Denton: Breakdown of Magic Roster

By John Denton
October 2, 2012

ORLANDO -- With the Orlando Magic opening training camp Tuesday morning at the Amway Center, orlandomagic.com staff writer John Denton breaks down each player on the roster and offers up an outlook for the upcoming season.

The Magic will practice twice a day Tuesday through Thursday and once on Friday before leaving for Mexico City. The Magic open the preseason Sunday at 2:30 p.m. against the New Orleans Hornets in Mexico City.

Orlando plays its first home preseason game on Oct. 11 against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Magic open the regular season on Nov. 2 at the Amway Center against the Denver Nuggets.

Now, onto Denton’s breakdown of the Magic roster:

POINT GUARDS



14 JAMEER NELSON
(6-0, 190, ninth season) … 2011-12 statistics: 11.9 ppg., 3.2 rpg., 5.7 apg.
2012-13 OUTLOOK: Nelson is the longest-tenured Magic player and the unquestioned leader in the locker room. He signed a three-year contract with the Magic in the offseason and will continue to be the team captain. The Magic need him remain aggressive and in attack mode this season and his scoring opportunities could increase. He’ll have the ball in his hands late in games and at the end of shot clocks and will likely be the one to take big shots for the team.

10 ISH SMITH
(6-0, 175, third season) … 2011-12 statistics: 2.8 ppg., 1.3 rpg., 1.6 apg.
2012-13 OUTLOOK: Smith won’t be ready for action until mid-November after dislocating his shoulder and tearing his labrum this summer. Smith became a fan favorite last season after being picked up by the Magic mid-season because of his hustle and fearlessness. The big question mark revolves around his ability to knock down jump shots when opposing teams help off of him. Smith has worked hard to become a more consistent jump shooter and on floaters in the lane.

55 E’TWAUN MOORE
(6-4, 191, second season) 2011-12 statistics: 2.9 ppg., 0.9 rpg., 0.9 apg.
2012-13 OUTLOOK: The Magic are especially high on Moore because of his size, defensive prowess and shooting abilities. He had the finest game of his professional career in Orlando last season while playing for the Celtics. He hit four 3-pointers in the second half to key a Boston comeback from a 27-point deficit. Moore will be given every shot to be the primary backup behind Nelson, a position that has been a concern each of the past few seasons. Moore will need to prove that he can be a playmaker for others to lock up the job.

SHOOTING GUARDS



4 ARRON AFFLALO
(6-5, 215, sixth season) … 2011-12 statistics: 15.2 ppg., 3.2 rpg., 2.4 apg.
2012-13 OUTLOOK: Afflalo’s game has grown each of his five seasons in the NBA and he could be on the cusp of stardom in Orlando now that he is the go-to scorer for the team. Afflalo’s scoring average has risen each of the past five seasons and it could climb even hirer this year in Orlando. The Magic coaching staff already loves Afflalo’s willingness to run the floor and attack the basket. His ability to create shots for himself will be tested this season, but he’s a heady player who can find different ways to score. And defensively he is an ace on the perimeter with his length, toughness and high basketball IQ. The Magic will likely need the mild-mannered Afflalo to become a leader, so that could be an adjustment for him.

7 J.J. REDICK
(6-4, 190, seventh season) 2011-12 statistics: 11.6 ppg., 2.3 rpg., 2.5 apg.
2012-13 OUTLOOK: Redick is back with the Magic after the team picked up his option in July and the squad is looking for a big season out of the shooting guard. Redick became the Magic’s most explosive bench player and one of its most consistent players last season. He’ll likely continue to play in a reserve role this season while sharing minutes with Afflalo. But Redick’s ability to score and set up others with his underrated passing abilities will allow him to finish games this season. Redick is also in the final year of his contract and he’d like to remain in Orlando, so he will undoubtedly be looking for opportunities to post bug numbers. Redick is in great shape and is poised to make a run at the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award.

1 ARMON JOHNSON
(6-3, 195, third season) … 2011-12 statistics: 5.2 ppg., 1.4 rpg., 1.2 apg.
2012-13 OUTLOOK: Johnson was signed on Sunday to compete for a roster spot in training camp. He split time with the Portland Trail Blazers and the New Jersey Nets last season, playing in nine games. The lefthander is long and athletic with a nice shot. He will have to make the most of his time in practice because playing time in exhibition games will likely be scarce. With a non-guaranteed contract, Johnson is a longshot to make the roster.

