One day you’re in the G League, the next you’re in the NBA.
Then on the same day you get signed for the remainder of the season, you earn the first start of your career.
That may be an unlikely progression for most, but for Rodney Purvis, it was a reality.
Ain’t it a blessing.— Rodney Purvis (@Gpurvooo) March 28, 2018
After a pair of 10-day contracts, Orlando signed the G League standout on Wednesday for the final nine games of the season. Before the ink was even dry on the contract, Frank Vogel then informed Purvis that he would also be starting that evening at shooting guard for the shorthanded Magic.
“I really thought he was joking,” Purvis told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel before Wednesday’s game. “But he was serious. So, yeah, today has been a really good day for me.”
After making the transition from G League star to NBA starter, Purvis struggled in his first start, scoring just two points on 0-for-6 shooting in the Magic’s 111-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. But in the previous seven games that he appeared with Orlando, he averaged 6.3 points on 47.1 percent shooting in 13.7 minutes per game, boosted primarily by an encouraging 19-point performance against the 76ers.
He has eight games remaining this season to showcase his abilities for a Magic team that will be allocating minutes to younger players and looking towards the future.
In order for the 24-year-old to further his G League success story, Purvis will now have to earn his way onto next year’s roster by forcing the Magic to exercise their team option on Purvis for next season. To do so, he will have to shoot the three at a higher rate than he has in his limited minutes with the Magic so far (7-for-23, 30.4 percent). That could come with more consistent minutes over the remainder of the season, whether starting or playing behind a healthy Wes Iwundu.
A former UConn standout who went undrafted, Purvis has shown the ability to produce on the offensive end both in college and with the Magic’s G-League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic. He averaged a team-best 20.5 points this season for Lakeland, including a 40-point performance, to help the team make the playoffs in its inaugural season. In February, Purvis earned a spot on the USA Men’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament.
.@Gpurvooo has not only been leading the @LakelandMagic, but also the #NBAGLeague. The @UConnMBB product was named player of the week earlier this season, and is averaging an 11th-best 20.8 PPG heading to play in #GLeagueInternational pic.twitter.com/1OIafuIyZf— NBA G League (@nbagleague) February 15, 2018
His play with Lakeland, along with what Frank Vogel described as a scorer’s instinct, paved his way to Orlando.
“He’s deserved (the contract) with his play in the G League all season and then with the opportunity that he’s had here, he’s checked a lot of boxes in terms of producing on the floor, being a good culture fit and being well-liked in the locker room,’’ Frank Vogel told John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com. “He’s got the instincts of a scorer. Some guys can shoot the basketball, but don’t have that mindset to go and get 20 points. He has that instinctually, he knows how to find his shot and he hasn’t really forced much since he’s been here. And he’s still been putting up pretty decent numbers while shooting the ball well. So, he’s done some good things.’’
If Purvis continues to do good things, he’ll be a welcome addition to a Magic team currently in dire need of an offensive-minded guard.