Denton: Examining the Magic's Point Guards
By John Denton
August 19, 2013
ORLANDO – With the start of training camp slightly more than six weeks away, it’s time to start breaking down the Orlando Magic’s roster for the upcoming season.
The Magic are loaded with a dynamic mix of veterans (Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo, Glen ``Big Baby’’ Davis, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Maxiell), a promising young, returning core (Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless and Andrew Nicholson) and a prized rookie (Victor Oladipo). Though likely to be in another developmental season, the Magic feature the kind of rapidly improving talent base that have many experts feeling that Orlando will make major steps this season.
It will be interesting to see how second-year head coach Jacque Vaughn uses his wide-ranging personnel as he mixes and matches lineups throughout the upcoming season. Will he use Oladipo, the second overall pick in last June’s NBA Draft, as a point guard, shooting guard or both? Will Tobias Harris, a revelation late last season after arriving in Orlando, continue to play power forward or switch back to small forward? Will the addition of Jason Maxiell and the healthy return of Davis make the Magic a better defensive team? And will Vucevic, one of the NBA’s top rebounders last season, evolve into a go-to scorer in the post this season following a summer of arduous work to improve his game?
In time, all of those questions will be answered. For now, all we can do is look ahead to the Magic’s bright future and count down the days until the Oct. 1 start of training camp.
To pass the time, OrlandoMagic.com will break down each position on the Magic roster over the coming weeks to assess the strengths and weaknesses and burning questions at each spot on the floor.
Without further ado, today we take a look at the point guard position:
KEY QUESTION: Can Oladipo limit the turnovers, knock down open shots and get into the lane to create for others as a point guard for the Magic?
ANALYSIS: Considered Orlando’s best leader for years, Nelson will be in the role now of mentoring and helping Oladipo become a well-rounded player. Oladipo will play some at shooting guard and some at point guard, meaning that Afflalo and Nelson will likely retain their starting jobs for this season. Nelson showed last season that he still has plenty left in the tank, but he must find a way to remain healthy the entire season. In many ways, the education and development of Oladipo will be priority No. 1 this season for the Magic. He has the drive to be better, the work ethic and the talent – factors that should ensure him of steady growth. Assuredly, the Magic will ease him into the point guard position so as to not overwhelm the rookie. Moore can also play both guard slots and when staying aggressive he is a valuable piece for the Magic. But if he slumps like he did last season he could be shuffled out of the mix on a young team that is getting better. Price is a break-glass-if-necessary option at point guard and it will be interesting to watch him work with Oladipo.
FINAL THOUGHT: Point guard is arguably the NBA’s deepest and most dynamic position what with Tony Parker, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Steph Curry, Rajon Rondo, Mike Conley, Deron Williams, John Wall, Damian Lillard, Ricky Rubio and Steve Nash manning the position. The Magic should be competitive at the point with the gritty Nelson and a blossoming Oladipo. Also, give the Magic front office credit for thinking outside the box by taking Oladipo, a cat-quick and rangy college shooting guard, and turning him into a ball-hawking point guard in the NBA.
Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
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