Steele: Magic Bring in Youthful PG

Sun Sports and FS Florida broadcaster David Steele is in the midst of his 22nd season of Orlando Magic basketball, and his 13th as the play-by-play announcer for the team's television broadcasts. He was named television play-by-play voice for the Orlando Magic in March of 1998 after handling radio play-by-play duties for the team's first nine seasons. Steele shares his unique take on what's happening with the Orlando Magic and more with his newest blog.

Posted by David Steele, Thursday, February 2, 2012, 2:30 PM

Magic Bring in Youthful PG

In an NBA universe of Blake Griffin, “poster dunks”, and age-defying, 30-point, 10-assist performances by 38 year old Steve Nash, the Orlando Magic’s signing of a back up point guard may not seem very significant. But for the Magic, the arrival of Ish Smith couldn’t come at a better time.

Anyone who has watched the Magic play this season knows it has not been a banner year for point guards. Starter Jameer Nelson got off to a slow start, suffered a neck injury in late December, delivered a series of uneven performances after returning, and has now missed 3 more games with a concussion.

Backup point guard, Chris Duhon, has struggled against super quick defenders and intense on the ball the pressure.

Number three point guard, Larry Hughes, more suited as a two-guard to begin with, and at age 33, not exactly the friskiest back-court player around, has been released after three consecutive underwhelming efforts in the back-up role.

Enter Ish Smith.

Exactly what the Magic need.

Youthful. Energetic. Lightning quick.

Think Darrell Armstrong, backing up Penny Hardaway in the late 90’s. Penny was a victim of knee injuries. His explosiveness was in decline. The mercurial Armstrong was the perfect compliment off the bench, a pace changer who could up the tempo of him own team offensively, and put 94 foot pressure on the opposing point guard.

A similar role could await Smith.

Solid 4-year collegiate career at Wake Forest. The only player in Demon Deacon history with 1,000 points and 600 assists. Broke Chris Paul’s freshman assist record.

Undrafted in 2010, Smith signed with Houston. Played 28 games for the Rockets, earning three starts. Traded to Memphis with Shane Battier last February, played in 15 more games with the Grizzlies.

This season, Smith was signed by Golden State in December, and played well in 6 games for the Warriors, including an 11 point, 6 rebound, 4 assist, 2 steal performance in a starting role against the Knicks. A game the Warriors won by 14.

In 64 minutes on the court for Golden State, Smith committed just one turnover. His assist to turnover ratio in 49 career NBA games is 2.51, which would rank in the top 15 league-wide, and which is on par with Nelson’s best years in Orlando.

After signing veteran point guard, Nate Robinson, Smith became expendable for Golden State, and now the Magic have snatched him up. It could be a very good fit for both player and team.

Follow David Steele on Twitter here