Wayns Excels at Summer League
By John Denton
July 11, 2012
ORLANDO – Deflated on draft night when he surprisingly never heard his name called, Orlando Magic point guard Maalik Wayns has apparently played his way onto a NBA roster following three solid performances in the AirTran Airways Orlando Pro Summer League.
That’s not just some whimsical wish of Wayns, who will leave the Magic on good terms and head to Las Vegas on Thursday to play for Golden State’s summer league team. It’s none other than Magic coach and former all-star point guard Mark Price who is endorsing the 6-foot-1 Villanova product as a NBA-ready player.
``I think he’s done nothing but helped himself – not only for (the Magic), but in a lot of people’s eyes because he’s going somewhere else to play,’’ Price said of Wayns. ``I think he’s played himself into getting a NBA job. I really like him a lot because he has a great heart and a great motor.’’
Wayns, an unrestricted free agent with no ties to any NBA team after going undrafted in June, strengthened his shot of getting invited to a training camp by once again playing under control and playing well on Wednesday. He scored 16 points and handed out four assists in Orlando’s 79-75 loss to Utah in third-day action of the summer league action at the Amway Center.
``I think I’ve shown that I belong,’’ Wayns said confidently. ``A lot of people come in here undrafted and a lot of people were down on me after our season, but I feel I’m as good as any guard here who was drafted ahead of me. I feel like I’ve got something to prove and every day I’m going out there with a chip on my shoulder.’’
Price pulled most of his starters minutes into Wednesday because he felt fatigue was a factor for the Magic (1-2) playing their third game in as many days. First-round draft pick Andrew Nicholson had 16 points in just 16 minutes primarily by getting to the free throw line eight times. Second-round pick Kyle O’Quinn, a standout each of the first two days, had some trouble with Utah’s Enes Kanter (12 points, 12 rebounds) and did not score in 11 minutes.
Price plans to push the rookies several more minutes on Thursday when the Magic face the Philadelphia 76ers at 5 p.m. But Orlando will be without Wayns, who decided before the summer league to split his time with the Magic and the Warriors in hopes of showcasing his game in front of scouts for all 30 NBA teams.
In three games with the Magic, Wayns averaged 11.6 points and 5.6 assists while also making 12 of his 25 shots. He has shown an explosiveness off the dribble and has alternately looked to score and set up others with his penetration.
Wayns’ stock dropped during his junior season at Villanova when the Wildcats slumped badly. He still averaged 17.6 points and 4.6 assists, but he wasn’t invited to the NBA Combine in Chicago. And when he wasn’t selected on Draft night, Wayns’ inner fire just intensified even more so.
``It was really tough watching guys that I played against or had success against (getting drafted),’’ said Wayns, who has played summer ball with Magic starting point guard Jameer Nelson each of the past three years in Philadelphia. ``Being a McDonald’s All-American out of high school and highly rated and All-Big East, it was tough (not getting selected). But I’ve handled it all.’’
Wayns said he could have easily allowed the draft snub to derail his NBA dreams, but it only served to focus him even more. He has played with an intensity throughout the Magic’s practices and summer league games and impressed the likes of Price and others in the Magic organization. He’s confident that he’s played well enough to get an invite to a NBA training camp in October.
``I come from the bottom and was undrafted and a lot of people are doubting me. When you have success out here people can see that you can play against those (drafted) guys,’’ he said. ``I’m just trying to prove myself and play with a chip on my shoulder every day. I’m trying to be the hardest-playing guy on the court every day. I can’t worry about what’s going to happen because if I do my job everything else will take care of itself.’’
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