Denton: Magic to Assess Summer League Roster Soon
By John Denton
April 5, 2014
ORLANDO – Orlando Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said a decision has yet to be made about which players will compete on the team’s summer league squad, but he isn’t opposed to having standout rookie Victor Oladipo be a part of it because of the positive benefits.
The Magic will once again play host to the Orlando Pro Summer League in July. Orlando should have another top-six selection in the June draft and it also owns another first-round pick that will likely come in between 11 and 15.
Usually, the Summer League is for rookies trying to make the transition to the NBA and for unsigned players to make an impression to NBA teams. The Magic had a loaded roster of NBA players last summer with young players Maurice Harkless, Kyle O’Quinn, Andrew Nicholson and Oladipo.
While Orlando’s second-year players aren’t likely to play in the summer league, Oladipo is a candidate as he works to further his point guard skills over the summer. Dewyane Dedmon, whom the Magic retained for the rest of the season after signing him out of the Developmental League is also a strong possibility for the Summer League.
``That’s something that (GM) Rob and I will sit down and talk about,’’ Vaughn said. ``I think the summer league is good and it’s a good environment to have your teammates around to get some work in. It’s a good thing. I really am a fan of the summer league, especially with it being at our place.’’
AFFLALO AGROUND: In the first three months of the season, Arron Afflalo was arguably the most efficient shooting guard in the league and he made a strong push to make his first all-star team with some solid play.
Bu the combination of a midseason ankle injury, an illness and the Magic’s losing ways has played a role in Afflalo falling off the pace over the past two months.
In the 50 games prior to the NBA All-Star Game, Afflalo averaged 19.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists – all career-best numbers. But in the 17 games since the break, Afflalo has seen his averages dip to 16.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Afflalo also shot 46.3 percent from the floor in the first half of the season, but he’s since seen that figure drop to 42.8 percent after the break.
Afflalo’s games Wednesday against Cleveland (3 of 10, 7 points) and Friday against Charlotte (2 of 10, 8 points) were emblematic of his struggles of late.
NO NIK AGAIN: As expected, the Magic held out center Nikola Vucevic on Saturday night because of lingering soreness in his left Achilles’ tendon. Vucevic was scratched from Friday’s game just minutes before tipoff when he experienced pain in the back of his ankle all throughout Friday and was unable to get loose before the game.
Vucevic has now missed 20 games with ankle, Achilles’ and concussion injuries. Before Saturday night’s game against Minnesota, Orlando was 2-17 in games without their 7-footer at center.
Vucevic’s injury opened up an opportunity for Dedmon, who made the first start of his NBA career on Saturday. Dedmon, who has played for three NBA teams this season, was retained by the Magic for the season following two 10-day contracts.
``It’s good to see the growth that he’s had from being here and understanding what we’re trying to do defensively,’’ Vaughn said of Dedmon. ``I was talking to some coaches the other day and we were saying how he does a lot of things that go unnoticed on the stat sheet. Whether it’s him going after an offensive rebound and two guys have to box him out and we get the possession. I like his ability to have energy and effort on every play. He’ll eventually have more discipline, whether it’s staying down on an Al Jefferson pump fake, but that comes with time in the league and playing. I’m interested to see how he looks starting a game tonight and how he looks.’’