Magic Basketball: An Orlando Magic blog - Part 88

Jul 24

Getting to know Gustavo Ayon

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

When the Magic signed-and-traded Ryan Anderson to the New Orleans Hornets for Gustavo Ayon, many Magic fans were probably displeased. Anderson was one of the sole bright spots on the team last season, while Ayon is hardly six months removed from toiling in complete basketball obscurity. The 6-foot-10, 250-pound 27-year-old had been nowhere near the NBA radar as he spent the early portion of his career between his home country of Mexico and Spain. Even when Hornets general manager Dell Demps brought him over to New Orleans last summer, it was to a team decimated by both offseason trades and injuries, one that few people would willingly watch all year.

Those who watched, though, were pleasantly surprised. Ayon broke into the Hornets’ rotation early in the year last season and stayed there, displaying a smart game to go with nimble feet and constant effort. As such, he shot above Eduardo Najera and Earl Watson (bet you didn’t know that) for the position of best Mexican NBA player, as well as ensuring that his 3-year, $4.5 million deal would be a huge bargain.

The first thing that meets the eye with Ayon, as mentioned, is his smart play. Ayon rarely does the things he’s bad at — 60 percent of his shots came in the immediate basket area, where he converted 65.4 percent of his attempts, as he left his jumper in the closet more often than not. This definitely seems like the right decision, as he shot only 36.5 percent away from the basket all year.

Ayon’s shots come mostly in the flow of the offense, as he struggles to create off the dribble. MySynergySports.com classified only 26 possessions all year as ones where Ayon isolated, and they mostly ended badly, as he averaged just 0.42 points per possession. Things weren’t much better in the post, where he averaged 0.52 points per possession in 33 possessions.

Ayon actually has a pretty solid first dribble -– he likes planting himself at one of the elbows, faking a handoff to a guard curling around him, then dribbling hard to the rim -– and he uses this combined with his speed to get by some of the league’s slower big men defenders. However, if that first dribble doesn’t gain him an advantage, he is often lost, left with no choice but to barrel into an array of defenders and throw up an awkward layup. It is a weapon to be used only in very favorable matchups, and Ayon definitely seems to realize that his iso game is not his strength.

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Jul 19

NBA Mexico Game 2012 to feature Magic and Hornets in October

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Zignia Live, a premier live entertainment and events company in Mexico, today announced a multiyear partnership that includes a preseason game in Mexico featuring the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Hornets on Oct. 7 at the newly launched Mexico City Arena as part of NBA Mexico Game 2012.

The game marks the NBA’s 18th visit to Mexico City and the league’s 20th game in Mexico overall, the most NBA matchups held in any country outside the United States and Canada. Game tickets are available for purchase starting July 20 through Super Boletos (www.superboletos.com).

“NBA Mexico Game is an important part of our 2012 international games schedule and a great opportunity for us to connect with our fans in Mexico and across Latin America,” said Philippe Moggio, NBA Vice President, Latin America. “As the most frequent international host for NBA games, Mexico will again provide a great showcase for the game of basketball as the New Orleans Hornets and Orlando Magic put on an exciting show for our passionate fans at the new Mexico City Arena.”

Jul 16

Magic re-sign Jameer Nelson

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have re-signed free agent guard Jameer Nelson, general manager Rob Hennigan announced tonight. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed.

“Jameer (Nelson) has been an integral member of this organization for the last eight years, both on the court and in the community,” said Hennigan. “His leadership, toughness, and commitment to his teammates will continue to help guide our program in the right direction. We are excited to have him back in a Magic uniform.”

Nelson (#14, 6’0”, 190, 2/9/82) played and started in 57 games last season with the Magic, averaging 11.9 ppg., a team-high 5.7 apg. and 3.2 rpg. in 29.9 mpg. He shot .377 (87-231) from three-point range and .807 (71-88) from the free throw line. Nelson ranked 15th in the NBA in assists. He led (or tied) the team in scoring eight times and in assists 36 times, including a career-high-tying 14 assists on Feb. 15 vs. Philadelphia.

Jul 13

2012 Orlando Pro Summer League Recap

July 3

July 9-13

Jul 13

2012 Orlando Pro Summer League roundup: Day 5

Photo by Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

Alton Clark of NBA Playbook is covering the 2012 Orlando Pro Summer League on behalf of Magic Basketball. This is Alton’s roundup of Day 5.

