The Orlando Magic's free agency situation is murky. There isn't a lot of cap room available and the team is in no position to sign someone to a long-term contract worth a lot of money. But it's possible the team could look into signing a young player who hasn't played up to his potential just to see what they can get out of him. If the player performs better than expected? Great. If the player continues to struggle and isn't worthy of an NBA roster? Oh well. No harm done.
With that being said, let's talk about Josh Selby.
NBA career so far:
Well, it hasn't been good. The highlight of his career has been an incredible 2012 summer league stint in which he averaged 24.2 points on 55.7 percent shooting from the field and 64.3 percent from 3-point range. But, as we all know, the summer league really doesn't mean much. Adam Morrison and Luke Harangody both dominated the summer league and neither will ever have a long NBA career.
Selby was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies with the No. 49 overall pick in 2011 after a shaky freshman season at Kansas. In two years with Memphis, Selby appeared in just 38 games, bouncing back-and-forth between the Grizzlies and the D-League. In January of 2013 he was shipped to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a throw-in in a salary dump. The Cavs waived him less than two months later and he went back to the D-League with the Maine Red Claws.
Selby's downfall is as steep -- and sad -- as you're likely to find. He was ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 1 high school player in the 2010 class, ahead of players such as Kyrie Irving, Harrison Barnes, Tobias Harris, Terrence Jones, Enes Kanter, Jared Sullinger and Brandon Knight. This is what Rivals said of Selby at the time:
A dynamic playmaker, Selby has the ability to excel at either the shooting guard or point guard position. He can score at all three levels, and no one hits the difficult shot with more consistency than Selby. As a point guard, he has the ability to breakdown defenses and create scoring opportunities for his teammates. On the other side of the ball, he is a high level defender. Combine these attributes with his athleticism and competitiveness and you have the top prospect in the 2010 class.
Kansas coach Bill Self has been criticized for under-utilizing his star players. When Andrew Wiggins chose Kansas, that was one of the slanders you were likely to see seeping out of the proverbial internet gutter. And it's probably fair to wonder how Selby would have developed as a player had he chosen another school or--gasp!--remained in college for more than one year. If the writing isn't already on the wall for Selby as an NBA player, then the permanent marker is sitting idly by just waiting to write off his professional basketball career as he joins the long line of super athletes who never quite panned out when they were given their shot.
Why he might fit in with the Magic:
The Magic, quite frankly, aren't looking to win this year. They want to see their young core develop at an encouraging rate, but wins aren't what Rob Hennigan is going to use to measure the 2013-14 season's success. Assuming that Victor Oladipo moves to the shooting guard spot, Orlando will have young pieces at every position besides point guard, where Jameer Nelson will hold the fort. But Nelson is 31 years old and will decline with every passing season. And with winning not being the main priority, where's the risk in bringing in Selby?
He's only 22 and he's still talented. In the first round of the D-League playoffs, he averaged 25 points, six rebounds, and five assists. That doesn't mean a whole lot because, well, it's the D-League, but it is intriguing to see that he's capable of putting up numbers against professional basketball players. Why not give the 22-year-old former No. 1 high school basketball player a shot? What is there to lose if you're Orlando?
Why he might not fit in with the Magic:
I don't think the Magic look at Oladipo as the point guard of the future. But if they do, then Selby becomes a pointless signing. Even if the Magic think Oladipo is a shooting guard and just want to hone is skills as a ball handler, would they really benefit from signing another young guy who hasn't proved anything? Would Selby get in the way--as a pseudo-combo guard--of Doron Lamb's development?
I imagine that Hennigan, like most NBA GMs around the league, has looked past Selby. He was inefficient, by all accounts, in his 38 NBA games. He was a minus defender whose PER can be counted on one hand. I can't see the Magic giving the former Kansas point guard a chance. But, if they did, he'd be an extremely cheap, short contract and probably wouldn't stand in the way of any of the young core's development.