SMALL FORWARDS



15 HEDO TURKOGLU
(6-10, 220, 13th season) … 2011-12 statistics: 10.9 ppg., 3.8 rpg., 4.4 apg.
2012-13 OUTLOOK: Turkoglu worried much of last season that he would be included in any Dwight Howard trade, the veteran small forward can ne breathe easy that he’s still in Orlando. He struggled with injuries and the compressed schedule last season. He did make a gutsy return for the playoffs after fracturing several bones in his face and needing surgery. Turkoglu was a reserve early in his career in Sacramento and San Antonio, but has been a starter throughout his time in Orlando. Could this be the year that Turkoglu is moved back into a reserve role to conserve his energy and maximize his do-everything skills off the bench? If the Magic are going to remain in the playoff hunt this season they need Turkoglu to remain healthy and productive all year.

3 AL HARRINGTON
(6-9, 245, 15th season) … 2011-12 statistics: 14.2 ppg., 6.1 rpg., 1.4 apg.
2012-13 OUTLOOK: The veteran small forward received a scare earlier in the summer when a routine arthroscopic surgery on his knee ended up with a nasty staph infection. Harrington ultimately needed three more procedures to clean out the infection and that will result in him likely not playing until mid-December. When healthy, Harrington still packs quite a punch offensively and can put up numbers in bunches. Even at 32 years old, he was one of the go-to scorers and top rebounders last season in Denver. It will be interesting to see if he is used as a reserve off the bench or if he will ultimately replace Turkoglu in the starting lineup.

5 QUENTIN RICHARDSON
(6-6, 228, 13th season) … 2011-12 statistics: 4.5 ppg., 2.6 rpg., 0.8 apg.
2012-13 OUTLOOK: Richardson no longer has to worry about the swirling trade rumors that surrounded him last season. He is back in Orlando because of his gritty toughness on the court and his veteran voice in the locker room. Because he is one of the Magic’s most experienced players and one who backs down from no one, Richardson commands respect in the locker room. His guidance will be key in the development of rookie Maurice Harkless later in the year.


21 MAURICE HARKLESS
(6-8, 210, first season) ... 2011-12 statistics: NBA ROOKIE
2012-13 OUTLOOK: The Magic acquired the athletic swingman from the 76ers in the four-team, 12-player trade in early August. Harkless said that he was told by Orlando officials that if hadn’t be drafted by the Sixers that the Magic were going to draft him. But the Magic will have to wait for Harkless to show what he can do on the court because of a sports hernia that required surgery. He suffered the injury in pre-draft workouts and the Magic are confident that he will make a full recovery. Once back, Harkless should push for a spot in the rotation because of his dazzling athleticism and his basketball smarts.

8 CHRISTIAN EYENGA
(6-5, 210, third season) … 2011-12 statistics: 8.0 ppg., 2.0 rpg., 1 game
2012-13 OUTLOOK: Eyenga has spent the past two seasons with the Cavaliers and the Lakers, but he has played only sparingly. Scouts like his rangy size, athleticism and shooting ability, but he is still very much a raw player who needs polishing. He has already endeared himself with his Magic teammates with his light-hearted nature and playful attitude. But he’s likely in a fight for his NBA life this training camp and he will need to play well to earn a roster spot.

20 DEQUAN JONES
(6-8, 221, first season) … 2011-12 statistics: NBA ROOKIE
2012-13 OUTLOOK: The University of Miami product earned an invite to training camp with his stellar play in the Orlando Pro Summer League. He has off-the-charts athleticism and he drew several oohs and ahhs during the summer league with his thunderous dunks. He also has great size and strength, making his a potential force defensively and on the glass from the wing. But to make the roster he must prove that he can knock down open shots and handle the ball without turning it over.

POWER FORWARDS



11 GLEN DAVIS
(6-9, 289, sixth season) … 2011-12 statistics: 9.3 ppg., 5.4 rpg., 0.8 apg.
2012-13 OUTLOOK: Davis has his first real shot at becoming a full-time starter in the NBA and he’s put in the work this summer to make sure that he’s a success at that venture. After struggling mightily with the Magic early last season when he was beaten out as a starter by Ryan Anderson, Davis flourished at the end of the season after Howard went down injured. He carried the Magic for long stretches in the playoffs, averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds a game. All season, he seemed to play significantly better as a center than a power forward, so it will be interesting to see where his future position is with the Magic. Davis is better when he’s using his strength to back down foes as opposed to trying to consistently hit 15 footers from the perimeter. Like with Turkoglu, the Magic need Davis to keep his cool, stay healthy and be a productive player on the floor to make a playoff run.

