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Second-round picks are never guaranteed an opportunity to prove themselves in the NBA. It starts in Summer League, where rookies are pinned against one another (as well as players fighting tooth and nail for (a)nother shot in the Association) and every waking moment on the court is scrutinized under the watchful eyes of league personnel.
That battle continues into training camp, where the odds of a second-round pick cracking a team’s rotation before the season starts are slim. All that’s left is to make the most of the few opportunities one gets in practice or in preseason games, which are few and far between. Whatever vacant minutes are left tend to go to a team’s prized possession — a first-round pick — rather than someone who was amongst the last to hear their name called on draft night.
That’s the situation Devyn Marble, the Magic’s 56th pick in the 2014 draft via the Nuggets, has faced thus far in his young career. Summer League gave him an opportunity to fight for a roster spot, and he raised eyebrows by showcasing his ability to be the type of 3-and-D player that is in high demand in today’s NBA.
Yet that hasn’t translated into any opportunities this season, due in large part to him recovering from a strained rotator cuff (which he suffered on November 7 against the Timberwolves). He’s only played five minutes of regular season basketball, and the vigorous schedule give teams few chances to scrimmage in practice.
For that reason, the Magic have opted to assign Marble to the Erie BayHawks, their D-League affiliate, as an opportunity for him to get some much needed in-game reps. According to the Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins, the Magic will make it official over the coming days.
The Magic established a three-year, single affiliation with the BayHawks in the summer and have used it primarily as an opportunity to keep a close eye on Peyton Siva, Seth Curry, and Kadeem Batts — a trio who were each on the cusp of landing a roster spot before the season kicked off.
Marble marks the first Magic player this season to find himself on assignment in Erie, and it gives him the perfect opportunity to continue to find his feet as a pro. Not only do the BayHawks run a similar system to the Magic (one of the many benefits from establishing a single affiliation with a D-League team), but he finds himself playing alongside familiar faces in Curry and Batts, both of whom had big roles on the Magic’s Summer League team this year. It’ll make Marble’s transition to the D-League even smoother.
There’s no saying how long Marble’s stint in the D-League will last. Nevertheless, after seeing extremely limited court time over the Magic’s first 31 games of the regular season (some of which had to do with the rotator cuff injury he suffered during preseason), it makes sense for him to spend some time in Erie. He’ll be able to develop in a surrounding similar to the Magic’s. More importantly, being a part of a single affiliation ensures that the Magic have control over how much he plays.