Magic Prepare For Start Of Summer League

Khem Birch
by John Denton

ORLANDO – Jonathan Isaac, Mohamed Bamba, Khem Birch, Wes Iwundu, Rodney Purvis and Melvin Frazier Jr. highlight the Orlando Magic’s Summer League roster, but there is also plenty of intrigue surrounding the addition of highly touted point guard Isaiah Briscoe.

When the Magic opted for the size and potential of Bamba and Frazier Jr. in last week’s NBA Draft and released veteran Shelvin Mack on Monday, it left them with only one point guard on the roster. Undoubtedly, the Magic will look at address that positional need during the free-agent period, which opens on July 1. Players and teams can come to agreements starting July 1, but contracts can’t become official until July 6.

Briscoe, 22, will be looking to make the Magic roster after an impressive professional season playing in Russia where he averaged 18.5 points, 4.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals. In February, he scored 50 points and earned MVP honors of the Estonia/Latvia All-Star Game.

Isaac and Bamba, the No. 6 picks in each of the past two NBA Drafts, will get their first chance to play together when the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League tips off on July 6 from Las Vegas. The Magic’s summer squad will begin practice on July 3 and drill six times prior to facing the Brooklyn Nets on July 6.

Orlando will play a minimum of five games and could play as many as eight if it advances through the tournament portion of the league. The Magic are also scheduled to play the Memphis Grizzlies (Nov. 8) and Phoenix Suns (Nov. 9), meaning the 7-foot-1 Bamba will potentially be facing off against Jaren Jackson Jr. (the No. 4 pick) and Deandre Ayton (the No. 1 pick) in summer league action.

Isaac was limited to just 27 games as a rookie because of injuries, but he showed flashes of greatness with his defensive instincts, shot-blocking skills and improved shooting. He was worked diligently this summer to improve his body and his game and the Summer League will give him a first chance to show off his improvement.

Iwundu and Birch appeared in 62 and 42 games, respectively, for the Magic last season. Birch showed tremendous potential as a shot-blocking center and a dynamic roller to the rim, while Iwundu thrived as a wing defender. Both must improve their outside shooting to carve out bigger spots in the Magic rotation going forward.

Briscoe, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound point guard, was a Parade and McDonald’s All-American while playing at Roselle Catholic (N.J.) High School. At Kentucky, he averaged 12.1 points, 4.2 assists and 5.4 rebounds as a sophomore, leading him to declare himself eligible for the NBA Draft. However, he went undrafted and was unable to stick with the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers following stints on their summer league and preseason rosters.

Biscoe comes from a family of basketball players and his cousin in Boston Celtics’ star point guard Kyrie Irving.

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.

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