Denton: Examining the Magic's Shooting Guards

By John Denton
August 26, 2013

ORLANDO – With the start of training camp slightly more than five 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, 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:


  • Arron Afflalo (6-5, 215, six NBA seasons): The mild-mannered Afflalo embraced being in Orlando last season, morphing into a team leader on and off the floor. He led the Magic in scoring 24 times and scored at least 20 points 19 times. He twice scored 30 points – both of them coming in his hometown of Los Angeles against the Lakers and Clippers. Incredibly, Afflalo has raised his scoring average all six seasons in the NBA. His season ended in late March because of a hamstring tear, but he should be full go by training camp.

  • Victor Oladipo (6-4, 215, NBA rookie): The No. 2 overall pick in the June NBA Draft was a standout shooting guard in college, but he will split his time next season between the point guard and shooting guard positions. Oladipo showed off a nice shooting stroke in the summer league, burying several 3-pointers with confidence. He even won a summer league game with a last-second jumper by taking the defender off the dribble and pulling up for a deep shot. He’ll need that stroke next season as teams will obviously dare him to make shots from the outside. Oladipo’s best attribute could be the way he defends elite wing players. His quick feet and long arms should help him make up for what he lacks in sheer size.
  • Doron Lamb (6-4, 210, one NBA season): The Magic acquired Lamb in February from Milwaukee, and while some initially thought he might have just been a throw-in in the trade centered around Tobias Harris, the guard quickly showed his promise. He had 16 points and four 3-pointers against the Bucks in April and shot 47.6 percent from beyond the 3-point stripe in 24 games with the Magic. He was one of Orlando’s hardest workers in the offseason, and he played well in the summer league before injuring his ankle. Because of his ability to hit 3-pointers, Lamb could help the Magic stretch out defenses this season.
  • KEY QUESTION: With veteran point guard Jameer Nelson, Afflalo and Oladipo being three of the Magic’s players, will there be a way to consistently get all three of them on the floor together?

    ANALYSIS: The Magic are in good shape at the shooting guard slot by having Oladipo to play behind or even with Afflalo. Afflalo is a big part of the foundation in Orlando because of his high character, leadership skills and talent on the court. He proved last season that he can carry a team offensively, and he hopes to expand upon that this season. Oladipo is going to play plenty, both at point guard and shooting guard, and his development is one of the top priorities of the season. It will be interesting to watch him hound some of the league’s best wing players with his relentless hustle and defensive grit. Lamb also figures into the equation because of his ability to shoot from distance. If he can defend and not turn the ball over, his shooting figures to give him a chance to play.

    FINAL THOUGHT: Developing Oladipo is the most important facet of this season, so the Magic will play him big minutes at both point guard and shooting guard. Some wonder if he will eventually overtake Afflalo, making the veteran shooting guard expendable. For now though, the Magic seem to be well-equipped at the shooting guard position with a veteran in Afflalo, a budding standout in Oladipo and a 3-point sharp-shooter in Lamb.

    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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