Final First-Half Player Power Rankings for Orlando Magic
But that youth brought inexperience, and the Magic lost at least three straight games four times this season, keeping Orlando near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Jacque Vaughn's team is slowly falling out of the playoff picture, but the franchise is closing in on 1,000 all-time wins, so the Magic still have a little something to play for during the second half.
Then again, the East is so bad that Orlando could still slide into a final postseason slot if it can put together a pair of small winning streaks.
Ultimately, the first half wasn't pretty, but the power rankings must go on.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, stats taken from Basketball-Reference. Accurate as of Jan. 9, 2014.
14-11: End of the Bench
14. Solomon Jones, Power Forward
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 1.3 points, 1.5 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.2 steals, 0.2 blocks, 5.9 PER
After appearing in 11 games, Solomon Jones was waived by the Magic on Jan. 4.
13. Doron Lamb, Shooting Guard
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 1.8 points, 0.4 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.1 steals, 0.0 blocks, 3.7 PER
Stuck behind a handful of talented guards, second-year player Doron Lamb rarely sees the court during important minutes.
12. Ronnie Price, Shooting Guard
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 1.9 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.1 blocks, 11.1 PER
To date, Ronnie Price has played 186 minutes, and 86 of those came in three games. He put together his best game of the season on Dec. 3 against the Philadelphia 76ers, tallying seven assists, six rebounds and three steals.
Otherwise, Price is one of the final players off the bench, playing scattered minutes over 19 appearances.
11. Kyle O'Quinn, Power Forward
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 2.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.1 steals, 0.5 blocks, 12.5 PER
Kyle O'Quinn played decently well in the early-season absence of Glen Davis, averaging 5.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks over nine appearances.
With that being said, it's hard to justify giving someone who was played 91 minutes over the team's last 26 games a higher ranking.
10. Jason Maxiell, Power Forward
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 4.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.7 blocks, 9.0 PER
Acquired in the offseason, Jason Maxiell has not been a flashy addition, but the 6'7" power forward has been a necessary component to the team.
Maxiell started the first 10 games of the season while Davis recovered from an injury, and he will help temporarily replace Nikola Vucevic.
Vaughn has played Maxiell over the younger players on the roster, so his role may diminish during the second half.
But as for now, the Magic need his physicality in the post.
9. Andrew Nicholson, Power Forward
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 8.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.2 steals, 0.4 blocks, 13.1 PER
Coming off the bench for the majority of the season, Andrew Nicholson has only missed one game.
The second-year forward has improved on both sides of the court, becoming a more physical rebounder and better defender. According to NBA.com, the Magic's defensive rating improves by 9.1 points when Nicholson is on the floor.
Additionally, Nicholson has shot 46.0 percent from the floor, giving Orlando a big man who is a legitimate shooter at any distance.
8. E'Twaun Moore, Shooting Guard
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 5.6 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.1 blocks, 10.2 PER
E'Twaun Moore comes off the bench on a nightly basis, plays tough defense and provides a little scoring.
The question is how much.
After playing at least 14 minutes during Orlando's first 20 games, however, Moore has played eight or fewer in five of the last 12.
But according to NBA.com, Moore makes the Magic 7.9 points better on the defensive end of the floor. Moore also knocks down 36.4 percent of his trifectas, which is good enough for third-best on the team.
Moore's role is slowly being reduced, but he typically capitalizes on the playing time he receives.
7. Maurice Harkless, Small Forward
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 6.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.7 blocks, 12.1 PER
As a rookie, Maurice Harkless was a starter during the majority of his appearances, and the St. John's product played rather well after being thrown into the gauntlet.
So, naturally, Harkless is seeing less minutes this season, but it's more a product of Victor Oladipo being drafted. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel notes Harkless is adjusting to his smaller role.
Harkless does take most of his shots near the rim, attacking the hoop for 60.1 percent of his field-goal attempts, per NBA.com.
