How the Orlando Magic Should Utilize Each New Offseason Addition
With the end of the Dwight Howard era in Orlando, a flurry of new prospects have arrived to the Magic roster, aiming to solidify their names as legitimate rotation players. On a rebuilding team such as this franchise, these young players are mostly in their perfect, respective scenarios, as nobody returning to the roster is capable of dominating the stat sheets.
We don't know who is going to dominate the points, boards and assists on the Magic, as we can make a pretty easy prediction on a multitude of contenders.
Nevertheless, this year's new additions for the Magic are quite talented, and have cemented the notion that the team is entering the right rebuilding path.
With the 19th overall pick in this year's draft, the Orlando Magic selected Andrew Nicholson to help bolster a rather weak frontcourt.
The 22-year-old doesn't possess All-Star potential, mostly due to his athleticism and undersized 6'9" frame that severely limits him, but Orlando is hoping they found a player that can immediately contribute in the rotation.
The Magic will most likely not contend for a playoff berth, so starting Nicholson, or at least increasing his role, is probably the best option for coach Jacque Vaughn. After all, the team needs to see if they drafted a diamond in the rough with their first round selection.
Nicholson can knock down the open mid-range jumper and possesses an efficient post-game, featuring an effective hook shot. This makes him a perfect candidate to be the facilitator's role player in the pick-and-roll, arguably Orlando's most popular play.
Gustavo Ayón, who was brought over in the trade that sent Ryan Anderson to New Orleans, isn't considered an elite prospect, or even a prospect at all.
Already at 27-years-old, Ayón just doesn't have the time to flourish in the Association. Nevertheless, the third Mexico-born NBA player in history should become a reliable contributor as a backup center.
However, Vaughn will be tempted to start the big man due to his refined skills. This would be a huge mistake, as there is absolutely no future for Ayón in the starting lineup. He doesn't have the skill, athleticism or size to prosper at the starting position.
With the 6'9" Nicholson probably starting at the power forward position in the future, it doesn't make too much sense to couple him with the 6'10" Ayón.
Size whens in the NBA, and the aforementioned big man duo is a recipe for disaster.
Al Harrington skills and athleticism have severely weakened, and the former high-octane scorer is a shell of his former self.
However, Harrington is still useful on Orlando's bench. On a team full of prospects, this forward can be a perfect role model for these young men.
A player whose character was often questioned earlier in his career, Harrington become a solid leader in his tenure with the Denver Nuggets. He accepted his role off the bench and was one of the main contributors on one of the deepest rosters in the league.
Additionally, Harrington will be utilized a few minutes per night off the pine. His scoring prowess and versatility are two of the main characteristics that could significantly improve this squad.
The Orlando Magic may have solved their small forward woes when the team added Moe Harkless in the Dwight Howard deal from the Philadelphia 76ers.
Harkless, who was drafted with the 15th overall selection in this year's draft, is a fantastic athlete, but is also quite raw. He has been compared to players such as Trevor Ariza and Paul George due to his lankiness and ability to lockdown his opponent on defense, though.
Harkless won't be heavily utilized in the beginning of the season, as he is currently projected to be buried on the depth chart behind Quentin Richardson and Hedo Türkoğlu, but expect the small forward to rise above these veterans and earn the starting job once Orlando falls out of postseason contention.
Harkless' offensive game with come once he matures a bit more. His shooting is the biggest question mark, however. If he can add a decent shot, making opponents play him fairly, then his speed can be used to penetrate to the basket.
The only true seven-footer on the entire roster, Vučević may be a huge addition once it is all said and done. Sure, he must fill arguably the biggest shoes in the entire Association, but there is no denying the potential and talent currently in this former USC star.
With the Philadelphia 76ers, Vučević showed flashes of brilliance, as he often heard his name called by the fans to be substituted in when fellow center Spencer Hawes struggled. This big man can hit the open jumper, is a surprisingly effective defender and may very well become one of Orlando's most valuable players down the road.
Hopefully, Vaughn decides to start Vučević, as this is is the future of Orlando Magic basketball.
Arron Afflalo is arguably the most underrated player in the entire league. Despite being able to create offense for himself and lockdown the opposing team's best perimeter scorer, much of the NBA community is shrouded by a cloud of obscurity in regards to this wily veteran.
The key to Orlando reaching success this season is largely based on the improvement of Afflalo. In the past, this new addition has played on Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons teams that possessed very deep roster, which hurts his statistics.
Now, he is on a team where there are little options on offense, allowing him to become a go-to guy in this offense. Fantasy basketball junkies better watch out for Afflalo.
Kyle O'Quinn: Orlando's second round draft pick played exceptionally in the Summer League. However, Gustavo Ayón and Nikola Vučević will almost certainly limit the big man to receiving only garbage time.
E'Twaun Moore: Moore is an exceptional young guard, but is a little raw to receive rotation minutes. Expect Moore to ride the pine this season, breaking out the next year.
Justin Harper: The Harper experiment has been disappointing, to say the least. Many expected the big man to become the next Rashard Lewis, but that has not been the case. Nonetheless, he will make the roster, finding minutes only at the end of blowouts.
Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts, DeQuan Jones and Armon Johnson: These players will likely not find a spot on next season's roster. Eyenga, McRoberts and Jones fall victim to the Magic's depth at the forward positions, while the Magic will probably not want to add a fourth point guard behind Nelson, Ish Smith and Moore.