Los Angeles Clippers at Orlando Magic
4:00 p.m. PST
November 6, 2013
FOX Prime Ticket
1. Is Victor Oladipo the favorite for Rookie of the Year?
Patrick James, (@patrickmjames): MCW is significantly ahead of Oladipo – for now. The question is where we see each player over the course of a long season. Filling box scores and making “Top Plays”? Then be certain that teams are watching tape and scheming for you defensively. Oladipo isn’t exactly under the radar, but he’s not on SportsCenter every night either. Maybe that helps.
Luke Laubhan, (@lukelaubhan): I like Oladipo, but I like Michael Carter-Williams more. For one thing, MCW bests Oladipo in every statistical category except blocks, rebounds, and field goal percentage. In terms of PER, Oladipo (14.1) is slightly below average, whereas Carter-Williams (22.6) ranks alongside Klay Thompson and Chris Bosh. And MCW has an easy sparkle in his game that will make voters’ hearts flutter.
Jacob Frankel, (@jacob_frankel): He was coming into the season because of his NBA ready skills and the number of opportunities he’d get in Orlando, but right now it’s gotta be Michael Carter-Williams. He’s put up unprecedented numbers for a rookie and has led the worst roster in the NBA to three wins in four games.
2. Who is the best under-25 player on the Magic?
James: I want it to be Nicola Vucevic, but I can’t whether my impression of him is colored by too few viewings. What can I say … I love me a 7-footer who can play. His per-36 numbers are rock solid (15.3 pts, 11.3 rebs, 1.3 blks), and he’s got potential to improve. But it’s so hard to assess centers properly these days – everyone is either wildly over- or undervalued – which makes it doubly hard to say whether his ceiling is close to Oladipo’s or Harris’s.
Laubhan: Probably Tobias Harris, but I could be talked into Oladipo or maybe even Moe Harkless. Harris was a revelation for the Magic last season, posting 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, .9 steals, and 1.4 blocks in 36 minutes per game post-trade. That’s a pretty robust box score for a second-year guy getting real minutes for the first time.
Frankel: This is really tough question. Maurice Harkless and Andrew Nicholson are both going to be really great role players for a long time, but this comes down to Nikola Vucevic and Oladipo. I’ll go with Vucevic, just because we have more evidence that he can become an top-tier NBA center. While everything Oladipo has showed so far is great, it’s still only been a few games.
3. Over/under 110 points scored for the Clippers?
James: Over, underscored by a quasi-dramatic subplot. J.J. Redick returns to Orlando, who offloaded him as part of the organization’s post-D12 rebuild effort. For Redick, the parting was unceremonious and the time in Milwaukee forgettable. If vengeance fuels him toward another fast start in the first quarter, that would bode well for the Clippers maintain their absurd scoring rate.
Laubhan: Orlando is only allowing 96.1 points per 100 possessions, but that stat is a bit inflated based on the team’s competition – among the Magic’s opponents so far, only Minnesota owns an above-league-average scoring offense, and the ‘Wolves hung 120 on Orlando. Statistically, the Clippers’ offense is 14 points per game better than Minnesota’s, so I’m taking the over.
Frankel: Over. Orlando has played at the seventh highest pace in the league thus far and while their defense has held up, the pieces aren’t there to make it consistently good. Plus, the Clippers are really really good at the whole scoring thing.
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