Vogel on Purvis: "He's Got the Instincts of a Scorer"

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic rewarded shooting guard Rodney Purvis’ consistency – both at the NBA and G League levels – on Wednesday when they signed him to a contract for the remainder of the season.

Purvis, 24, had some additional good news come his way on Wednesday when he earned the first start of his NBA career. Fellow rookie Wes Iwundu, the likely starter, was put on the inactive list on Wednesday because of an illness. Jonathon Simmons (wrist contusion), Jonathan Isaac (foot strain), Evan Fournier (knee sprain) and Terrence Ross (knee sprain) were also out on Wednesday.

Purvis landed a contract for the rest of the season after playing well for the Magic while on two 10-day contracts. His contract with the Magic carries a team option for next season that will most likely require him to make the team out of training camp.

At the conclusion of his second 10-day deal, the Magic had to either release Purvis or sign him for the remainder of the season. That decision was made easy by the fact that the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Purvis averaged 6.3 points in his first seven games with Orlando. The rookie out of the University of Connecticut scored a career-best 19 points on March 22 against Philadelphia to lead the Magic in scoring. In his 13.7 minutes played a game, he’s shot 47.1 percent from the floor and 36.8 percent from 3-point range.

Purvis spent much of this season with the Magic’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, helping it reach the playoffs. In 39 games with Lakeland, Purvis averaged 20.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists a game while recording a 40-point game on Dec. 21 and four games with at least 30 points.

``He’s deserved (the contract) with his play in the G League all season and then with the opportunity that he’s had here, he’s checked a lot of boxes in terms of producing on the floor, being a good culture fit and being well-liked in the locker room,’’ Magic coach Frank Vogel said. ``He’s got the instincts of a scorer. Some guys can shoot the basketball, but don’t have that mindset to go and get 20 points. He has that instinctually, he knows how to find his shot and he hasn’t really forced much since he’s been here. And he’s still been putting up pretty decent numbers while shooting the ball well. So, he’s done some good things.’’

FOURNIER, ROSS LIKELY DONE: Vogel said in recent days that Fournier and Ross are likely done for the season because of the knee injuries that they suffered at different points.

Fournier sprained his left knee on March 7 against the Los Angeles Lakers and hasn’t played since. On the season, he was the Magic’s second-leading scorer at 17.8 points per game over 57 games. Vogel left the proverbial door open for Fournier to still make a return, but he said it’s unlikely for now.

``I think there’s a chance. (The Magic’s medical team) hasn’t closed the door entirely on that, but it’s a longshot,’’ Vogel said.

As for Ross, he suffered a non-displaced fracture of the tibial plateau in his right knee on Nov. 29 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Ross opened the season in the starting lineup but was moved to the bench following a shooting slump and was injured in one of his first games in a reserve role.

Ross was eyeing a March return, but a setback in his recovery ended those hopes.

``I think it’s unlikely that Terrence plays this year,’’ Vogel said. ``The setback that he had a couple of weeks ago (hurt those chances). If we were in a playoff run, he’d probably be a potential (candidate to return) in the last week (of the regular season). But I don’t think he’s done enough or been in game shape or strengthened his lower body enough for there to be enough time left to get back. It’s not 100 percent (that he won’t return), but I’d say it’s unlikely.’’

MACK DADDY: Reserve point guard Shelvin Mack has quietly been one of the Magic’s best players over the past two months, averaging 8.7 points and 4.6 assists in February and 9.9 points and 3.2 assists a game in March. But he’s also meant a lot to the Magic with how he’s helped to mentor many of the team’s young players.

Mack, a seven-year veteran, had to battle through being waived, demoted and benched early in his career and that taught him the value of working hard to perfect your craft. Also, Mack has played with several all-star players through the years, ranging from Al Horford, Joe Johnson and Gordon Hayward, giving him a perspective on what it takes to be great.

He’s used that knowledge to try and mentor forward Mario Hezonja on Orlando’s second unit, and he’s regularly mentored rookie big man Jonathan Isaac.

``We’re starting something in the right direction here and I’ve been able to build a bond with the young guys, especially with the young guy, Isaac,’’ Mack said. ``I talk to him every day and I’ve tried to get him mentally prepared for what going to get himself into. He’s got a big summer coming up. I feel like I’ve helped him, and I’ve helped the organization grow.’’

Mack said his NBA experience helps him dole out advice to Orlando’s younger players.

``I feel like I’ve been around a lot of star or superstar guys, whether it’s been Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Gordon Hayward, I’ve been able to see different things from different guys and use that to help other guys out and help myself out,’’ Mack said. ``I’ve been able to catch a lot of people who have been in the league longer than me and learn from them.’’

UP NEXT: Orlando’s mammoth, seven-game home stand comes to a conclusion on Friday when it hosts the Chicago Bulls. The seven-game home stand is not only the longest of the season, but it is tied for the second-longest in the 29-year history of the Magic. Orlando went into Wednesday’s game against Brooklyn 2-3 in the home stand.

Despite also being in rebuilding mode, the Bulls have beaten the Magic three times this season. Chicago won 105-83 in Orlando on Nov. 3 in a game where the Magic were without two of their three point guards because of injuries. The Bulls won twice in Chicago – 112-94 on Dec. 20 and 105-101 on Feb. 12.

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