Categories: Giveaways

Magic look to fix a billing plague holding them back

The Orlando Magic (4-10) have a turnover problem.

Even during their 3-3 home seven-game season opener, which concludes with a matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves (6-8) on Wednesday at the Amway Center, giveaways have remained an issue .

They’ve averaged 18.8 turnovers and have a turnover ratio — the average number of turnovers per 100 possessions — of 18.9 percent over the last six games, both of which are the second-worst marks in the league since which started on November 3.

“We talked about it before with some of the other games we lost,” Franz Wagner told the Orlando Sentinel. “In the same way that sometimes we give the basketball to the other team. We don’t give ourselves a chance, and it’s all self-inflicted, which also makes us hope it’s nothing from the other team. It’s more what we’re doing.”

The Magic committed the second-most turnovers in Monday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets, giving the ball away 22 times and allowing 21 points in a game in which they had multiple early double-digit deficits.

“Give them credit. They applied a lot of ball pressure, especially in the first half, and we weren’t strong enough with the ball,” Wagner said. “Especially those live ball changes … they turned them into easy points. That’s how you lose these games.”

Turnovers were a season-long issue for the Magic last year and have been the case through the first month of this season.

His 17.1% turnover rate and 17 turnovers per game are the second and third worst marks in the league, respectively. The 20.3 points allowed on turnovers is the fifth-worst mark in the league.

Even when they come back and play good transition defense, they make it more difficult by giving opponents more opportunities in the open court.

Giving opponents easier opportunities to score also makes it more likely that the Magic will have to play against a set, mid-court defense on the other end, that is harder to score against than a defense that doesn’t post after a failure

“Especially when you’re in a game, sometimes we want to get it back so quickly that we make those plays,” Wagner said. “Everybody’s trying to do their best work. Nobody’s going to be perfect in the game, but some of these mistakes we can fix and we have in the past. Nothing new that we haven’t talked about.”

Some dust losses will occur occasionally, such as the ball bouncing off the foot after a dribble or being stripped on a drive. The emphasis on penalizing carry has also led to an increase in the turnover rate. In general, trades happen most often early in the season across the league.

But there are several types of changes that Magic needs to clean up, not just one.

One of these areas is better execution in handoffs or dribbling handoffs. The Magic had at least 2 turnovers due to poorly executed turnovers.

“The ball handler has to make sure he’s dribbling the defender, not just his offensive teammate,” coach Jamahl Mosley said. “You want to make that defender have to make a decision. That’s a big part of it. As that handoff happens, you don’t want to just turn it over. You want to get it to his body so he can pick it up and turn the corner, read the defense and decide if it’s a catch-and-shoot or going down the lane.”

They also had a couple of turnovers where the player who received the ball could have done a better job of setting himself up for the pass.

“Being able to contain your man so you can catch,” Mosley said. “Being in the right spot. Finding open space when that guy drives into the lane to kick him out. Those are the small, simple pieces that we have to continue to execute.”

But a significant portion of turnovers come from making bad passes, either by making the wrong ones or by trying to do too much at once.

“Sometimes it’s discipline, trying to hit a home run,” Wagner said. “Every play is a little different. Sometimes you’re trying to make the right play and your execution wasn’t perfect. But I don’t think you will have 22 of these figures. It’s a combination, especially those where we don’t look focused, engaged or just lazy on the ball. Those are the ones we have to fix.”

Rookie forward Paolo Banchero did not practice Tuesday after sitting out Monday’s game, his third consecutive absence with a sprained left ankle.

Mosley said Banchero’s condition remains day-to-day as of Wednesday.

“Obviously he’s not happy, understandably so,” Mosley said. “He wants to be out there with his teammates. He’s doing everything we’re asking him to do to get back on the court. He’s going to continue to do that.”

Banchero practiced Saturday, with Mosley saying, “He went through all the drills we put him through,” and that it would be a game decision for Monday. He was listed as questionable on the team’s injury report before being ruled out two hours before kickoff.

When asked by the Sentinel Monday if the ankle was still sore, Banchero nodded his head up and down to say yes.

Banchero, the No. 1 pick in June’s draft, was originally added to the team’s injury report on Nov. 8 after rolling his ankle on a layup with 2:51 remaining in the loss at home against the Houston Rockets in November. 7.

He is averaging a rookie-high 23.5 points to go with 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 34.6 minutes (11 games).

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Starting center Wendell Carter Jr. was added to the injury report Tuesday evening and was listed as questionable with a strained right plantar fascia (soft tissue under the foot). There is optimism that it will be available.

Cole Anthony (right internal oblique tear), Markelle Fultz (left big toe fracture), Gary Harris (left knee recovery), Jonathan Isaac (left knee recovery) and Moe Wagner (right metatarsal sprain ) remain aside.

“Nothing new to report really,” Mosley said. “These guys are still on the same path.”

Carter, Mosley, Magic Community Ambassador Bo Outlaw, Florida Blue and Magic staff members distributed 350 Thanksgiving meals to families in the Central Florida area on Tuesday.

Meals included turkey, green beans, gravy, corn, stuffing, sweet potato and pumpkin pies. Kroger was a supporting partner for the event.

“Every opportunity that we can help any area in the Orlando area, we’re going to take it and do whatever we can,” Carter said. “Definitely, I can’t take all the credit. The Magic, my amazing family and everyone behind me made it possible. They put a lot of effort into this.”

This article first appeared in OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price a khprice@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.

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