Celtics 94, Magic 73

BOX SCORE

  • Being that this was the final day at the Orlando Pro Summer League, most of the teams rest the players that they have made a decision on and use this day to evaluate guys they might be on the fence about with regards to inviting them camp or extending a contract offer. With that said, there are still a few guys who took advantage of the opportunity to play more then they have throughout the week.
  • The Celtics’ Dionte Christmas had one of the best all-around games of anyone here this week. Christmas did everything for Boston today, as they gave the Orlando Magic their worst defeat this week with a 94-73 victory. Christmas shot the ball well, scoring a game-high 21 points (7-for-14 from the floor, 3-for-7 from three-point range, and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line). Christmas also added 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals to his stat-line. The second unit of the Magic had no answer for Christmas on either ends of the floor, as he raised a lot of eyebrows from opposing NBA scouts who witnessed his performance today. If Christmas can carry this momentum with him next week in Las Vegas, he could play his way into an NBA job.

Thunder 89, Jazz 75

BOX SCORE

Pistons 71, Sixers 67

BOX SCORE

  • Devin Searcy of the Sixers has been rock solid all week, doing the little things that help good teams become great. Searcy had another solid game today with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. The 6-foot-10 power forward from Dayton was coached well in his collegiate years and it shows with how he hasn’t ventured out from his role the entire week. Searcy does a good job of running from rim-to-rim in the open floor, establishing solid post position deep in the paint, and making contact on ball screens. With the Sixers signing Kwame Brown today to a 2-year, $6 million contract, the chances of Searcy making the roster are even more slim than they were before. With his height and traditional style of play, Searcy could work his way onto a Euroleague roster.

Nets 90, Pacers 77

BOX SCORE

  • MarShon Brooks has taken himself, coaches, executives, and fans on a rollercoaster ride this entire week. After shooting 0-for-10 from the floor in his first game this week, Brooks waited until the final game in Orlando to have the highest scoring output of any player here. Brooks tied an Orlando Pro Summer League record, scoring 34 points on 13-for-27 shooting. Much can be said about Brooks’ shot selection and his ability to play within an offense, but he made sure that everyone knew that his ability to score in bunches was not all hype.

Jul 13

Magic announce 2012 AirTran Airways All-Summer League Teams

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic’s first round draft pick Andrew Nicholson headlined the 2012 AirTran Airways All-Summer League First Team at the conclusion of the five-day event at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. Nicholson concluded summer league play averaging 12.8 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per contest.

The Utah Jazz’s Alec Burks, Detroit’s Austin Daye and a pair of Indiana Pacers, Miles Plumlee and Lance Stephenson, rounded out the First Team selections.

The All-Summer League Second Team consisted of Oklahoma City’s Lazar Hayward and Reggie Jackson, Boston’s Jared Sullinger, Detroit’s Brandon Knight and Orlando’s Kyle O’Quinn. Honorable Mention selections were given to Detroit’s Kim English, Boston’s E’Twaun Moore and Dionte Christmas, Utah’s Enes Kanter and Jeremy Evans, Philadelphia’s Jacob Pullen and Justin Holiday, Orlando’s Justin Harper and Maalik Wayns and Brooklyn’s Tyshawn Taylor and Al Thornton. The members of the AirTran Airways All-Summer League Teams were selected by participating NBA teams’ public relations representatives, members of the media and select NBA personnel.

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Jul 13

Magic Basketball Weekly: On the supremacy of pie among desserts

Via angela n./Flickr

Hello again, readers! It’s been so long. You look fantastic. Sorry we haven’t spoken in a while. I live in Portland now, where I sometimes write about the Blazers.

Listen, though, I’ve been thinking about a major offseason issue, and I thought this was the place to share my thoughts. What I’m saying is: pie is the greatest dessert there is, and I’d like to impart some new philosophical findings toward that point.

Let me back up. Since I have moved to Portland, I have had to find a job. Like a grown-up office job. And it’s not that my current job is bad — quite the opposite, in fact — it’s just that it’s a job. I have to be somewhere for a given number of hours to devote my negligibly marketable talents toward the engine of commerce.

Gone are my years of idly whiling away my time, pursuing pleasure at my leisure in a healthy way. Why, even just one year ago, I could scarce hide my disdain for the beautiful dilletantes of my youth, those brunettes and bearded fellows with their shabby living rooms and their red wine in chipped mugs. Now, that shabby-mugged wine — so recently laughable — belongs to a different milieu. How my lips long for the poorly glazed ceramics of youth!

