Cohen: Magic's Two Draft Additions
By Josh Cohen
June 23, 2011
JUSTIN HARPER (32ND PICK)
While it may not be viewed as a blockbuster trade of any kind nor will it make the national sports headlines, the Orlando Magic believe they acquired a talent with outstanding upside on Thursday.
Richmond’s Justin Harper, originally chosen by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 32nd overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, was redirected to Orlando following a relatively marginal deal that will give the Cavs two future second round selections.
Often compared to former Magic star Rashard Lewis because of his length and exceptional ability to shoot from 3-point distance, the 6’10, 225-pound power forward will hope to land a roster spot that currently features Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson at that position. The Richmond, VA native, however, is capable of sliding over to the small forward spot as well.
In his senior year, Harper averaged 17.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game while guiding Richmond to the Sweet 16 of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. He enjoyed a phenomenal performance in the Spiders’ second round victory against Morehead State when he erupted for 19 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor.
With an assortment of accolades from his tremendous collegiate career, including finishing with the fifth most 3-pointers made in the school’s history (1.457), Harper will hope to bring his experience, winning attitude and distinctive skills to the professional level.
DeANDRE LIGGINS (53RD PICK)
If you are a fan of relentlessness, ruggedness and defensive focus, DeAndre Liggins is the kind of player that you can appreciate.
After leaving the University of Kentucky following his junior year, the 6’6 shooting guard may be the kind of addition Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy will smile about.
Though he doesn’t excel on the offensive end, Liggins is always committed to guarding the opposing team’s premier wing players. During the 2011 NCAA Tournament, in which he helped Kentucky advance to the Final Four, the Chicago, IL native contributed to limiting some of the foremost stars on opposing teams.
A teammate of Daniel Orton, Orlando’s First Round pick in 2010, at Kentucky for one season, Liggins was one of four players from the prestigious university to be chosen in this year’s draft (Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight and Josh Harrellson the others)
Especially with Jason Richardson about to be an unrestricted free agent and with J.J. Redick still recovering from surgery he recently had on his injured lower abdominal muscle, it’s possible that Liggins could be called upon to help Orlando immediately.
While it is rare for second round choices to have an instant impact, let alone earn a full season contract, this could prove to be the best situation for Liggins.
Which player do you think has a greater chance of making the Magic's roster next season?