After the Orlando Magic decided to hold out Jonathan Isaac from the rest of Summer League, it’s might have seemed like there wasn’t much reason to watch the rest of the week.
...ok, that’s still probably true, but the Magic do have a couple of players worth paying attention to, players who actually stand a chance of helping the team when the regular season rolls around. On Wednesday, the Magic rode those players to their second win of the week, this time over the Knicks, 84-73. This time it was Kalin Lucas who stepped up as the Magic’s main scorer and playmaker, putting up 20 points on 8-14 shooting, along with 7 assists and 3 steals. Przemek Karnowski, brought in after Stephen Zimmerman was waived, also had a solid outing with 14 points, much of that coming in the pick-and-roll game with Lucas or Derrick Walton Jr.
Lucas was the star right from the get-go, taking advantage of two days’ rest to outpace the competition. He had 12 in the first quarter, using a few steals and the ensuing fast breaks to get the ball rolling. Lucas is a probably a long-shot to make training camp, especially given his age (28), but he put together what was easily his best performance of the week.
Karnowski was forced to acclimate quickly to the team’s plays after being added from Indiana’s team, but he did well with the little practice he had, showing solid timing in the pick-and-roll game as well as proficiency finishing at the rim. Unfortunately, Karnowski is pretty slow, every bit the lumbering giant you’d imagine seeing him in person, and that’ll limit his effectiveness in an increasingly speedy NBA.
A couple players that stand a solid chance of continuing on with the team to training camp: guards Marcus Georges-Hunt and Derrick Walton Jr. The former has stood out as the team’s best scorer throughout the week, and might also have some defensive versatility the Magic could surely use, priding himself after the game about defending 1-through-4. That seems less likely in a full-on NBA environment, but he should be able to switch in certain situations, a necessary skill for modern defenses.
Walton, meanwhile, is surely the summer league squad’s best ball-handler, but he also shot well from outside. Even if he’s not the most incredible athlete, and even if he’s a coming out of college as a senior, those skills seem valuable enough to warrant a spot as someone’s backup point guard.
The Magic controlled most of the game against the Knicks, earning their first three-quarter win among their four games. The Knicks did make a push mid-way through the third quarter to tie the game, but Orlando regained control down the stretch to seal the deal. By virtue of their 5th-place standing, they’ll be playing the Hornets on the final day.