Denton: McRoberts is Mr. Versatile (Part 2)
`We can be in a lot of games and have ourselves in a position to win those games, but when we get there (late in the fourth) quarter, what do we do?’’ Vaughn said. ``Did we get there because we kept guys off the offensive boards? Did we get there because we didn’t turn it over? Did we get there and have great execution down the stretch? I think (Sunday’s game) showed us some things where we can position ourselves to win and we’ll see what happens now when the game is on the line.’’
McRoberts did his part to keep the Magic close against the Celtics, contributing a career-best 14 rebounds. Five of those boards came on the offensive end of the floor, giving the Magic extra possessions. The 14 rebounds were twice as many as his previous highs – he had seven boards against Denver and Phoenix – this season with the Magic.
Despite giving away several inches in height and weight to the likes of Garnett (7-foot), Jared Sullinger (260 pounds) and Brandon Bass (250 pounds), McRoberts fought hard inside to hold his own. And his final stat line spoke volumes about his versatile style and his ability to contribute in a variety of ways: seven points, three blocked shots, two assists and a 3-pointer.
``We have to rebound the ball better even though we’re not the biggest guys out there. At some points, we had myself and Andrew (Nicholson) out there and myself and Glen (Davis) out there and we’re not the biggest frontline,’’ McRoberts said. ``We need everybody to get in there and chip in on the glass. And I missed three or four tip-ins right at the rim where it just rolled out because I didn’t have a good touch on it.’’
Magic point guard Jameer Nelson affectionately calls McRoberts ``slash,’’ because his position with the team is power forward-slash-small forward. Nelson said that players such as McRoberts are invaluable to a team because they are willing to sacrifice and help out wherever needed.
``At any given time, he can be playing any position for us and be that utility guy that we need,’’ Nelson said. ``He’s done a great job of playing that role and not getting discouraged because he’s not playing his natural position or getting the same looks that he’s used to getting. He’s having to shoot threes sometimes because that’s the position he’s playing. It’s probably tougher to do than we think, but he’s done a good job.’’
McRoberts, a sixth-year pro, has been able to use his versatility to carve out his niche in the NBA. He said he doesn’t look at himself so much as a small forward or a power forward, but instead as a basketball player who can do a lot of things well. ``I think I can play three spots on both ends and that’s something that I try to hang my hat on. I try to be a versatile player,’’ said McRoberts, who is averaging 4.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists while shooting 49 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point range. ``I take pride in the fact that I think I know the game pretty well. I’m a basketball player more than a power forward, a center or a small forward. You can put me out there and I kind of know what I’m doing at any spot. That’s something I’ve taken pride in since I first started playing basketball to now.’’
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.
Follow John Denton on Twitter here