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.
It's getting to the part of the offseason where NBA teams sign free agents for training camp; indeed, the Orlando Magic signed Morris Almond and Linton Johnson one year ago exactly. The Magic have yet to sign any such player for camp, though second-round draft choice Stanley Robinson, on an unguaranteed deal, will indeed partake. Though it's tough to predict whom exactly the team will invite, we can at least speculate which positions, or at least skills, may need addressing.
UPDATE: just hours after I initially posted this story, the Magic announced the signing of veteran power forward Malik Allen.
The Magic have 13 players on guaranteed deals. We can visualize their depth in this way:
Additionally, Robinson can slot in at small forward behind Pietrus if Orlando decides he's proven enough throughout camp and the early portion of the year.
But it's clear, just from a visual standpoint, that the Magic could use another shooting guard or small forward, if for nothing else than to provide a body in practice. Between Carter, Redick, and Rashard Lewis (should he slide down a position for some stretches), the Magic have plenty of offense from the perimeter. Thus, from this perspective, the biggest need here is a young, physical wing defender with some upside. Now, a lot of players who fit that description are under contract with other teams, so the Magic aren't going to get a top-notch prospect here. But I do think they'll look around for an undrafted, defense-first shooting guard or small forward. And yes, maybe that need is a bit redundant with Robinson already here. I am, of course, willing to accept that I am wrong.
Additionally, Magic President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith rather likes camp players who can swing between two positions. Combo guard Kevin Kruger and swingman Torrell Martin came to camp in 2007. Swingman Jeremy Richardson and big man Dwayne Jones received invitations in 2008. Last year, combo forward Linton Johnson III got a chance. I would not be surprised if the Magic invited another player of Johnson's caliber and play style again this year, a fill-the-gaps, multi-positional hustle player who can sop up minutes in practice.
It's clear that any potential camp invitee faces an incredibly difficult climb to make the Magic's opening-night roster, as Smith prefers to carry 13 players.