(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic have elected to keep combo guards Larry Hughes and DeAndre Liggins on their opening-night roster, coach Stan Van Gundy said Thursday, meaning the two training-camp invitees have made the team, at least for now.
Orlando invited Hughes, DeAndre Liggins, and point guard Gabe Pruitt to training camp, but waived Pruitt following Wednesday's preseason finale against the Miami Heat. Pruitt didn't play in either of Orlando's preseason games and was a longshot to overtake the veteran Hughes or the rookie Liggins.
Hughes, who did not play professionally during the 2010/11 season, has 12 years of NBA experience. He most recently played for the Charlotte Bobcats after the Sacramento Kings waived him, just five days after acquiring him from the New York Knicks in a salary dump. Hughes owns career averages of 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.5 steals. At 6-foot-5, he has excellent size for a point guard, but can also play both wing positions.
The Magic selected Liggins with the No. 54 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. The Kentucky product has earned comparisons to fellow Chicago native Tony Allen for his aggressive, hard-nosed defense. In his three-year Wildcat career, Liggins averaged 8.6 points, four rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. In his most recent season, Liggins played 31.6 minutes and shot a career-best 39.1 percent from three-point range.
Hughes could challenge Chris Duhon for Orlando's backup point guard job. Liggins, meanwhile, figures to see spot minutes as a situational defender. It's also possible the Magic will send him to the NBA D-League for seasoning.
Retaining Hughes and Liggins sets Orlando's roster at 15 players, the league maximum. The NBA will allow teams to dress 13 players, instead of the usual 12, through Feb. 6. It's unclear which two players Van Gundy will keep inactive.
Orlando's season begins December 25th against the Oklahoma City Thunder.