IN his first three seasons as a professional guard Victor Oladipo appeared to be a player the Orlando Magic would be willing to build around for years to come. That all changed this summer, as the Magic sent Oladipo, forward Ersan Ilyasova and the rights to first-round pick Domantas Sabonis to Oklahoma City in exchange for forward Serge Ibaka. While this was Orlando’s most noteworthy move of the summer, the Magic were very active in looking to rebuild a team that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2012. But will the personnel moves and the hiring of Frank Vogel as head coach pan out for Orlando?
Here’s a look at the roster:
Magic Projected Starting Lineup
G: Elfrid Payton (10.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 6.4 apg) Payton’s been the starting point guard since being drafted by the Magic in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft, and that will once again be the case in 2016-17. Payton raised his scoring average by nearly two points from his rookie season, shooting 43.6 percent from the field.
G/F: Evan Fournier (15.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.7 apg) Fournier was third on the team in scoring last season, and he did so with solid percentages to boot. Fournier shot just over 46 percent from the field and 40 percent from three in 2015-16, and with Oladipo no longer in the team’s plans he stands to get even more opportunities to score.
F: Aaron Gordon (9.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg) In his second season out of Arizona, Gordon started 37 of the 78 games he played in. Gordon shot 47.3 percent from the field but a lot of that came as a result of the shots he was able to create from 15 feet and in. Gordon shot just 29.6 percent from three, and for his game to take off he’ll need to become more consistent as a perimeter shooter.
F: Serge Ibaka (12.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.9 bpg) Ibaka worked hard to turn himself into a forward capable of scoring both inside and out while with the Thunder, but he hit some bumps in the road during the playoffs. There were times when Ibaka would spend too much time away from the basket, which didn’t help the Thunder then and it won’t help the Magic now if Ibaka were to once again go that route.
C: Nikola Vucevic (18.2 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.8 apg) Vucevic was Orlando’s leading scorer last season, shooting 51.0 percent from the field in scoring just over 18 points per game. Orlando added multiple big men to the roster this offseason, which could cut into Vucevic’s minutes, but he’ll still be a key part of the rotation as a result of his ability to score around the basket.
Magic Projected Bench
G: D.J. Augustin (7.5 ppg, 3.2 apg) In adding Augustin to the roster, the Magic have a proven backup point guard who will give Payton a break when needed. Augustin also shot 40.5 percent from three, an area the Magic need to improve in as they ranked 23rd in the NBA in that statistical category.
G: Jodie Meeks (7.3 ppg) Meeks played in just three games with the Pistons last season due to injury, and in late June the Magic swooped in and worked out a trade for Meeks. If healthy Meeks can provide the Magic with some much-needed perimeter shooting, as they ranked 16th in the NBA in three-point percentage (35.0).
G: C.J. Watson (4.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.7 apg) Watson, who averaged 19.6 minutes per game last season, will look to challenge Augustin for minutes behind Payton at the point. Watson missed a considerable amount of time last season with a left calf injury, resulting in his playing in only 33 games.
G/F: Mario Hezonja (6.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg) In his first NBA season the 6-foot-8 wing filled multiple roles off the bench, including as an occasional point guard with the second unit when Payton needed a break. The return of Watson and the signing of Augustin should keep Hezonja on the wing this season, allowing him to focus on mastering a single role under the tutelage of a new head coach.
F: Jeff Green (11.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg) Among the front court additions made this summer is Green, who agreed to a one-year, $15 million deal. Green shot 43 percent from the field in 80 games with the Grizzlies and Clippers last season, and he’s a solid mid-range shooter.
F: Stephen Zimmerman (Rookie) Zimmerman wasn’t drafted after his lone season at UNLV, a year hampered by both injuries and coaching turmoil. But the 7-footer is a skilled big man who displayed the ability to score both around the basket and out on the perimeter, and Orlando thought enough of him to guarantee the first year of his contract.
C/F: Bismack Biyombo (5.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg) Orlando signed Biyombo to a four-year, $68 million deal this summer with the idea that he will combine with Vucevic to lock down the center position. Biymobo wasn’t much of an offensive option in Toronto last season, but the move seemed to rejuvenate his career after spending the first four years in Charlotte. He defends his position well and is also a solid defender in ball screen situations.
Other Players in Magic Training Camp
G Nick Johnson G Kevin Murphy
G C.J. Wilcox
G Ramon Galloway F Cliff Alexander
F Damjan Rudez
F Branden Dawson
F/C Arinze Onuaku
With 13 guaranteed contracts on the roster so far, the Magic have two open spots as training camp begins. Given the surplus of front court players already on the roster, the three guards on this list are of particular interest. Murphy and Wilcox are both good shooters who can put points on the board, while Johnson is an athletic defender who can guard both lead and off guards. In the front court Onuaku performed well in Summer League action, with Alexander and Dawson coming off of NBA seasons in which they played sparingly. Rudez played in 33 games with the Timberwolves last season, averaging 2.3 points per game.
Magic Coaching Staff
Head coach: Frank Vogel (First season; 250-181 career record.)
Assistant coaches: Chad Forcier, Corliss Williamson, David Adelman, Jay Hernandez
UPDATE (10/16): The Magic waived guard Kevin Murphy and forwards Cliff Alexander and Branden Dawson.
UPDATE (10/21): The Magic sign guard Ramon Galloway.
UPDATE (10/22): The Magic waive guards Nick Johnson and Ramon Galloway.
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