Magic Update: Losing is probably the best thing for the Magic these days, and they have been executing extremely well in that regard. They've won just four games since the All-Star break and sit a half game "behind" the Charlotte Bobcats for the worst record in the NBA. Swiftly plummeting to the bottom (top) of the standings (lottery odds) is the best medicine for a franchise that recently shipped out a superstar and wants to rebuild quickly, and Orlando is primed to add an elite prospect in this summer's NBA draft. I'm sure many fans in Orlando have long since tired of this season, but it's over soon, and brighter days await.
Standings Update: The Bucks hung with Miami for about a half last night before getting rolled after the break. The loss dropped them 3 games below .500 with five to play. In other words, they have to win out to finish the season with more wins than losses. But don't worry, they're in the playoffs! While not yet mathematically eliminated from the 7th seed, the notion that Milwaukee will face anybody other than the Heat in their first-round series was basically put to rest by that very team. Let's be honest, though--it was already unconscious.
Redick's Return: J.J. Redick was clear about his desire to remain in Orlando prior to the trade deadline. His family had settled down in the area and really liked it, and he was a popular player for the Magic. While he's been nothing but professional since the move, he's unfortunately played like an uncomfortable player. His three-point shooting has dropped from 39 to 33.6 percent with the Bucks and his assist rate has also dropped substantially. Some of that is due to how he's been used in Milwaukee, with far more catch-and-shoot opportunities and fewer chances to create by himself. He's currently sitting at a career-worst 54.8 TS%--not terrible, but discouraging when you consider it's tied for the 3rd-highest mark on the Bucks' roster.
Tobias Still Tormenting: And of course, it's impossible to talk about Redick's relative struggles in Milwaukee without discussing Tobias Harris' "rebirth" in Orlando. He was held relatively in check the first time he faced his old team, but he's put up big numbers quite often outside of that game. Here's the thing about young Tobes, though: his counting stats with the Magic have been great to be sure, but his metrics are actually relatively flat compared to what he was doing with Milwaukee. Here are some highlights from his per-36 lines with the Bucks and Magic this season:
Bucks: 15.1 pts, 46.1 FG% on 12.7 FGs, 6.3 rebs, 0.8 blks
Magic: 16.6 pts, 44.2 FG% on 14.5 FGs, 8.5 rebs, 1.5 blks
More shot attempts have yielded more points as Tobias has been given relatively free reign to look for his own shot, but with that boost comes decreased efficiency. He's also been spending more time around the basket as a small ball power forward, partially explaining the increased rebounding and shot-blocking numbers. This serves to remind everybody that the Bucks likely didn't trade Harris away because they thought he was bad, they traded him because they didn't think they had a place for him and they really thought Redick could give the team a boost to possibly escape the 8th seed. The Bucks might regret the trade when all is said and done, but its perceived lopsidedness has been a bit overstated so far. Of course, that sort of talk is going to find many deaf ears if Harris goes off tonight.