With the draft completed and free agency getting underway, the offseason is about to head into full tilt. The Orlando Magic have already made a handful of moves the past few days that freed up cap space and opened up roster spots. However, before we get into all that, let’s take a look at what the Magic currently have. I’ve broken down the current Orlando Magic roster into 3 tiers; Key players, role players, and bench warmers.
Nikola Vucevic (Center) : Vucevic is arguably the Magic’s best remaining player from last years team. Vucevic is a great rebounder, and excellent mid-range jumper shooter. While he struggles protecting the rim, he definitely learned how to contain pick-and-rolls much more effectively last season. It’s safe to say his spot on the team is safe.
Victor Oladipo (Shooting Guard/Point Guard): With the departure of Arron Afflalo and the addition of Elfrid Payton, it has become clear that Oladipo is Orlando’s new long-term shooting guard. With Oladipo moving back to his natural position, I look forward to seeing the progression he makes this year.
Aaron Gordon (Small Forward/Power Forward): Gordon was recently made the 4th pick in the NBA draft. While Gordon may not play a huge role for Orlando this year because of the depth at the forward spots, he figures to be a key contributor in the future.
Elfrid Payton (Point Guard): Now that Jameer Nelson has parted ways with the franchise, Payton is expected to be the starting point guard. Payton is a pesky defender and while he might struggle offensively, Orlando will likely let him undergo trial by fire.
Tobias Harris (Power Forward/Small Forward): This might be controversial because he’s Orlando’s most efficient scorer, but I’m not sure how the Magic as an organization feel about Harris. They drafted Aaron Gordon with the 4th pick in the draft to play the same combo forward position Harris plays and they can’t decide what his role on the team should be. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Harris dealt before the season begins.
Maurice Harkless (Small Forward): Harkless likely opens the season as Orlando’s starting Small Forward. Harkless has transformed into a reliable three-point shooter and he has shown flashes of being a great defender. With all that said Harkless hasn’t proven to be more than an average starter at best.
Kyle O’Quinn (Center/Power Forward): It really hurt me to put Kyle O’Quinn here, his beard alone should automatically make him a key player. O’Quinn is the ideal backup Center for any team and depending on how you feel about the importance of rim protection, O’Quinn might be a better option at the starting Center than Vucevic.
Evan Fournier (Shooting Guard/Point Guard?): Fournier is a good shooter and solid decision-maker offensively. It remains to be seen whether he’ll play any point guard or if he’s strictly a shooting guard for Orlando. At any rate, somebody on this team needs to be able to shoot and Fourier definitely brings that to the table.
Ronnie Price (Point Guard): Price’s contract isn’t fully guaranteed but I wouldn’t be shocked if they drop him. If he stays he’s a locker room presence and a spot starter if injuries occur.
Willie Green (Shooting Guard): Good News: His nickname is “Fast Willie Green” which is kind of cool in a really basic way. Bad News: He’s not very good at basketball. Once again another locker room guy.
Roy Devyn Marble (Shooting Guard): Wouldn’t call him a lock to make the team, but you have to imagine the Magic have some confidence in this guy if they kicked E’Twuan Moore and Doron Lamb to the curb after drafting him. Marble is a decent shooter off of screens and, much like Fournier, makes strong decisions with the ball in his hands.
Dewayne Dedmon (Center) : Dedmon’s contract doesn’t become fully guaranteed until right before the season begins, so I’d expect him to play with Orlando throughout the pre-season. Dedmon showed a great motor and attitude last season and for his minimal contract I’m not sure they’ll find a much better value for a third Center.
Andrew Nicholson: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Nicholson is two years removed from being a first round pick and after a sub-par year, he’s likely fighting for his NBA career. Nicholson needs to prove that he’s capable of playing on both ends of the court and show better diligence in his shot selection.
Projected Depth Chart:
Point Guard: Elfrid Payton/Ronnie Price
Shooting Guard: Victor Oladipo/Evan Fournier/Roy Devyn Marble/Willie Green
Small Forward: Maurice Harkless/Aaron Gordon
Power Forward: Tobias Harris/Andrew Nicholson
Center: Nikola Vucevic/Kyle O’Quinn/Dewayne Dedmon
Taking a look at that depth chart helps visualize what kind of help Orlando needs.
Let’s start with point guard, the Magic have no real NBA caliber point guards with NBA experience. The Magic do have Oladipo and Fournier both of whom can play some point guard in spot situations, however. You have to imagine that the Magic would feel more comfortable with somebody that is a natural point guard on the roster in case of injury (No Ronnie Price does not count).
The second thing that sticks out to me is the lack of a power forward with a combination of size and defense. While some may argue Aaron Gordon is that guy I do not believe he’s strong enough yet to handle guys like Zach Randolph or Blake Griffin.
Last but not least starting small forward could be addressed. As I had alluded to earlier, Harkless has been an average at best starter and there are many improvements that could be made through free agency.
Are there any other glaring spots on the Magic roster you see that I missed? Feel free to let me know in the comments!