Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 17

Jul 05

Video: Aaron Gordon’s one-handed catch block

Jul 05

Video: Victor Oladipo feeds Aaron Gordon for dunk

Jul 04

Magic waive Jason Maxiell

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Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have waived forward Jason Maxiell, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

Maxiell played in 34 games (13 starts) last season with the Magic, averaging 3.2 ppg. and 2.5 rpg. in 14.4 mpg. He scored in double figures three times, including a season-high 12 points on Nov. 9 at Atlanta and Dec. 3 at Philadelphia.

Originally selected by Detroit in the first round (26th overall) of the 2005 NBA Draft by Detroit, Maxiell appeared in 557 career NBA regular season games (188 starts) with Detroit and Orlando, averaging 5.9 ppg. and 4.3 rpg. in 18.9 mpg., while shooting .501 (1,317-2,631) from the floor. He was signed as a free agent by Orlando on Jul. 18, 2013.

Jul 03

Getting to know more about Elfrid Payton

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John Raoux, AP Photo

If you don’t know who Elfrid Payton is, you’re not alone. Originally projected as a late first round/early second round pick when he declared for the draft, Payton’s stock began to rise at the NBA Draft Combine and then skyrocketed when he worked out for teams.

Ultimately, the Magic were the team that were impressed enough to trade for Payton on draft night in exchange for Dario Saric, a future first round pick, and a future second round pick. The general consensus is that the Magic gave up too much for Payton. The underlying question has been: is he good enough?

To help answer that question (and many others) is Tom Martin, a sports reporter at KATC in Lafayette, La. Tom covered Payton’s junior year at Louisiana-Lafayette.

What are Payton’s strengths?

He’s as versatile as point guards come — 6-foot-3, good wingspan, can guard three positions, rebounds well for a point guard, can be a patient game-manager, or go into full-fledged attack mode. He did everything the Ragin’ Cajuns asked him to do (ironically the one thing he wasn’t asked to do was shoot — more on that later), and he succeeded despite being THE perimeter focal point of opposing defenses.

The NBA talk revved up after his performance on the Team USA U-19 team (playing next to Aaron Gordon, to whom he threw a NASTY alley-oop in the gold medal game) and his numbers really had nothing to do with it. I think he surprised people with his tenacity on defense and his ability to push the ball in transition and finish around the rim — it’s possible that scouts noticed it last year, but this was the first time they had seen him do it against elevated competition — there just wasn’t a drop-off. It surprised us down here how much he really fit in on the bigger stage without missing a beat.

There are two major strengths of Payton’s that I believe will translate right away: Driving ability in the lane and then, of course, his defense. I’m a big Rockets fan and I remember a younger Kyle Lowry earning his minutes (back when his jumper was horrible) because he drove at will, drew fouls, and got opposing bigs in foul trouble. That’s something I expect Payton will do from day one — he’s coordinated and hungry enough to live in the lane, and he proved it in college.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 02

Magic waive Ronnie Price

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Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have waived guard Ronnie Price, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

Price played in 31 games (two starts) last season with the Magic, averaging 2.4 ppg., 2.1 apg. and 1.4 rpg. in 12.2 mpg. He led (or tied) the team in assists six times, including a career-high 11 assists on Apr. 14 at Chicago.

Originally undrafted by an NBA franchise, Price has appeared in 425 career NBA regular season games (35 starts) with Sacramento, Utah, Phoenix, Portland and Orlando, averaging 3.4 ppg., 1.5 apg. and 1.1 rpg. in 11.7 mpg. He was signed as a free agent by Orlando on Jul. 25, 2013.

Jul 02

Magic to sign free agent Ben Gordon

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Free-agent guard Ben Gordon has reached agreement on a two-year, $9 million contract with the Orlando Magic, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The second year of the deal is a team option that needs to be guaranteed by Orlando before July 1, 2015, a source told Yahoo Sports.

The Magic are working to improve their perimeter shooting and expect Gordon to be a value signing to complement the young backcourt of Elfrid Payton Jr. and Victor Oladipo.

Jul 02

Who is Aaron Gordon and what does he do?

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John Raoux, AP Photo

On Thursday, the Orlando Magic selected Aaron Gordon with the No. 4 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft to the surprise of many. The general consensus was that the team, in need of a point guard, would select Dante Exum (that need would eventually be filled with the draft day trade of Elfrid Payton).

But with Gordon’s extraordinary athleticism combined with his ability to make plays and defend at an elite level, he was simply too great of a talent for the Magic to pass up. And for good reason. Gordon, the 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward from Arizona, has one of the highest ceilings of any prospect selected in the draft.

There have been questions raised about which position Gordon will play at the next level — is he a 3 or a 4? — but after going through countless hours of film, I don’t believe there is any doubt that Gordon will spend a majority of his minutes at the small forward position for the Magic next season.

