per Cleaning the Glass. But this team is a quiet 4-3 over the past two weeks, and its young core has inspired faith — particularly surrounding the starting lineup.

Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba have logged 503 possessions on the court together, the 11th-most in the NBA this season according to Cleaning the Glass. These players have received attention individually; Anthony is having somewhat of a breakout second season, Wagner is a contender in the Rookie of the Year race, and Suggs was the subject of a fantastic recent breakdown by our Nekias Duncan. But their synergy together is important to note.

The quintet is the centerpiece of Orlando’s currently healthy roster and the barometer for its future potential. They’re far from perfect together, but some of the numbers hint at enticing upside in the young squad. In 21 games played, the five have helped the Magic go 8-13 — not too bad for a pretty rough overall team.

Among 59 lineups with at least 200 possessions played, Orlando’s starters have the fourth-best DRTG, giving up 95.4 points per 100 possessions. That’s the best of any group on a sub-.500 team; in fact, only four lineups on sub-.500 teams rank in the top-20. Opponents have a 44.3% Effective Field Goal percentage against this group — the lowest among any qualifying lineup.

The two-big pairing of Carter and Bamba appears to be stamping its presence. Opponents are getting 25% of their shots at the rim (92nd percentile) and making just 51% of those shots (93rd percentile). There’s unreal length in the frontcourt; Bamba has a 7-foot-10 wingspan, Carter boasts a 7-foot-5 wingspan and Wagner ‘s hovers around 7 feet.

Instead, opposing teams typically settle for long twos and three-pointers. They’ve yet to make the Magic pay, and are shooting just 33.2% from beyond the arc this season. If the Magic…

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