With a recent focus on building guard play in Orlando, the center position has become a bit of an afterthought for the team. However, Wendell Carter has made a move to solidify himself as a key player for the Orlando Magic.
He has simply been consistent and solid. Sometimes an afterthought in a lineup that increasingly focuses on the ball handlers that are slowly making this team more unique. There are the awards for Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner and the hope for Markelle Fultz.
Carter’s defining trait is that when he’s on the floor, he’s reliable to do the right thing, set the right screen and defend at a high level. Carter is certainly the Magic’s starting center for the foreseeable future.
This offseason, however, is an offseason of questions. The Magic feel they are close to a postseason breakthrough. And this next season will be about a lot of players proving themselves and proving who will be a part of this team as they continue to rise.
Carter will also have a lot to prove. And this will be a season for him to prove it.
Wendell Carter appears to be efficient enough to provide plenty of production in the Orlando Magic’s front court (especially on offense and rebounds). But another rim protector like him could be a necessary addition.
But what exactly does the big role look like? Will the Magic move another big man in to help with the Magic’s rim protection? Or is Carter already the man Orlando has been looking for to fill that spot?
Looking at the stats that Carter put up, it looks like he is contributing quite a bit to the team. But it may be missing in some places. And part of this year will be filling in the areas he’s missing as the team prepares for its next step.
Since joining Orlando from Chicago back in 2021, Carter has been a highly productive player for them on the offensive end. He has come through in the scoring and rebounding departments since joining the team, averaging 14.6 points per game. game and 9.5 rebounds per game since arriving in Orlando, including 15.2 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per match last year.
His scoring and 3-point shooting increased last year. In fact, he wasn’t a 3-point shooter at all in Chicago, topping out at 3.9 attempts per game. game last year on 35.6 percent shooting. He has become a more reliable outside threat.
His scoring ability made him another solid option alongside the many Orlando has on their roster.
Although his rebound numbers in 2023 were slightly lower, he still averaged a healthy 8.7 per game. match. The year before, he averaged 10.5 rebounds a game, showing that he can really get it done on the boards.
The one side of Carter’s game where production could be seen more is on defense. He doesn’t contribute as much to the defense as they would like a 6-foot-10, 270-pound center to.
He hasn’t gone below 110.0 since coming to Orlando. Last season he had a rating of 111.4 points allowed per game. 100 possessions. The team’s season average was 113.7. The Magic were better with Carter on the floor.
Still, the Magic need to improve defensively. And Carter is not a strong rim protector, giving up 64.0 percent shooting at the rim. Rim protection is one of the big needs for the Magic and one of the big questions the Magic face at the center position.
This in no way puts a dent in what Carter gives Orlando. He is a great scorer on the offensive end and should be used out of a “big-man” frontcourt position. But there needs to be some sort of re-emphasis on the defense in the paint.
It almost makes sense for Orlando to have someone back up Carter, especially on the defensive end of the court. This will help strengthen the Magic’s frontcourt going forward.
Looking at the current roster aside from Wendell Carter, Bol Bol is averaging 1.2 blocks per game, but opponents are shooting 66.7 percent at the rim against him. He is a shot blocker that teams are not afraid to attack. He doesn’t have the big frame like Carter to be a force against the best centers in the NBA. Mo Wagner averages the same defensive stats as Carter.
And when he could use his size to help Bol, he only puts up half a block and half a steal a game while playing with him. When Carter and Bol were on the floor together, the Magic had a defensive rating of 104.3 points per possession. 100 possessions.
The size of the magic matters.
When Mo Bamba was still in Orlando, Carter totaled 0.7 blocks per game. match. The Magic had a defensive rating of 110.2. But Bamba, who was also a good rim protector with a block in the game, is now with the Lakers in Los Angeles.
However, when Carter shared the floor with Banchero, the Magic had a defensive rating of 112.8. The Magic’s defense is always better with Carter on the floor, but it seems to perform better with another rim protector next to him.
For example, the Magic had a defensive rating of 103.3 with Wendell Carter and Jonathan Isaac on the floor. Isaac’s 50.0 percent field goal percentage allowed at the rim was by far the best mark on the team.
An answer to Orlando getting a defensive presence up front can come from many places. This includes the draft, trades or even free agency. But that said, Carter can still be a big scorer out of the 4 or 5 spot in the lineup.
That may be his role going forward as the Magic begin to look in a different direction for a strong, defensive presence in their frontcourt.
- Published on 24/06/2023 at 12:46 p.m
- Last updated on 23/06/2023 at 21:54