17 JOSH MCROBERTS
(6-10, 240, sixth season) … 2011-12 statistics: 2.8 ppg., 3.4 rpg., 1.0 apg.
2012-13 OUTLOOK: McRoberts has bounced around the NBA in recent years, playing in Indiana and with the Lakers. But he’s hoping that he’s finally found a home in Orlando. His transition to the Magic has been eased somewhat because of his friendship with Redick, his former college teammate at Duke University. McRoberts has survived in the NBA because of his athleticism and he recently won the Magic’s award for having the best vertical leap on the team. He is a smart veteran player who knows how to bang on the inside and he’ll be a valuable piece for the Magic to bring off the bench for defense in the low post.

44 ANDREW NICHOLSON
(6-9, 250, first season) … 2011-12 statistics: NBA ROOKIE
2012-13 OUTLOOK: Nicholson, who was selected No. 19 in the June draft, enters his first NBA training camp with high expectations. A late bloomer after not starting to play basketball until he was a junior in high school, Nicholson got better each year of college and showed great promise in the NBA summer league. He has deceptive athleticism, stellar footwork and long arms, allowing him to score in the post against bigger defenders. Standing up to the physical nature of the NBA game will be a test for Nicholson, who worked hard this summer to try and add weight and strength. Picking up the playbook shouldn’t be a problem for the former physics major in college.

32 JUSTIN HARPER
(6-9, 225, second season) … 2011-12 statistics: 1.4 ppg. 0.9 rpg., 14 games
2012-13 OUTLOOK: Harper didn’t have much of a chance to compete for a roster spot last season after not being able to play in summer league or work out with the team before the season because of the lockout. But Harper, a former second-round pick, now is in a fight for a roster spot. He has worked hard to add weight and muscle so that he has the strength to guard power forwards. He is also an asset to the Magic because of his ability to shoot from 3-point range. Former Magic players Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson are the only two forwards in NBA history to lead the league in 3-pointers made in a season. Naturally, Harper is hoping to follow in their legacies.

CENTERS



9 NIKOLA VUCEVIC
(7-0, 240, second season) … 2011-12 statistics: 5.5 ppg., 4.8 rpg., 0.6 apg.
2012-13 OUTLOOK: Vucevic described himself as the ``opposite’’ of Howard, meaning he blow anyone away with his athleticism of strength. However, he is still a highly skilled big man with a nice shooting touch from mid-range, great size and a solid rebounding prowess. He spent three years at USC in college and was the 16th overall pick by the Sixers in 2011. He played 51 games last season as a rookie and was one of head coach Doug Collins’ favorites because of his toughness and basketball smarts. Because he prefers facing the basket, he could start at center, but play more of a power forward offensively. That would give Glen Davis the freedom to post up inside.

19 GUSTAVO AYON
(6-10, 250, second season) … 2011-12 statistics: 5.9 ppg., 4.9 rpg., 1.4 apg.
2012-13 OUTLOOK: Ayon, nicknamed ``Goose’’ by his Magic teammates, was impressive in his first NBA season last year in New Orleans, becoming a fixture of Monty Williams’ rotation. Ayon was acquired in the Ryan Anderson sign-and-trade deal in July. He is an experienced player who does a lot of things well and should see time this season as a center and a power forward. Magic coaches have already been impressed with his ability to run the floor and do the little things that don’t always show up in a box score.

2 KYLE O’QUINN
(6-10, 240, first season) … 2011-12 statistics: NBA ROOKIE
2012-13 OUTLOOK: O’Quinn earned a contract with some stellar play in the Magic summer league. As a second round draft pick, O’Quinn came to the summer league with no contractual assurances. But his willingness to defend in the post and ability to knock down short jumpers earned him a spot on the roster. He is very intelligent, a great communicator and has a willingness to learn, so he should be a quick learner in his first training camp. O’Quinn still needs to add muscle and size so that he can better match up against some of the bigger centers in the game, but he can make up for what he lacks in size with his hustle and heart.

John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. John has covered the Magic since 1997. E-mail John at jdenton@orlandomagic.com or follow him on Twitter at @JohnDenton555.

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