You can forgive Magic fans if they don’t know much about Gustavo Ayon.
When the Orlando Magic executed a sign-and-trade with the New Orleans Hornets to acquire Ayon in exchange for Ryan Anderson, a lot of people within the Magic fanbase were asking themselves, “who?” That was to be expected.
While Anderson was raising his national profile around NBA circles with his “breakout” year last season, Ayon quietly had a solid rookie season with the Hornets. You just didn’t really hear about it because Anderson was a part of a seemingly never-ending soap opera with the Magic that garnered constant headlines and attention (courtesy of Dwight Howard, Stan Van Gundy, and company), while Ayon was a part of a bad New Orleans team that wasn’t in the news much apart from a fleeting Chris Paul reference.
So who is Ayon and how can he help Orlando?
One of Ayon’s strengths as a player is his ability to be an effective pick-and-roll big man. Even though it remains to be seen what the offensive philosophy will be when the Magic eventually hire their new head coach, considering the personnel on the roster, you have to figure Orlando won’t stray too far from Van Gundy’s pick-and-roll heavy offense in recent years, even if Dwight is eventually traded because of guys like Glen Davis, Andrew Nicholson, and Kyle O’Quinn. Assuming that’s the case, Ayon should be a good fit with the Magic.
Last season with the Hornets, Ayon averaged 1.17 points per possession as the roll man in pick-and-rolls in 53 possessions (19th in the NBA). Ayon did a majority of his damage at the rim, but he didn’t hesitate popping out for the occasional midrange jumpshot either.
On this possession, New Orleans executes a 1/5 pick-and-roll with Jarrett Jack and Ayon. Ayon sets the screen, then pops out free-throw line extended.