Orlando Magic Camp Countdown: What Can We Expect from Stanley Robinson?

Orlando Magic training camp opens on September 28th. Orlando Pinstriped Post counts down key questions to consider entering camp and the 2010/11 NBA season.

Stanley Robinson, whom the Orlando Magic selected with the 59th pick in this year's NBA Draft, didn't exactly distinguish himself in his four years at Connecticut, doesn't have much of a jump shot, and is, to quote one team source, "deficient" in any facet of basketball which doesn't involve the use of athleticism. He's also the sixth forward on a fourteen-man team with championship aspirations. These factors are all working against his chances of making an impact in his rookie season. But Magic GM Otis Smith wouldn't have drafted Robinson if he didn't think he was at least worth a look, and by signing him to a non-guaranteed contract well before the beginning of training camp, Smith signaled that Robinson will have an opportunity to prove himself. And John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com wrote earlier this summer that Robinson is indeed thrilled to have that chance.

Signing second-round picks can be a bit tricky, as there isn't a salary scale in place as with first-rounders. Each team handles its second-rounders on a case-by-case basis, as a survey of the team salary pages on ShamSports can indicate. Levels of salary guarantee, contract length, and the salaries themselves vary from team to team, and player to player. So it's interesting to see how the Magic have structured Robinson's deal in comparison to other players selected near him. First, a look at Robinson's contract:

Team
(Pick)
Player Contract Value
(Length)
Guarantee Details
Magic
(59)
Stanley Robinson Min. salary
(2 yrs)
Contract fully unguaranteed, becoming fully guaranteed Dec. 10.

Now keep those facts in mind as you check out some of his peers in the late stages of the Draft:

Team
(Pick)
Player Contract Value
(Length)
Guarantee Details
Raptors
(50)
Solomon Alabi $2.49 million
(3 yrs)
First two years fully guaranteed; third year a team option
Celtics
(52)
Luke Harangody Min. salary
(2 yrs)
Both years fully guaranteed
Clippers
(54)
Willie Warren Min. salary
(3 yrs)
First year $100,000 guaranteed, becoming fully guaranteed Nov. 1; second and third years fully unguaranteed
Jazz
(55)
Jeremy Evans Min. salary
(2 yrs)
First year $50,000 guaranteed, becoming fully guaranteed Nov. 15; second year fully unguaranteed
Lakers
(58)
Derrick Caracter Min. salary
(2 yrs)
First year fully guaranteed contingent on weight goal; second year fully unguaranteed

Robinson's contract, as we can see, is unique in a few key ways. First, he has the latest guarantee date of any of his peers, enabling Orlando to get a longer look at him than, say, the Clippers will with Warren. Second, the guarantee date will trigger guarantees on both years of his deal, whereas his draft classmates have separate guarantee dates and levels for each successive year of their contracts. The Magic will have plenty of time to decide whether or not Robinson is part of their future, but once they do, they're committed to him for another season.

Robinson's case merits our attention because he's the first second-round pick the Magic have brought on since Marcin Gortat prior to the 2007/08 season. James Augustine came before Gortat, in the 2006 draft, and as Sham points out, Orlando wound up paying him a quarter-million dollars in the summer of 2008 merely to be on the roster, which is curious.

The Magic have until December 10th to decide on Robinson, but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll wait that long. From a practical standpoint, the team will be in the midst of a Western road trip on that date, meaning it might behoove them to cut him loose prior to embarking on that trip. Another possibility is that Robinson makes it clear early on in the season--or in practice, most likely, since he'll spend most of his time on the inactive list--that he can't help the team, in which case the Magic will let him go well before December 10th.

Given the minutes crunch in the regular season, it stands to reason that Robinson's best chance to make an impact will be in the preseason, which in turn means we ought to watch the minutes coach Stan Van Gundy allocates to him during the exhibition schedule, but even that's not a great predictive measure. As an example, consider that training-camp invitee Jeremy Richardson made the Magic's final roster in 2008 despite playing only 24 minutes in three preseason appearances, with four Did Not Play-Coach's Decisions. Orlando waived him prior to his contract guarantee date, and then re-signed him a few days later. Perhaps this fate awaits Robinson.

So how long will Robinson last? It's really up to him to prove he's NBA-caliber, and up to the coaching staff to give him minutes against NBA competition. Specifically, what the Magic are looking for is "energy," according to Smith, who adds that Robinson has "worked his tail" off this summer to get in better shape. Maintaining that work ethic will go a long way toward securing his NBA future. And, if nothing else, there's always this windmill jam from his breakout performance in summer-league play to remember.

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