Wow, quite a Draft we had ourselves there. On Draft night, I was shocked, I was outraged, I was confused, and almost felt an immediate need to start asking God why. After the dust has settled though, it has become clear that the Magic continue to build for a thriving future, attempting to cultivate a movement that centers on the foundation of Versatility and Defense. With their two top selections that became Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton, Orlando continues to put priority on high character, hard working types, and also collected versatile guards in Evan Fournier and Devyn Marble to replace our ever scowling Aaron Afflalo.
The main question for the Magic moving forward should be, Where to from here? Well summer league for one. Orlando is set to play their rookies, along with familiar faces (welcome back, Romero Osby), and letting the youngsters have a go at it. With all the recent additions, which faces from last year's regular season roster are most likely on their way out? The suspects:
The wily vet has managed to stick around many an NBA roster, and a highlight dunk and hustle play here or there made Ronnie tolerable for most of the year, but with his inefficiency in running the offense and the team's grooming of the young players, it is clear that he is running on borrowed time. Even with Oladipo's move to the 2 spot, a new rookie pg in Payton will immediately dig into those backup minutes and render Price ultimately an expendable piece to this growing Magic club.
Maxiell was important to the young bigs' development last year, even if he didn't get too much run on the court for Orlando during the season. An undersized big with a mean streak, you could see how his presence might have helped in players' development, esp. in Kyle O'Quinn who began to break out in the second half of the year. However, the depth chart of Orlando's frontcourt is getting awfully crowded. Just as Big Baby's departure signaled increased minutes for Orlando's frontline youth, a clearing out of Maxiell this go around will help determine who's here for the longterm for the Magic's stable of bigs, inc Vucevic, O'Quinn, Gordon, Harris, Dedmon and Nicholson.
The idea of Doron Lamb excites me. Pure shooter from a winning program, you put him out on the court and he can hit it for you from anywhere. The reality of Doron Lamb saddens me. It appears shooting may be his sole NBA skill, so when that shot isn't hitting, then Doron Lamb is sitting. That rhymes. Thank you, thank you. He either steps up this summer or more than likely he's out the door.
Actually one of my favorite's of the young guys he really disappointed last year, though it appears it may have been impacted by Vaughn's system of "match ups" that had him looking like a fish out of water. While attempting to move him into a stretch role to create better spacing for Orlando, it ultimately neutralized his greatest strength, which is his low post offense. His defense continues to improve but it's still a work in progress. With Orlando's deep front line, maybe he would work better on another team, perhaps in exchange for a future asset; I think the Utah Jazz would make an excellent partner.
The longest tenured player on the squad, Jameer is like a grizzled NBA war veteran, showing our young bucks who are still wet behind the ears how to fight and stay alive in battle. Born into the Magic organization, I personally wouldn't mind Nelson transitioning to the Magic's backup pg spot in the next season or so to play out his NBA years, then ceremonially moving to its player development and/or front office. He has always carried himself as a no-frills professional, and I respect how he through the years quietly took on the capacity as the team's captain, famously known for hosting off season team building activities and organized workouts in his home state of PA. He remains the team's elder statesman, and would continue to mentor the Magic's young guards (Payton, Oladipo, Fournier), and an exit this year to me seems unlikely.
Moore slowly began to grow on me last year, much like moss does on trees. He was at first thrust into a role for which he lacked the skills for (as a primary ball handler). Once Oladipo entered the equation last season and took on pg responsibilities, Moore fell into his more comfortable position off the ball, and did what he does best (shoot). There was a game against Brooklyn last year where he caught fire and popped in like six 3's in a row, dude can go unconscious on occasion; he's developed a floater, and I like that he's gritty and works hard on the other end too. With Orlando's recent guard additions in Payton, Fournier, and Marble, whether he remains in the Magic's cards is the question.