Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 58

Jul 15

Magic have a new D-League affiliate

Via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

The Orlando Magic’s NBA Development League affiliate for the upcoming season will be the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the NBA announced this afternoon.

The Magic will share the Mad Ants with the Charlotte Bobcats, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies and the Milwaukee Bucks.

That sharing arrangement, along with Fort Wayne’s location, make the Mad Ants a less-than-ideal affiliate for the Magic.

Still, it’s better than the situation last season, when the Magic’s affiliate was the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Sioux Falls’ remote location made it counterproductive for the Magic to send any of their young players there.

Fort Wayne, Ind., at least, is closer than South Dakota.

Jul 12

Friday’s Magic Word

  • Expect Victor Oladipo to keep learning the point guard position in training camp and preseason.
  • It was an up-and-down week for many Orlando Magic players at Summer League.
  • The Magic have elected not to re-sign DeQuan Jones.
  • Al Harrington and Hedo Turkoglu, two players that many expect to be bought out by Orlando, are hoping to resolve their situations very soon.
  • John Denton of “Borrego said the past week was very informative for the Magic as it relates to Oladipo because it shows how the point guard reacts to ball pressure, his ability to break down defenders and his calm under pressure. He hit the game-winning shot on Thursday when he drilled a 22-foot, step-back jumper over Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams with 4.4 seconds remaining. And in his four games, Oladipo showed his explosiveness off the dribble by repeatedly getting into the rim and averaging 10 free throw attempts a game.”
  • Oladipo was named to the Orlando Pro Summer League First Team.
  • With the Magic looking to sign a third point guard, preferably young, could Darius Morris be that guy? He is currently an unrestricted free agent.
  • A peak into the 2014 NBA draft class. Many expect Orlando to be in position to win the lottery or, at worst, net a top five pick.
  • At Summer League, Oladipo was as good as advertised. And Maurice Harkless showed off improved ballhandling skills that bodes well for his offensive development.
  • With a 102-83 loss to the Boston Celtics, the Magic finished Summer League in eighth place out of 10 teams. One of the few bright spots in the game was A.J. Slaughter, who may have earned himself a training camp invite with an outstanding performance.
  • Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie thought Oladipo’s game-winning shot against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday was cool.

Jul 12

Video: A.J. Slaughter with a nifty dish

Jul 12

Grades: Boston Celtics 102, Orlando Magic 83


Photo by Joe Petro/Orlando Sentinel


Boston Celtics 102 Final
Recap | Box Score
83 Orlando Magic

A.J. Slaughter
10-22 FG | 2-8 3P | 7 STL | 9 AST | 25 PTS | -11

Slaughter, starting in place of Victor Oladipo at point guard on the last day of Summer League, produced one of the best stat lines of the week from any player. His 35 minutes were by far the most he’d played all week, and he responded by showing the Magic just what he can do when being handed extended minutes.

DeQuan Jones
5-10 FG | 3-4 3P | 1 REB | 0 AST | 15 PTS | -12

Looks at the box score. Looks at who shot the ball well. Sees that Jones was 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Gives Jones a B-minus for his grade. But seriously, folks. Jones may not return to the Magic and may not even get a training camp invite, but it was good to see him have a good game in an otherwise forgettable week.

Romero Osby
6-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 STL | 3 REB | 14 PTS | -15

Osby likely won’t see as many minutes during the regular season as he did this week. That being said, whenever he does get on the court, he brings an infectious energy on a consistent basis that raises the level of play of everyone around him. Intangibles aside, his mid-range jump shot should also help him get time on the court.

Kyle O’Quinn
1-5 FG | 1-3 3P | 4 REB | 3 AST | 3 PTS | -8

On the last day of Summer League, usually this is a chance for players that haven’t gotten any playing time during the week to get an extended look. With the Magic on the lookout for a third point guard, this was a chance for McGruder to show what he can do in front of the coaching staff. Unfortunately for the Kansas State alum, Slaughter outplayed him.

Boston Celtics

Look, this game was awful. I’m not even going to try and wax hyperbolic, making it out to be some glorious battle between two forces who wouldn’t give up. It was just a bad, bad game. That being said, the Celtics did play well, Kelly Olynyk wrapped up a tremendous Summer League on a high note, and Colton Iverson had his best game of the week. Yay.

