The Magic's predominant storyline this summer has been about a man (alright, a child) who wants nothing more than to leave Orlando. Meanwhile, a roster full of actual men have spent the past week battling at the Amway Center, wanting nothing more than to stay in Orlando.
With 60 percent of the Orlando Summer League in the books, the Magic's roster is beginning to sharpen into focus. Highly touted rookies, undrafted free agents and young veterans alike have come together to battle for a spot in Orlando's 2012-13 roster.
The team has disappointed, going 1-2 thus far, but Summer League isn't about winning; it's about player evaluation. And in that regard, Orlando should be very happy.
Here's a look at how the roster has begun to shape up after three days of competition.
Summer Stats: 26.7 MPG, 11.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 5.7 APG, 2.3 SPG
Breakdown: On one hand, Wayns has been the most pleasant surprise in the whole Summer League, scoring and setting up teammates with ease and bravura. But on the other hand, Wayns' success isn't really surprising at all.
A former McDonald's All-American, Wayns had an up-and-down career as the star at Villanova. A disappointing senior year and his short stature contributed to all 30 teams passing him up on draft night, but he might get the last laugh.
He's perfectly suited to the new NBA––the one where you can't hand-check––as his quickness and ball-handling ability help him get into the lane at will. He's leaving to play with Golden State in Vegas, so Orlando will have to work to keep him. But there's a chance he's 2012's Isaiah Thomas.
Summer Stats: 24.7 MPG, 5.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.3 APG
Breakdown: An under-appreciated wing player, Liggins should always have a home thanks to his defensive acumen.
He's never gonna wow in the box score, but he passes the eye test, harassing opponents on the wing. Liggins is the definition of a specialist, but he's good enough that he can make a living doing it.
He should get an invite to Magic training camp and have a good shot at making the roster.
Summer Stats: 23.7 MPG, 9.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.7 APG
Breakdown: Harper spent most of last season in France (due to lockout confusion) before joining the Magic toward the end of the season.
So, for all intents and purposes, this is his rookie season. He's a huge filled-out wing specimen who can play the stretch-four when called upon.
Harper came out sizzling in the first half of Orlando's first game, but he's faded since then. Still, his offensive versatility and shooting stroke is enough to get him a roster spot in 2012-13––and maybe even some playing time.
Summer Stats: 25.3 MPG, 17.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 0.7 APG
College: St. Bonaventure
Breakdown: The first-round pick is supposed to be the star of Summer League, and Nicholson has not been a disappointment. If anything, he's exceeded expectations this week.
He put up a double-double, with 24 points and 12 rebounds, in the opening game against Brooklyn, and he has remained the focal point of Orlando's attack since. When Brooklyn tied the game late, the Magic fed Nicholson down low, and he maneuvered his way to a game-clinching and-one.
He'll never make any All-Star teams, but you can win a title with Nicholson in your rotation.
Summer Stats: 21.7 MPG, 9.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 0.3 APG
College: Norfolk State
Breakdown: Like teammate Bradford Burgess, O'Quinn became a household name during the NCAA tournament. Unlike Burgess, however, O'Quinn appears to have a bright NBA future ahead of him.
His stats are deflated by sparse playing time Wednesday against Utah, but when O'Quinn has been on the floor, he's made his presence known.
The 6'10" center fights his butt off on the glass, and he's flashed the ability to hit mid-range jumpers, too. His post game is more polished than some would expect from a small-school prospect, and he looks poised to make the roster in 2012-13.
Summer Stats: 12.0 MPG, 7.3 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 1.7 APG
Breakdown: Anderson is a diminutive, 6'0" point guard who can fill up the box score in a hurry. He had a great career at Richmond, playing with Summer League teammate Justin Harper, but hasn't gotten an NBA shot just yet.
He's provided a spark off the bench backing up Maalik Wayns, with his best performance coming against Detroit, where he scored 11 points in 10 minutes.
With Wayns abandoning the team to play in Vegas with Golden State, Anderson could be in store for starter's minutes at the point, with some good weapons around him. He'll get a shot to impress, but unless he blows coaches away, his size will probably always keep him overseas.
Summer Stats: 15.3 MPG, 4.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG
College: Kansas State/NC Central
Breakdown: Sutton was a vital piece of Frank Martin's successful Kansas State teams before transferring to North Carolina Central for his final season.
A forward in an NBA guard's body, Sutton has done an admirable job of playing on the wing this week. He's certainly not trigger happy, driving to the cup and shooting whenever he's been on the floor.
Unfortunately, it's doubtful he's skilled enough to succeed in the NBA at only 6'5".
Summer Stats: 2 GP, 17.5 MPG, 4.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG
College: Miami (FL)
Breakdown: Jones is a long, bouncy athlete who needs to work on his ball skills if he wants to play in the Association.
He looked good in extended minutes against Utah, scoring seven points and grabbing six rebounds. With Josh Owens leaving to join Charlotte in Vegas, Jones could find some more playing time.
Summer Stats: 2 PG, 12.0 MPG, 4.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.5 APG
Breakdown: Owens has provided solid––albeit unspectacular––minutes for Orlando, but he's moving on to join Charlotte in Las Vegas.
He's got decent size, length and athleticism, but not much in the way of creating his own shot. Owens is probably best served playing overseas.
Summer Stats: 1 GP, 14.0 MPG, 6.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG
Breakdown: Rolle, one of the veterans in Orlando this week, was out of basketball after getting cut by the Hawks last season.
He looked good in his only game for Orlando, using his length to grab six rebounds in 14 minutes.
With some of the other big men moving to other Summer League teams, Rolle could be in store for bigger minutes on Thursday and Friday, where we can get a better read on what he brings to the table.
Summer Stats: 2 GP, 18.0 MPG, 6.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.0 APG
Breakdown: The younger brother of Sacramento forward Jason Thompson, Ryan has been searching for an NBA home since coming out of Rider.
Thompson can score from the wing, a trait he displayed two summers ago with the Celtics' Summer League team, and again in 2012.
His shot selection is a little bit iffy, but you've got to respect a guy who isn't afraid to take a big shot. He'll probably get invited to at least one NBA training camp this season.
Summer Stats: 1 GP, 17.0 MPG, 3.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.0 BPG
College: South Dakota
Breakdown: An athletic shooting guard from Podunk, S.D., Westbrook failed to impress in his first game on Wednesday.
In extended minutes, he was only able to go 1-of-9 from the field, despite putting up prolific scoring numbers in college. He did compete hard, though, and grabbed five rebounds.
He should get more chances to impress on Thursday and Friday, but as of now, he doesn't look ready to compete for an NBA roster spot.
Summer Stats: 1 GP, 11.0 MPG, 6.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG
Breakdown: The breakout star of VCU's 2011 Final Four run, Burgess was unable to parlay that dominance into an NBA draft selection.
He's a long, rangy guard/forward who's flashed three-point range. Unfortunately, his game isn't very fluid and he's not great off the bounce. Too small to play the post in the NBA, Burgess needs to work on his wing game.
Summer Stats: 2 GP, 8.5 MPG, 2.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG
Breakdown: Nevill is leaving to join the Timberwolves in Vegas, but his absence won't exactly throw off the Magic, who haven't needed him much.
A towering 7'2" Australian center, Nevill has decent touch around the rim, but his moves are a little ponderous.
The Magic's Summer League team is loaded down low, so playing for another team was probably a good call on Nevill's part.