Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 25

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.

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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.

Jun 30

Magic claim Willie Green off waivers

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Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have claimed guard Willie Green off of waivers, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Green was waived by the Los Angeles Clippers on June 29.

Green (6’3”, 205, 7/28/81) played in 55 games (nine starts) last season with the Clippers, averaging 5.0 ppg. and 1.4 rpg. in 15.8 mpg. He scored in double figures nine times, including a season-high 13 points twice, the last time on Mar. 12 vs. Golden State.

Originally selected by Seattle in the second round (41st overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft, Green has appeared in 679 career NBA regular season games (295 starts) during his 11-year career with Philadelphia, New Orleans, Atlanta and the L.A. Clippers, averaging 8.5 ppg., 1.8 rpg. and 1.4 apg. in 20.4 mpg. He also played in 36 career playoff games (12 starts), averaging 5.2 ppg. and 1.3 rpg. in 14.9 mpg.

Jun 30

Magic waive Jameer Nelson

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Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have waived guard Jameer Nelson, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Nelson will become an unrestricted free agent.

“Jameer (Nelson) is the ultimate professional,” said Hennigan. “We truly thank him for his contributions to the organization, both on the court and in the community, during the last decade. He will always be a member of the Magic family.”

“I appreciate the opportunity the Orlando Magic has afforded me and my family over the past ten years,” said Nelson. “I’d like to thank the DeVos family, team management, and all the coaches that have provided me guidance, mentoring, and the ability to play the game that I love in the town that I love.”

“I’d also like to give sincere and special thanks to the great Magic fans. You have loyally supported me since my first day in Orlando and have always been there for me and my family. You made it easy for us to adopt Orlando as our second home and we will miss you.”

“All good things must come to an end, however, and it’s time to move on. I look forward to continuing my career as an NBA player and will never take for granted my time in Orlando.”

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.

Jun 30

Magic waive Doron Lamb

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Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have waived guard Doron Lamb, general manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

Lamb played in 53 games last season with the Magic, averaging 3.6 ppg. in 13.1 minpg., while shooting .400 (36-90) from three-point range. He scored in double figures six times, including a season-high 14 points on Apr. 2 vs. Cleveland

Originally selected by Milwaukee in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft by Milwaukee, Lamb appeared in 100 career NBA regular season games with Milwaukee and Orlando, averaging 3.5 ppg. in 12.7 minpg., while shooting .394 (50-127) from three-point range. He was acquired by Orlando along with Tobias Harris and Beno Udrih from Milwaukee in exchange for J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith on Feb. 21, 2013.

Jun 29

E’Twaun Moore to become unrestricted free agent

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Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

Guard E’Twaun Moore will become an unrestricted free agent when the NBA’s free-agency period begins Tuesday.

If the Orlando Magic had submitted a qualifying offer for Moore, and if Moore turned down the offer, Moore would’ve become a restricted free agent.

Teams have the right to match any offer sheet that one of their restricted free agents signs. It’s more beneficial to players to become unrestricted free agents as opposed to restricted free agents.

Moore’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said Moore hasn’t ruled out returning to the Magic if the Magic have an interest in re-signing Moore.

Jun 27

Magic prioritize athleticism and defense in draft

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Photo by Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a whirlwind 24 hours for the Orlando Magic.

In the hours leading up to the draft, the team’s leading scorer for the past two seasons, Arron Afflalo, was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Evan Fournier and the 56th pick (Devyn Marble). Then, in the draft, they acquired Aaron Gordon with the fourth overall pick — which was immediately received as a reach — and later traded the rights for Dario Saric and future first and second round picks to the Philadelphia 76ers for Elfrid Payton.

By trading Afflalo away and bringing in two rookies, the Magic shed a lot of cap room, and got a lot younger and a lot more athletic — another sign that the team is committed to a long rebuild.

The Magic had the opportunity to draft Dante Exum, Julius Randle, or Marcus Smart with the fourth pick — all prospects that were ranked higher than Gordon heading into the draft — but they stuck with a high motor player whom they believe will flourish in their system.

At 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds, Gordon has the size to be a power forward, but the biggest concern defensively, as of now, is that he’s not strong enough to guard opposing fours in the NBA. Nevertheless, he was a versatile defender at Arizona, capable of sticking with wings on the perimeter and defending big men on the low post, so the potential for him to develop further is there.

He’ll have to bulk up if the Magic plan to use him primarily as a power forward, but he’s got a good frame to build on and he’s only 18 years old (turns 19 on September 16). He’s also a high energy guy who is willing to do all the little things on the basketball court, which is something Rob Hennigan values greatly.

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Jun 27

3-on-3: Reactions and fallout from the Afflalo trade

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Photos by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images

According to Yahoo! Sports, the Magic have traded Arron Afflalo to the Nuggets in exchange for Evan Fournier and the 56th pick in the draft (Devyn Marble). Our writers weigh in on the aftermath of the trade.

1. Good deal for the Magic?

Scott Rafferty: It’s hard to believe that the best the Magic could get in a trade for Arron Afflalo is a bench player and a late second-round pick, but they did clear cap space in doing so. Also, seeing as Afflalo is likely going to decline his player option next summer, it’s good that the Magic got at least some return on him.

Eddy Rivera: I’m surprised that the Magic weren’t able to get something more for Afflalo, especially when it was rumored that teams (namely the Hornets and Bulls) were willing to give up a first round pick for him. Technically, Fournier is a former first round pick, but you would have liked to see GM Rob Hennigan get a better return for Afflalo.

Tim Sartori: It’s not a fantastic deal. Evan Fournier is nowhere near the player that Arron Afflalo is, but the Magic have been shopping Afflalo for a while now so if they think that this is the best they can get for him (Hennigan does his due diligence), then perhaps it is.

2. Good deal for Arron Afflalo?

Rafferty: There were some rumors floating around before the trade that the Chicago Bulls and Charlotte Hornets were interested in Afflalo, and both those situations would’ve suited him better. Nevertheless, he should be a nice fit alongside Ty Lawson. It’s not the championship contender he wanted but, at the very least, he’s in a good place to flaunt his stuff before he expects to make a splash in free agency.

Rivera: It’s good for Afflalo, in the sense that he’ll be playing on a more competitive team in Denver that should contend for a playoff spot next season. But it would have been fun to see him with the Bulls. He would have been a perfect fit there, given that he’s the type of secondary wing scorer that Chicago desperately needs.

Sartori: Afflalo supposedly wanted to join a contender, and obviously Denver isn’t exactly that right now. However, he only has two years left on his contract with a player option coming after this season, so he’ll be able to head into free agency after a season with a team that will allow him to showcase his whole offensive game.

3. Which Magic player benefits the most from Afflalo’s absence?

Rafferty: A big reason why Tobias Harris was more efficient and effective off the bench last season was because he had a lot more freedom offensively. Seeing as Afflalo was practically their engine offensively, someone is going to have to step up and replace his production. Some of that will come from Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic, obviously, but a big chunk should come from Harris.

Rivera: Victor Oladipo. With the Afflalo trade and the acquisition of point guard Elfrid Payton in the draft, the Magic have made it abundantly clear that they see Oladipo as the franchise’s two-guard of the future. The point guard experiment is over and now Oladipo can start full-time at his natural position.

Sartori: The biggest benefactor will probably be somebody who wasn’t even a Magic player less than 24 hours ago: Aaron Gordon. It hasn’t yet been determined which forward position Gordon will spend most of his time at in the NBA, but moving Afflalo gives the Magic the ability to slide Gordon into the 3 for periods when Afflalo likely would’ve been playing there.

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