Here’s What Jordan Bone Can Bring to the Orlando Magic

Magic signed Bone to a two-way contract on Friday
by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO - Having Derrick Rose as a teammate last season with the Detroit Pistons was really beneficial for Jordan Bone, who will be one of the Orlando Magic’s two-way contract players this season.

The reason for that is Bone, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound point guard, has a Rose-like game, although obviously it’s not nearly as sharp or refined, particularly when comparing it to when the former NBA MVP was in his prime before all the injuries.

Bone is a blur in the open floor. At the 2019 NBA Draft Combine, which came a few weeks before the Pistons made him the 57th overall pick, the Nashville native posted the fastest times in the ¾ court sprint (3.03 seconds), the lane agility drill (9.97 seconds) and the shuttle run (2.78 seconds).

Also a high riser, although he generally plays below the rim during game action, Bone recorded the best vertical no-step jump (36 inches) and came in second in the max vertical jump (42.5 inches).

Beating defenders off the dribble comes naturally for the recently-turned 23-year-old, who played three years at the University of Tennessee, where he averaged 13.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists in his final college season. In the G League last season, which is where he spent most of his rookie NBA campaign, he did a fantastic job attacking closeouts.

Catching defenders napping is his forte. As soon as he recognizes that a defender is not in a correct stance, he will look to explode into the paint using his lightning quick first step. Super shifty and creative when he sneaks inside, Bone will sometimes drop in some acrobatic shots, which was a Rose specialty several years ago. Sometimes those attempts are unwarranted, though, and get blocked by prowling rim protectors.

Operating out of pick-and-roll is something he seemed to get better at as last season evolved. He generally does a solid job creating space for a pull-up jumper when he dribbles around a screen, although he didn’t shoot a great percentage on his mid-range shots. From 10 to 14 feet away, for example, he drilled just 36.6 percent of his tries with the Grand Rapids Drive. However, he was very comfortable from 15 to 19 out, where he connected on 57.5 percent of his attempts.

To really take his game to the next level, though, Bone is going to have a do a better job finishing at the basket. He only made 51.6 percent of his shots from within five feet, which was the worst mark for Grand Rapids last season.

Although he shot 38.3 percent from 3-point range with the Drive, long-distance shooting is still an area Bone needs to improve in. In his 10 appearances with the Pistons, he knocked down just two of his 10 3-point attempts.

Length is always going to be an issue for the speedster. His wingspan is the same as his height. He’s a one-positional defender, which in today’s NBA is a major disadvantage. However, he is a good point-of-attack defender and because of his speed he can cover a lot of ground in little time.

With very good vision and instincts, playmaking is a strength of his. He made solid reads out of the pick-and-roll last season, finding open shooters on the perimeter or slashers cutting to the hoop.

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