Key Storylines for Orlando Magic's Summer League Team
The city of Orlando is hosting the Summer League at the Amway Center, and the hometown Magic have a handful of intriguing storylines to keep track of.
In their first three contests, the Magic only managed to win one game. That victory came in their opener against the Boston Celtics.
While the Magic finished the 2012-13 season with the worst record in the league, that was to be expected. Fans that bleed blue and white should be focusing on the development of Orlando's young players in the Summer League, because Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb and Andrew Nicholson are all participating.
General Manager Rob Hennigan's plan to propel the Magic into championship contention is one that requires patience. The first dismal season is in the books, but another campaign filled with defeats is likely to follow.
With the vaunted NBA draft class of 2014 on the horizon, the Magic front office is likely willing to suffer through another losing season. If spending another season in the league's cellar grants them the opportunity to draft Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, then the losses will be viewed as a necessary evil.
Orlando's future will be shaped by the likes of Oladipo and their other young prospects, so the conclusions that can be drawn from the Summer League hold more weight for the Magic than the majority of other franchises.
The debut of Victor Oladipo
The Magic made Oladipo the second overall selection in this year's draft, and he has not disappointed thus far. In three games, the Indiana product has been Orlando's leading scorer, averaging 17.3 points per contest.
Against the Miami Heat, which was Orlando's third game, Oladipo played some point guard and still led the team in scoring with 22 points versus five turnovers. After the contest, he said the following per Josh Robbins of OrlandoSentinel.com:
I'm just trying to watch the film. My film's been helping me a lot. I'm just going to continue to keep watching it and see what I need to do to improve and cut down on those turnovers, or I might as well change my last name from Oladipo to Mr. Turnover. I've got to fix that up.
While turnovers are not acceptable, Oladipo won't be responsible for as much ball handling once the games actually start counting.
Hennigan drafted Oladipo to be Orlando's shooting guard of the future, which is a role he is expected to fill with relative ease. Oladipo's determination, athleticism and non-stop motor have been on full display throughout the Summer League, as he has lived up to the draft hype.
Who will lead the Magic in scoring next season?
Since the Indiana product's game is not dependent on his jumper, his level of play rarely falls off when his shots are finding the bottom of the net. This means that Oladipo's impact on games will be consistent, as his rebounding and defensive ability will always be on display.
Oladipo's only negative thus far has little to do with his basketball ability, as he has hit the deck hard on several occasions which is a cause for concern. Such a tendency is worrisome due to the injury concerns, as taking such a physical beating is not sustainable.
Overall, Oladipo has been one of the most impressive players in the Orlando Summer League, and that should make Magic fans smile.
Romero Osby has played well as a second-round pick
The Orlando Magic drafted Romero Osby out of Oklahoma in the second round, which was a somewhat surprising move considering that the 23-year-old doesn't have an obvious position. At 6'8", Osby is a bit undersized to play power forward, which is the same issue the Magic currently have with Tobias Harris.
During his final season at Oklahoma, Osby averaged 16 points and seven rebounds per game while converting on 52.6 percent of his field goals. While that shooting percentage won't translate to the next level, it's clear that Osby understands how to get good looks at the hoop.
Throughout the Summer League thus far, Osby has been impressive. He has averaged 11 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 50 percent.
According to Brian Schmitz of OrlandoSentinel.com, assistant coach James Borrego, who is coaching Orlando in the Summer League, said the following about Osby after the Magic beat the Celtics:
He changed the game for us. He looks to me like a player who wants to be in the NBA. He wants a job.
Finding a productive asset in the second round provides great value for any team that can pull it off, so it's promising to see Osby playing well, even if it is in the Summer League.
At this point, it would be a major shock if Osby failed to make Orlando's regular season roster.
Moe Harkless is getting accustomed to the NBA
When the Magic traded Dwight Howard, they were criticized for not receiving enough value in return. Harkless was involved in the trade that sent Howard to Los Angeles, so the second-year player's performance could prove that the Magic made the right decision.
After starting 59 games for the Magic last season at 19 years of age, Harkless has been more assertive thus far in the Summer League. According to Josh Robbins of OrlandoSentinel.com, Borrego said the following about Harkless.
He just looks like a different player to me: very aggressive to the rim, looking for his shot when he has it.
As an extremely young 6'8" small forward, Harkless has the size, length and potential to develop into a dominant player on both ends of the court.
Harkless projects to be Orlando's starting small forward this season, which means he will see plenty of playing time. The Magic coaching staff will be evaluating Harkless closely, as the franchise will have to decide whether or not the St. Joe's product is the small forward of the future.
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