17 May 2007

Grading the Magic, Part Two - Middle of the Road

We Magic fans are in a period of limbo: the Magic have been eliminated from the playoffs, yet the draft and free agency are still a month away. As such, I thought I'd now would be as good a time as ever to submit individual grades for each Magic player. I've decided to split the players into three different groups: Top of the Class, or the players who had above-average seasons; Middle of the Road, or the players who did about as well as expected; and Better Luck Next Year, or players who either underperformed or did not play frequently enough to be evaluated fairly .

Today's post concerns the Middle of the Road. I welcome your comments and criticisms.

Tony Battie, Forward#4
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Points Per GameRebounds Per GameField Goal %GRADE
I like Tony a lot, but has more to do with his steadiness than anything else. He's what some people might refer to as a "lunchpail guy" because he's always in the game, playing hard, and doing the dirty work. I can't count the number of times various broadcasters have said something like, "Tony's a guy who you does things that won't show up in the box score," which is a polite way of saying, "he isn't that good." And as great as consistency is, I'd like to see more than a steady 6 points and 5 boards a night from a veteran player making $22 M over the next four years. Talk about out-of-control spending.

Bo Outlaw, Forward#45
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Points Per GameRebounds Per GameField Goal %GRADE
Like Tony Battie, Bo Outlaw provide veteran leadership on a young team. He's rarely used, and with good reason; his skills have eroded to the point at which it becomes apparent that he is no longer an NBA-level talent. Why does he get a C from me, as opposed to a lower grade? Well, no one expected much of him anyway. And say what you will about his skills, but his preparation is impeccable; he comes into games ready to play and with tremendous energy. He's also a big hit with the community. If only he weren't relegated to waving towels and pumping fists from the bench each night.

J.J. Redick, Guard#7
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Points Per GameRebounds Per Game3-pt Field Goal %GRADE
I didn't really expect J.J. to make a big splash in his rookie season. Brian Hill is notorious for playing veterans over rookies, and it showed this season, as J.J. appeared in only 42 contests. He got off to a slow start because he missed training camp due to injury, yet he showed flashes of brilliance. In the miracle 106-104 win over San Antonio this season, the game won on Dwight Howard's alley-oop slam, J.J. posted 16 points on 6-of-11 from the field. I doubt he'll ever be an All-Star, but he should carve out a nice role as a 12-to-15 point scorer eventually. And his defense isn't as bad as advertised, as he allowed opposing shooting guards a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 16.2, just 1.2 points above the league average.

Next in the series: Better Luck Next Year.