- Kevin Pelton, ESPN Staff Writer
Each Monday throughout the NBA season, ESPN Insider will investigate the latest trends in the league. Basketball Prospectus' Kevin Pelton is keeping an eye on all the numbers and will have a first look at how players, teams and the league as a whole are evolving.
Trending team: Orlando Magic improved at both ends since trades
Magic president of basketball operations Otis Smith remade his team's roster with a pair of trades last month, adding Gilbert Arenas, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu. Surely, Smith's goals for the deals related to May and June, not January, but so far they have served to invigorate Orlando -- which won its ninth consecutive game on Saturday in Dallas. Over 11 games since the three key newcomers took the floor, the Magic's schedule-adjusted point differential of plus-9.9 points per game is better than any team has managed over the full season.
A look at Orlando's statistics before and after the trade shows the team making gains on both offense and defense, led primarily by the most important of the Four Factors: shooting, as measured by the team's effective field goal percentage.
Before the trade, their effective FG percentage was .519; now it's .547. Before the trade, their adjusted differential was 2.9; now it's 9.9.
Kevin Pelton offers up three trends to watch in the NBA right now: the rise of the Orlando Magic, the improvement of DeMarcus Cousins and how the West is mauling the East in head-to-head matchups.