It is starting to sound like the players and owners are getting serious about ending this lockout. We do not want to count our chickens before the eggs hatch, but hopefully pretty soon we can actually start planning what the Magic need to do.
Until then, let's continue analyzing what the Magic have at each position and whether Orlando is really getting a bang for its buck. For the most part we have seen in analyzing the point guards and the shooting guards, that the team is not. It is looking more and more like the Magic will need not only to bring in some fresh faces but get a lot better player from many of the players already on the roster.
Jason Fleming of HoopsWorld has been trying to quantify cost efficiency. His formula is simple, divide salary by PER and you come out with a monetary value of cost-efficiency. it is simplistic, but provides a glimpse into whether teams are getting what they paid for.
Today we are taking a look at the small forwards. This was the position Quentin Richardson meant to fill. That did not work. Then Hedo Turkoglu came in, and his wild inconsistency seemed to justify the Magic letting him walk in the summer of 2009. But he is back now, and the Magic better expect to get more out of the contract they initially did not want to give him.
Fleming ranked the top starting small forwards in the league and has Turkoglu 26th among the league's starters, right behind Carmelo Anthony. Of course, Anthony has a higher PER and makes superstar money. I repeat Fleming's statement that superstars do not do well by this measurement because they are inherently overpaid. But they produce a lot more.
Turkoglu had a 13.5 PER in his time in Orlando this year to go with his $10.2 million contract. That is a $756,730 per PER cost-efficiency rating. Again, that is the kind of number you would expect from a star.
Marvin Williams of the Hawks had a similar 13.5 PER, but his $7.26 million contract is a lott more manageable and makes him a lot more efficient. Williams is a secondary player for Atlanta whereas Orlando is expecting Turkoglu to use more possessions -- at least 16.5 percent last year -- and be one of its star players.
Turkoglu has to be better and more efficient to earn his paycheck. And that is something he has not exactly done throughout his career, at least statistically.
In 2009, he had a 14.8 PER and a $6.9 million contract -- good for about $461,000 cost-efficiency. That was incredible as Orlando was really getting a bargain for one of its best players in that Finals run. We do not expect Turkoglu to reach that kind of efficiency level at any point in the remainder of his career -- to get to $461,000, Turkoglu's PER would have to be 23.0. Turkoglu has never been that high. His high is 17.9 from 2008. If Turkoglu got to that level at next year's salary, he would post a $609,000 cost-efficiency.
That number is not as bad.
So is Turkoglu overpaid? If he keeps producing at the pitiful efficiency he produced last year (and the previous year in Toronto), yes. If he can increase his efficiency and produce more for the Magic, Turkoglu might actually be properlky priced. It is a pretty big if though. It seems like Turkoglu has hit his peak and it is not likely he is going back to his 2007-08 level.
He certainly can play better though and the Magic are expecting him to. In fact, considering how much more is left on his deal, the Magic need him to. There is no doubt that Turkoglu can operate effective in Stan Van Gundy's offense. He just has to do it. And if he does, then his contract will not seem so daunting.
Quentin Richardson though is an entirely different issue. The Magic used half of their mid-level exception last year to sign Richardson in hopes that he could replace Matt Barnes' defensive grit on the perimeter while providing a little bit more of an offensive punch. That never materialized. He posted 4.4 points per game while shooting 28.8 percent from beyond the arc.
While Richardson is not getting paid a whole ton, Orlando is locked in to him for three more years. I am sure the Magic would like to get some more out of him in year two.
Richardson posted a career-low 8.0 PER last year. Taking into account his $2.3 million salary and his cost-efficiency rating is $283,125. If he were doing that on starter's minutes he would be in the middle of the pack among starters. But the PER is just so low that it is almost negligible. Orlando has to want more from Richardson and certainly expected more.
Except for the length of his deal, Richardson could be a properly priced player if he produces (and plays) a bit more.
This is not a very deep position for Orlando, but it has the potential to satisfy the contracts Orlando has given the two players at this position.
Turkoglu's EuroBasket Run Ends
Hedo Turkoglu's run with Turkey in the EuroBasket Olympic qualifying tournament ended Sunday with a 68-67 loss to Serbia. Milwaukee's Ersan Ilyasova had a shot to win the game that fell short. Turkoglu scored eight points on 3-for-10 shooting in the defeat. I should have a bit more on Hedo Turkoglu's EuroBasket performance for Turkey later this week.
Magic To-Do List
We have had plenty of talk about what the Magic need to do once the lockout ends. It is frankly difficult to predict with no collective bargaining agreement in place. But we try anyway.
So I point out Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel's to-do list from today. It is some very basic things for the Magic to watch once the lockout ends. There are some real basic things, such as reaching out to Dwight Howard, getting more from Gilbert Arenas and signing players to short-term contracts to increase trade value and flexibility. What do you think the Magic should do once the lockout ends? Will be an interest post-lockout period.
Magic Absent from Vegas League
As Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post notes, the Magic have been very absent from the summer pro-ams and local leagues that have occupied NBA fans' time as they hope for a season to begin. The IMPACT League in Vegas will feature 60 NBA players, including Courtney Lee and Rashard Lewis, but no Magic players. Part of that might be affiliations with IMPACT, an athletic training company run by Joe Abunassar. Still, with so many questions surrounding the Magic, we kind of want to see some of our guys out there playing.
Photos via DayLife.com.