Jul 11

Thursday’s Magic Word

  • With Glen Davis needing surgery to replace a screw in his left foot, which he originally fractured on January 30 during a game against the New York Knicks last season, it remains to be seen if he’ll be ready by the time training camp starts for the Orlando Magic on October 1.
  • So who ultimately won the Dwight Howard trade? Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated says it’s the Magic: “The Magic went on to lose 62 games last season and yet they might turn out to be the only winners in the four-team, 12-player, five-pick deal. They unloaded salaries while coming away with three first-round picks, 22-year-old center Nikola Vucevic, Arron Afflalo and Maurice Harkless, Al Harrington and rookie Romero Osby, who arrived in a second-round pick acquired in the trade.”
  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Magic will not re-sign Beno Udrih, even though team officials like what he brought to the team after he arrived in a trade-deadline deal from the Milwaukee Bucks. Team officials are more interested in allocating playing time to younger players, and Udrih is 31 years old. Also, the Magic aren’t looking to add any long-term salary commitments as they position themselves for the 2014 free-agent market. The Magic are likely to bring in a player for a minimum-level salary who can be a third point guard — a role similar to the one Ish Smith played at the beginning of last season.”
  • Victor Oladipo hit a step-back jumper with 4.4 seconds left that ultimately clinched the win for the Magic against the Phiadelphia 76ers.
  • Magic season ticket holders were chanting “O-la-di-po, O-la-di-po, O-la-dipo” after he made the game-winning shot.

Jul 11

Grades: Orlando Magic 90, Philadelphia 76ers 89


Photo by Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic


Orlando Magic 90 Final
Recap | Box Score
89 Philadelphia 76ers

Victor Oladipo
7-16 FG | 7-8 FT | 3 REB | 6 AST | 24 PTS | -2

It speaks volumes to the trust the Magic already have in Oladipo to not call a timeout with the game on the line. Oladipo repaid that trust by calmly sinking the game-winning jumper as if it were the most routine thing in the world. He excelled in most other areas tonight as well, but that shot was perhaps the shining moment of his Summer League.

Andrew Nicholson
9-15 FG | 5-5 FT | 2 STL | 3 REB | 23 PTS | +1

To excel at this level, Nicholson needed to add muscle in the offseason to his slight frame in order to bang down low. Add muscle he did, and it showed tonight, as he was able to establish and maintain deep position in the post. Two troubling areas however: first, his rebounding is still sub-par, and his tunnel vision on offense tends to emerge at the most inopportune times.

Maurice Harkless
5-9 FG | 5-6 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS | -2

Oladipo may have won the game for the Magic, but Harkless was the one to put them in that position. What’s more, he did so using the refined dribbling skills he’s honed during the summer. He really elevated the energy and intensity on defense late in the game when the Magic needed a stop, and nearly took it upon himself to get it.

Kyle O’Quinn
3-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 7 PTS | +13

O’Quinn had double-digit rebounds today, which at first appears terrific, but at second glance is slightly dampened by the fact that Arnett Moultrie blatantly outworked him on the offensive boards. O’Quinn’s been mostly great for the Magic this Summer League, but he struggled a bit today against Moultrie. It’s also interesting that O’Quinn has been less involved offensively in Orlando’s last two games.

Philadelphia 76ers

This was by far Philadelphia’s best showing during their otherwise poor Summer League. Michael Carter-Williams, who has been flat-out awful, had his best game of the week, appearing to achieve a greater balance between being a facilitator and a scorer. This was also Moultrie’s best overall game so far in Orlando. While both teams played hard (love you, Sheed), just as in Highlander, there could be only one.

Jul 11

Video: Victor Oladipo wins the game for Orlando

Jul 11

Days of future present


Photo by Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

Few teams come to Summer League with more than one or two rotation players. Fewer still come with multiple players that are expected to be focal points for the team in the upcoming season. Few teams are the Orlando Magic.

What we’ve seen from the Magic so far this week is likely two-fifths of Orlando’s starting lineup for the 2013-14 season (it would have been three-fifths if Tobias Harris didn’t bang his knee during practice last week).

There are two ways to look at this situation.

First, Orlando is doomed. A roster of mostly rookies and sophomores can’t possibly compete for a playoff spot — not that they were supposed to in the first place — even in the weaker Eastern Conference. It’ll be another year of shameless tanking for the franchise in hopes of landing Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Dante Exum, or any of the other supposed stars in next year’s draft.

