The Orlando Magic are six games into an eight-game exhibition schedule, with two wins and four losses. With only two games remaining, now is as good a time as any to examine the way in which coach Jacque Vaughn has distributed his minutes, and to see what conclusions we may draw from those data.
Please see the table below for the relevant numbers. Note that I've sorted the players in descending order by minutes per game.
|Orlando Magic Minutes Played, 2012/2013 NBA Preseason|
|A * indicates a player who is in the running for the team's final roster spot;|
a + indicates a player who has a fully guaranteed contract as of 22 October 2012.
That DeQuan Jones, with a non-guaranteed deal, leads all Orlando players in total minutes and in minutes per game speaks highly of his chances of making the team. Josh McRoberts is his only real competition: though Jones has badly outplayed McRoberts, the veteran lefty has a guaranteed contract worth $3.1 million, according to ShamSports and Magic general manager Rob Hennigan may decide that the potential to use that contract in a trade outweighs whatever on-court benefits Jones brings.
We can pretty safely say Armon Johnson, Chris Johnson, and Christian Eyenga aren't long for Orlando. The Magic brought Armon Johnson to camp to compete for backup point-guard minutes, but E'Twaun Moore is second only to Jones in minutes per game, and Ish Smith will assume third-string duties.
Chris Johnson was always just a body, frankly, one brought aboard to sop up minutes due to the injuries which have sidelined Arron Afflalo, Maurice Harkless, and Eyenga so far.
As for Eyenga, one assumes he would have played a fair amount of minutes by now had he been healthy. Unfortunately, that strained hamstring is going to cost him, as he's the only player on Orlando's bubble who's yet to register a single minute in the preseason. The good news, as far as Eyenga is concerned, is that his $1.2 million salary is fully guaranteed; he'll get paid.
One suspects Moore will see a decrease in minutes once Afflalo returns to health; Moore has played some minutes at backup shooting guard this preseason, which minutes will likely shift to Redick once Afflalo assumes his starting role. Al Harrington figures to draw his minutes away from McRoberts and Justin Harper, both of whom may be headed to the waiver wire.
Jameer Nelson, Afflalo, Hedo Türkoğlu, and Glen Davis appear to have sewn up four of the five starting spots. The center job is up for grabs between Gustavo Ayón and Nikola Vučević: the latter has made more exhibition starts, but the former has logged more minutes. Kyle O'Quinn, Orlando's second-round draft choice, doesn't look to be in consideration, averaging fewer than 12 minutes per game in the preseason despite being fully healthy.