Orlando Magic: Justin Harper and the Top Magic Players Yet to Make Their Mark
It's safe to say that Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy will never feel comfortable inserting young unproven players into his seven or eight man rotation, but with guys like rookie Justin Harper floating around, he may need to change his ways in 2011.
The Magic have an interesting core of young players heading into the 2011 season who have yet to make their mark on the Orlando Magic—or the NBA for that matter, but these players could make their presence felt during the 2011-2012 season.
Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith used Orlando's first round pick (No. 22 overall) in the 2010 NBA Draft on Kentucky center Daniel Orton.
Orton was drafted as a bit of a project and never played a minute during his rookie season. Orton had some knee issues, but I suspect that Magic coaches just didn't feel Orton was ready for game action just yet.
That could all change next season as the Magic are desperate too add some size to their front line, so the 6''11' 255 pound Orton could finally have his name called in 2012.
I had the pleasure of talking with Orton at a recent Orlando Magic event and to say he's ready to get some playing time and showcase his skills too Magic fans is an understatement.
The Magic used their second round pick of the 2011 NBA Draft on Kentucky wing-man DeAndre Liggins. Liggins is seen as a defensive specialist who brings much needed toughness to the Orlando Magic roster.
Liggins has his shortcomings on the offensive side of the ball, but the Magic are lacking perimeter defenders, and when the Miami Heat are in your division—perimeter defense is a must.
It's tough to gauge how Liggins will fit in with the Magic.
Sure, they need his defense— but if he is an offensive liability, I don't see Stan giving him any minutes.
Best case scenario for DeAndre Liggins is to continue working on his outside shooting, especially his three point shooting (39 percent in college) to give him a better chance at cracking Stan Van Gundy's often stubborn rotations.
If Liggins can be a respectable outside shooter, mixed in with his ability to guard opposing wing players—Liggins will have value as a rookie.
The third year forward from Louisville showed great promise last year in limited action with the Magic.
When you mix Clark's great size (6''10' 225 pounds) with his sheer athleticism, he's truly an impressive prospect that must be utilized more in 2012.
Earl Clark has a nice touch on his mid-range jumper, while he also possesses the ability to take opposing defenders to the rim. Clark also is a solid source for rebounds and blocked shots, and he can guard opposing teams guards or forwards, making him a versatile defender.
I truly believe Earl Clark will be a force in the NBA sooner than later. It's up to Stan Van Gundy to give Earl the minutes too be successful.
I couldn't have been happier when the Magic traded two future second round picks to Cleveland in return for the 32nd player taken in the 2011 NBA Draft, Justin Harper.
When watching film of Justin Harper, Magic fans will immediately think of ex-Magic star Rashard Lewis.
Justin Harper has a similar offensive game, which centers around knocking down shots from the three point line (45 percent in college)—so he should flourish in Stan Van Gundy's offensive system that centers around outside shooting.
Harper was a fourth year senior last year for the Richmond Spiders, so he is NBA ready, and should see big-time minutes behind Hedo Turkoglu from day one.