As the NBA continues to grow and evolve, we slowly see teams looking for players who can play multiple positions and multiple roles throughout the course of the season. The greatest case can be made for the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, who valued players with versatility up and down the roster. From Draymond Green's ability to play all three frontcourt positions to Shaun Livingston's ability to play one through three, the Warriors used their versatility to their advantage all season, seemingly cruising to the NBA title.
With their two draft picks on Thursday night, the Orlando Magic continue to evolve their roster and look for more and more versatility. The addition of first rounder Mario Hezonja, the highly confident Croatian via Spanish powerhouse FC Barcelona, can play the two and three. Tyler Harvey, the reigning leading scorer in the country for the NCAA, can play both guard positions, while giving the team a much needed scoring punch off the bench.
Add in the likes of Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Victor Oladipo, Maurice Harkless and, if they do indeed re-sign him, Tobias Harris, and the Magic have a stable full of young players who can play multiple positions.
Following the announcement that Hezonja was the teams selection with the fifth pick, general manager Rob Hennigan and head coach Scott Skiles came down and spoke with the media briefly about their newest player. When asked how the addition could effect the team's wing rotation, Hennigan said, "I think this is in line with our philosophy about really trying to play with versatile and interchangeable players. We see Mario as someone who can play with all of our guys including Tobias, including Aaron, including Victor, everyone right down the line."
Skiles echoed what Hennigan had to say. "There’s all kinda of combinations that can be put out there and more versatility is always good," he said
Following the selection of Harvey with the 51st pick, Hennigan spoke with the assembled media once again, talking more about the ever-changing game as well as the versatility of the roster. When asked if his team was buying into small ball, something that undoubtedly helped the Warriors in their race to the title, Hennigan said that it's still important to find a balance with the roster.
"You’ve got to be able to equip your team to face different styles," said Hennigan. "I think the best teams in the league are ones who have that kind of playing style and versatility. I don’t know. There will always be certain series in the playoffs where you have to play small, then there may be other series where you play bigger. I think the balance is critical."
As the Magic continue to build their roster, finding the balance is more and more important. Having the versatility with players being able to play multiple positions is huge, and something that you can undoubtedly bet Hennigan and co. will bear in mind as they build the roster for the coming season.