Well this article will obviously not contain any remnants of Al Harrington seeing as how he is still down with a knee injury. But I am talking about the other talent that the Magic acquired from the Howard-Iguodala-Bynum-Afflalo-trade. So far the Magic have done better than excepted, between the frequent injury bug and the lack of a super-star talent. Whether they can continue to rely on J.J. Redick, Glen Davis, and Afflalo is still uncertain. But right now that's not a point I am trying to make, I am here to state my opinion on the Magic's newly acquired youth and what they have done for them so far this year.
Ayon has started a couple games already but yet I am still not impressed with him. Ayon has had troubles with strength, between struggling to box out and keeping big men out of the paint. He has also struggled with his free throws and has done little with scoring. But Ayon does have impressive passing ability inside the paint; he has had success finding Vucevic, Big Baby, and other big men inside for easy lay-ups or dunks. But overall, Ayon has been very upsetting especially when Ayon wasn't even a part of the Howard deal; Ayon was actually traded in exchange for Ryan Anderson who would have been of big help with this team.
Afflalo has certainly been satisfactory so far but Afflalo is not worth his contract. Afflalo will be getting paid $7.75 million each year from here until the 2016 free agency period. Afflalo has shown spurts of great defense and offense but yet they never carry over to the next game. One night he will be covering Carmelo Anthony like Luol Deng then the next night it will be like Jackie Moon trying to cover LeBron James. Afflalo is 27 so he won't develop much more from here on out, I think finding a way to get a couple of draft picks out of him would be the best option for the Magic.
McRoberts has given everything he has every time he is given a chance; of course he isn't given many chances. McRoberts is lucky to even get on the floor and when he does he is brought out rather quickly. McRoberts brings a lot to the game, between his rebounding (solid on defense and can excite on offensive rebounds), scoring (he can make the 3-pt shot consistently), and defense (he can block a shot from time to time). I think this guy can shine in a bigger role, he just needs a chance. Taking a couple minutes from Ayon wouldn't be a crime.
His numbers say one thing but his game play says another. The guy can definitely play and obviously has potential after grabbing a franchise record 29 boards, but he has some learning to do. Vuc does have some bright spots; he can make an open shot from anywhere on the court and can block a shot every now and again. But Vuc’s biggest weakness is literally weakness. Vuc cannot get inside position unless he is already there, he also cannot back down opponents in the post nor can he hold his ground in the defensive post. This is easily corrected with hitting the gym but that isn't just his duty to do so. It is also the coaching staff that needs to step-up and insure that Vuc continues to grow in all phases of his game.
I found it no surprise that Harkless found himself in the starting five when Hedo Turkoglu went down with a broken hand. He certainly won't light up the score board but he can light up the rebounding stat. Harkless has shown that he can sneak inside for some offensive boards along with providing a decent defensive rebounding option. This guy could become a Luol Deng-type player but he could also become an even better player than Deng, at 19 he still has some growing up to do. Deng is obviously not as athletic as he is so Harkless definitely has a leg up on Deng, Harkless just needs to continue to work hard and receive the right coaching.
The Magic continue to impress me with a very strong mentality. Big Baby continues to show how much of a leader he is along with his side-kick, J.J. Redick. Right now they are obviously not "Final" material or even playoff material but in another three or four years they will have a strong team full of youth and talent that could be contending for a title. Will they do it? That is unclear but if they continue to grown and add talent and leadership they will be a nightmare once again in the east.
Thanks for reading, be sure comment, and Happy New Year!