The second, however, is much more uplifting. It still carries the truths of the first point of view (though, without the “shameless” part), but it also adds the following caveat: the Magic, just a year removed from the Dwight Howard trade, have accelerated the rebuilding process to the point where they have as few as five and as many as seven foundational pieces.

Their frontcourt rotation alone, comprised of Harris, Nikola Vucevic, Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn and now Romero Osby is enough to make other teams envious, if not downright jealous.

It gives Jacque Vaughn a myriad of flexibility when it comes to lineups: he can go small with Harris and Nicholson, big with Nicholson and Vucevic while moving Harris to the three and Maurice Harkless to the two, enormous with O’Quinn and Vucevic, a mixture of small and big with Harris and Vucevic, and so forth.

Meanwhile, in the backcourt and on the wing, Orlando features two players that, like Tony Allen and Andre Iguodala, make individual defense legitimately exciting to watch.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 10

Wednesday’s Magic Word

  • Victor Oladipo has turned heads not only with his ability to get to the rim, but with his jump shooting as well.
  • Oladipo has been better than expected in the Orlando Pro Summer League so far.
  • Is unrestricted free agent Josh Selby worth taking a flyer on if you’re general manager Rob Hennigan? Tyler Lashbrook of Orlando Pinstriped Post investigates.
  • Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel provides five impressions of Oladipo. Here’s one of them: “Oladipo, the No. 2 pick in the draft, is Red Bull in sneakers. He is a live wire on both ends of the floor, playing at a breakneck pace. He’ll learn he can’t go 100 mph all the time during the NBA’s marathon season, but the former Indiana shooting guard will inject some infectious energy into a team during stretches when it is tired — and tired of losing. Fans will love watching him play.”
  • Kyle O’Quinn reflects on his rookie season with the Orlando Magic and talks about what he’s been doing to prep himself for his sophomore year.
  • “Andrew Nicholson’s post moves make my heart sing. That is all.”
  • The Magic will not re-sign unrestricted free agent point guard Beno Udrih.

Jul 09

Grades: Miami Heat 94, Orlando Magic 80


Photo by Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic


Miami Heat 94 Final
Recap | Box Score
80 Orlando Magic

Victor Oladipo
4-7 FG | 12-14 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 22 PTS | -11

Oladipo continues to prove wrong the skeptics that thought his improved shooting percentages at Indiana were outliers. He showed little hesitation in taking a jumper when the defense gave it to him. In fact, Oladipo was downright aggressive with his jump shot, pulling up off the dribble and in transition. His only blemish were his five turnovers, due in large part to the pesky defensive nature of Miami’s guards.

Romero Osby
4-9 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 STL | 3 REB | 11 PTS | -1

The only other Magic player to score in double figures, Osby again looked to fit in seamlessly within the Magic’s schemes. There were a few times, however, when he forced the issue to detrimental results, somewhat explaining his three turnovers. Still, Osby looks to be another late second-round steal for the Magic, who had similar luck with Kyle O’Quinn last year.

Rodney McGruder
2-6 FG | 0-2 3P | 1 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | +2

An added benefit provided by good shooters is the threat of their shot. McGruder could be a 3-and-D guy, but his shot has yet to fall here in Orlando. He moves well without the ball, and shows good cutting instincts, but he has yet to connect on some shots to show value. It’d be nice if, you know, he could knock down a jumper every once in a while.

Andrew Nicholson
1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -20

This was easily Nicholson’s worst showing so far this week. He struggled against the Heat’s athleticism (he was particularly bothered by Jarvis Varnado), as evidenced by his team-high six turnovers. Recognizing when to pass, and whom to pass to, will be vital to Nicholson’s development. He’s shown good instincts at times, but sometimes he seems to develop tunnel vision and refuses to pass, no matter how suffocating the pressure.

Miami Heat

Miami has filled this team with the types of players they love: fast, athletic wings who can shoot and quick point guards who can defend. That combination was deadly today, as the Heat’s guards pressured the Magic on the perimeter, and their wings and forwards swarmed the interior. Ian Clark and James Ennis were particularly impressive and are likely earning themselves at least an invitation to Miami’s training camp.

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