I compiled clips from two of Gordon’s games against elite college opponents (Duke and UCLA) from this past season, so as to be able to give a detailed description of his all-around game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 02

Magic sign rookies Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton

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Photo by Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have signed rookie forward Aaron Gordon and rookie guard Elfrid Payton, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deals are not disclosed.

Gordon was selected by Orlando in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft. Payton was selected by Philadelphia in the first round (tenth overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft. He was then acquired by Orlando in exchange for the draft rights to Dario Saric, a future first round draft pick and a future second round draft pick. Both will participate in the 2014 Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League, taking place at the Magic’s practice court at the Amway Center from July 5-11.

Gordon (6’9”, 225, 9/16/95) played and started in all 38 games during his only season at the University of Arizona, averaging 12.4 ppg., 8.0 rpg., 2.0 apg. and 1.03 bpg. in 31.2 mpg. He helped the Wildcats to a 33-5 record, a Pac-12 regular season championship and an Elite Eight appearance in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Gordon led Arizona in rebounding (seventh in conference), while ranking second in both scoring and blocked shots (11th in conference).

Gordon was named First Team All-Pac-12 and the 2013-14 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. Gordon also earned Third Team All-American honors by The Sporting News and Honorable Mention by The Associated Press. He was one of six finalists for the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year Award.

Payton (6’3”, 190, 2/22/94) played in 100 career games during three years at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, averaging 14.3 ppg., 5.1 rpg., 4.9 apg. and 1.97 spg. in 31.6 mpg. He is the school’s all-time leader in steals with 197.

As a junior (2013-14), Payton played and started all 35 games, averaging a team-high 19.2 ppg., 6.0 rpg., 5.9 apg. and 2.29 spg. in 35.9 mpg., while shooting .509 (237-466) from the floor. He led the Ragin’ Cajuns to a 23-12 record and their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2005. Payton was named the 2013-14 Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year and a Lou Henson All-American. He earned First Team All-Sun Belt Conference honors for the second straight season and was the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Payton led the conference in steals for the second straight year with 80. He scored 20+ points 14 times, had 30-or-more points four times and attempted a school-record 302 free throws (second in the nation). Payton was also one of only ten NCAA Division I players to record a triple-double with 34 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists on Jan. 4 vs. Lousiana-Monroe.

During his sophomore season (2012-13), Payton played and started all 33 games, averaging a team-high 15.9 ppg., 5.6 rpg., 5.5 apg. and 2.42 spg. in 35.5 mpg., earning First Team All-Sun Belt Conference honors. He was the only player in NCAA Division I to average 15.0 ppg., 5.0 rpg., 5.0 apg. and 2.00 spg. Payton led the Sun Belt Conference in assists and steals, ranked second in minutes played, third in scoring, fifth in assists-to-turnover ratio (1.60) and ninth in field goal percentage (.475).

Jul 01

Magic announce Summer League roster

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have released their roster for the 2014 Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League.

The event takes place at the team’s practice court at the Amway Center from July 5-11, 2014. The 25-game, seven-day event will feature the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers.

For the complete game schedule for the Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League, click here.

Jul 01

Orlando Magic thank Jameer Nelson

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Photo by Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

Via Orlando Magic press release:

In honor of his 10 years with the Orlando Magic, the organization has placed two billboards in Orlando to thank Jameer Nelson for a decade of legendary moments. The billboards are located at the SR 408 and Kirkman exchange and on I-4 just south of downtown Orlando between the Michigan Ave. and Orange Blossom Trail exits.

The Magic have also dedicated the home page of OrlandoMagic.com to the guard, which can be found at this link: http://www.nba.com/magic/thankyou-jameer-nelson, and the outside of the Amway Center has also donned the same “thank you” messaging.

Nelson was originally selected by Denver in the first round (20th overall) of the 2004 NBA Draft, but was acquired by Orlando in exchange for a future first round pick on draft night. He played in 651 career NBA regular season games (556 starts), all with Orlando, averaging 12.6 ppg., 5.4 apg. and 3.1 rpg. in 29.2 mpg., while shooting .374 (874-2,335) from three-point range and .817 (1,092-1,337) from the free throw line. He also appeared in 44 career playoff games, averaging 15.0 ppg., 4.6 apg. and 3.5 rpg. in 32.5 mpg.

Nelson stands as the franchise’s all-time leader in assists with 3,501. He also ranks second in games played (651) and field goals attempted (7,033), third in minutes played (19,038), three-pointers made (874) and three-pointers attempted (2,335), fourth in scoring (8,184 points) and field goals made (3,109) and fifth in steals (619). He was named an NBA All-Star in 2009 and earned the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week honor twice (periods ending Dec. 21, 2008, Jan. 18, 2009). Nelson was also named to the 2004-05 NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

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