Since he is aggressive, Harkless occasionally draws fouls, too. However, he has trouble capitalizing on free throws to the dismal tune of 58.1 percent from the line.
Harkless has a bright future, but he needs to become more consistent. Of course, Harkless is only 20, so he still has plenty of time to grow as a player.
6. Tobias Harris, Small Forward
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 11.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.4 blocks, 10.9 PER
Small forward Tobias Harris was forced to sit off the first quarter of the season, but he has provided an offensive spark upon his return.
Harris has scored at least 10 points during eight of Orlando's last 10 games, including a 21-point performance against the Sacramento Kings. However, the other two outings resulted in a combined seven points on 3-of-20 shooting.
An area Harris must improve—one another teammate must work on as well—is his three-point shooting. Despite connecting on a mere 18.6 of long-range attempts, the third-year forward attempts 3.1 per game.
Whether it means forcing fewer shots or taking more open looks, Harris needs to be more judicial in his attempts. And if he does that, Orlando will be a noticeably better offensive team.
5. Jameer Nelson, Point Guard
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 12.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.1 blocks, 14.0 PER
Offensively, Jameer Nelson has taken a backseat, ceding control more often than he has in recent years.
But Nelson is still just about as efficient as he's ever been, scoring double digits and finding passing lanes for his teammates. According to NBA.com, Orlando is a full 10 points worse when Nelson is off the floor.
With that said, though, according to Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld, Nelson is a rumored trade candidate. Bleacher Report's Wes Goldberg gives some realistic options concerning how the Magic could potentially move the veteran point guard.
Orlando is not necessarily deep at the point guard position, and shipping Nelson elsewhere would leave the team in dire need of a facilitator.
4. Victor Oladipo, Shooting Guard
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 13.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.7 blocks, 12.7 PER
Rookie shooting guard Victor Oladipo plays a million miles per hour, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Oladipo is Orlando's version of the Dallas Mavericks' Shawn Marion, a defensive weapon who contributes in all facets of the game. Yes, it was a two-overtime game, but he notched a triple-double against the 76ers.
No one accused Oladipo of being a great shooter, but he takes 3.0 three-pointers per game while converting just 29.5 percent of his attempts. Additionally, NBA.com's statistical database shows Oladipo has only knocked down a 26.9 percent of jump shots.
Of course, when you block dunk attempts in a two-on-one situation (as seen in the above video), you typically earn some playing time.
3. Glen Davis, Power Forward
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 13.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks, 14.1 PER
Once Glen Davis returned from injury, Vaughn was ready to use him. A lot.
And after an "embarrassing" hotel incident, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe notes Davis is embracing his new leadership role.
Davis has played a career-high 31.8 minutes per game, leading a young Orlando team alongside the elder Maxiell.
Most importantly, Davis has been one of the more consistent Magic players, shooting 44.6 percent from the field and averaging 7.0 rebounds per outing.
2. Nikola Vucevic, Center
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 13.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.1 blocks, 17.9 PER
Nikola Vucevic has been fantastic during the first half of the 2013-14 season, safely averaging a double-double in 28 appearances.
But just when it looked like he was completely healthy, Vucevic suffered a concussion after a nasty fall against the Los Angeles Clippers. He was sent home during the middle of Orlando's early-January five-game road trip, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
Considering the Magic grab 4.1 percent more rebounds with Vucevic on the floor, per NBA.com, Orlando needs him back as soon as possible.
1. Arron Afflalo, Shooting Guard
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 21.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.0 blocks, 18.7 PER
If it were not for Arron Afflalo, the Magic would really be in need of a big-time scorer.
Afflalo has shot 47.2 percent from the floor and 42.3 percent from behind the arc, and he is on pace to set career highs in the the rebound and assist departments.
But with that success, Afflalo is certainly a commodity. Bleacher Report's Grant Rindner wonders if Orlando's reported interest in the Toronto Raptors' Terrence Ross could cause the Magic to deal Afflalo.
Until anything happens on that front, however, the UCLA product will continue to lead Orlando.
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