Returning less than half of their roster from last season, the Orlando Magic are expecting their offseason acquisitions to make a big impact. From Serge Ibaka, to C.J. Wilcox, the Magic will need the seven new members of their roster to make a significant impact if they want to reach the playoffs for the first time since the lockout shortened 2011-12 season.
While the likes of Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Green, and D.J. Augustin will be expected to make the biggest impacts, it’s Wilcox who will need to step up in a big way for the Magic.
After being acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers for Devyn Marble, Wilcox gets a fresh start after struggling to get off the bench on the veteran heavy Clippers team. A late first round pick in 2014, the University of Washington product appeared in just 44 games for the Clippers, averaging a mere 2.5 points per game.
A talented scorer and sharp shooter —he’s shot 38 percent from beyond the arc his first two seasons— Wilcox brings forth some potentially big assets for a Magic team in desperate need of as much shooting as possible. With Jodie Meeks still recovering from offseason foot surgery, Wilcox will likely get a chance to earn some minutes off the Magic’s bench early in the season.
Wilcox said his trade to the Magic wasn’t surprising, citing the fact that the Magic had previously tried, and failed, to acquire him. Having played behind the likes of J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and Austin River the last two years, getting a fresh start is something that could benefit the third-year shooting guard.
“Just having a bunch of new guys come in, a new coach, a new staff I just think that it’s going to be a great opportunity for me to come in and compete and not have some of the great guys I had in front of me in LA,” said Wilcox. “Just have the opportunity to compete, that’s all I’m asking for.”
Evan Fournier will be the Magic’s starting shooting guard this season, but with Meeks out, and Mario Hezonja likely seeing minutes at small forward, the door is wide open for Wilcox. C.J. Watson will likely also be vying for some minutes at the backup shooting guard spot, with Augustin likely taking over the backup point guard duties.
While the additional shooting is a boost the Magic need, Wilcox knows that he needs to be able to defend if he wants to see consistent action. “[Shooting] That’s what got me to the NBA, and that’s what I hang my hat on,” said the third-year guard. “At the same time, defending the ball is going to be an important piece too. I think as the team aspect goes that’s going to be our main focus.”
The Washington product has the right mindset as he gears up for what will be an important season for him. With just one year left on his rookie contract, Wilcox will need to show that he has the tools to be able to hang in the NBA and contribute at a consistent level.
Fresh starts are good for a lot of people, and this could be the big break that Wilcox has needed.