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Jul 12

2012 Orlando Pro Summer League roundup: Day 4

AP Photo/John Raoux

Alton Clark of NBA Playbook is covering the 2012 Orlando Pro Summer League on behalf of Magic Basketball. This is Alton’s roundup of Day 4.

Magic 77, Sixers 75 (2 OT)

BOX SCORE

  • With Maalik Wayns joining the Golden State Warriors to play in the 2012 Las Vegas Summer League, Kevin Anderson got the starting nod at the point guard position for the Magic. The 6-foot Anderson has exceptional speed in the open court and was a handful for Sixers’ point guard Jacob Pullen on the defensive end. Anderson gets a lot of vertical lift on his jumpshot, which results in consistent shot mechanics and a high release point. Anderson will probably need to be more vocal as a point guard if he plans to lead a team. He has progressed nicely throughout the week as he has gotten much more comfortable with his role on the Magic’s Summer League team. His size, however, will be a huge deterrent to interested NBA teams, which could result in him playing overseas.
  • Although he didn’t convert many of them, Justin Harper showed some moxie taking tough shots in the clutch. Harper didn’t let his misses deter him from stepping up to the plate when the Magic needed a bucket late in the game, “I was getting good looks most of the night. I knew if I kept shooting, they were going to start falling for me so luckily they fell when we needed it most.” Given the current makeup of the Magic roster, Harper may garner consistent playing time next season. His fearlessness will be needed if that’s the case.

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Jul 12

2012 Orlando Pro Summer League roundup: Day 3

Photo via Fernando Medina/Orlando Magic

Alton Clark of NBA Playbook is covering the 2012 Orlando Pro Summer League on behalf of Magic Basketball. This is Alton’s roundup of Day 3.

Jazz 79, Magic 75

BOX SCORE

  • While resting the majority of his starters in the second half, Magic Summer League coach Mark Price gave his front office executives a chance to evaluate the entire roster. “We’re going to play these other guys, give them an opportunity, see what they can do, and that’s what we did.” Dominique Sutton was the lone Magic bench player who somewhat took advantage of the additional playing time. Sutton’s contributions to the game cannot be seen in the box score. The North Carolina Central graduate is a stereotypical “glue” guy and can make an impact on the game without touching the ball. At 6-foot-5, he is a tweener between the small and power forward positions but Sutton’s athleticism makes up for what he lacks in height. He is very active on the glass and hustles on both ends of the floor. Although it is a serious long shot for Sutton to make an NBA roster, he could definitely make a living playing Euroleague ball.
  • Tennessee Tech’s Kevin Murphy came into the 2012 NBA Draft as a serious scorer at the low-major level (2,019 career points) and the Utah Jazz decided to select him with the No. 47 overall pick. Early in the week, Murphy forced things offensively and, like most big-time scorers in college, over-penetrated frequently. Today, Murphy did a great job of setting his defender up on down screens and was a consistent catch-and-shoot threat throughout the game. Playing behind Alec Burks will take away some of Murphy’s reps during the regular season, but there’s no question he can develop to just as good of a shooter as Burks as his career progresses.

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Jul 11

Magic acquire Gustavo Ayon from New Orleans

Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Via Orlando Magic press release:

The Orlando Magic have acquired forward-center Gustavo Ayon from New Orleans in exchange for forward Ryan Anderson in a sign-and-trade deal, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal are not disclosed.

Ayon (6’10”, 245, 4/1/85) played in 54 games last season with the Hornets, averaging 5.9 ppg., 4.9 rpg. and 1.4 apg. in 20.1 mpg., while shooting a team-high .536 (140-261) from the field during his rookie campaign. He started in 24 games, averaging 8.3 ppg., 6.4 rpg., 2.0 apg., 1.38 spg. and 1.08 bpg. in 28.5 mpg. during that span. Ayon ranked in the top ten among all NBA rookies in field goal percentage (second), rebounding (fifth), blocked shots (fifth, 0.85 bpg.) and steals (seventh, 0.98 spg.).

Ayon led (or tied) the Hornets in rebounding nine times and in assists twice last season. He scored in double figures 11 times, including a career-high 16 points twice, the last time on Mar. 15 vs. Washington. Ayon also pulled down 10+ rebounds five times and recorded two double-doubles. He tallied a career-high 17 rebounds on Feb. 22 at Cleveland.

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