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Quote & Analysis: Fultz Getting Rhythm Back, John Lewis Documentary & More

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager

QUOTE: “It felt great to just be around the guys again. I think that was the biggest part, just seeing those guys and being able to interact with them. As far as practice today, it was a pretty light day. But, for me it’s just building up everything, just getting my rhythm back and pace back, conditioning and everything.” - Markelle Fultz after participating in first practice with Magic at Disney campus on Friday

ANALYSIS: Fultz was one of the NBA’s most improved players before the hiatus with averages of 12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists. Playing in all but one of Orlando’s games – and that absence was simply due to a stomach virus – was encouraging as well considering in his first two seasons in the league he played in a combined 33 games. Becoming a better outside shooter will be key for the 22-year-old and former No. 1 overall draft pick. He made 30 of his 118 attempts from beyond the arc this season before the league’s shutdown. Fultz will get some more practice time before he appears in a game as Steve Clifford said he will not play in the Magic’s first scrimmage game against the Clippers.

QUOTE: “It was amazing. It was pretty inspiring. Obviously, I’ve heard of John Lewis before, but to see actually the ins and outs of what he was doing and what he was able to overcome and the accomplishments that he had, which is truly amazing. I never knew the real impact he had on the civil rights movement and what he went through and had to endure. To still be able to overcome that with a non-violence approach is pretty amazing.” – Michael Carter-Williams on the John Lewis documentary he watched alongside his teammates before Tuesday’s practice

ANALYSIS: The Magic continue to honor the life of John Lewis, an American hero who died late last week. Lewis was someone who dedicated his life to change and racial equity. Clifford said all the players were locked in while watching the documentary, “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” and were really inspired by the civil rights icon’s courage, resilience, passion and determination.

QUOTE: “It’s going to be awkward for sure. We’re going to have to find the energy really from within and get the motivation and all that. Once we get into the game, we won’t be paying attention to it. I would say the biggest difference, though, is that whoever is on the bench is going to have to be really into the game and really vocalize a lot of stuff because we need to get that energy from somewhere.” – Evan Fournier on what he expects it to be like playing without fans in attendance

ANALYSIS: NBA players are obviously used to playing in front of thousands of fans every time they step onto the floor, so inevitably it’s going to feel a little different when games begin at Disney. Expect, however, that initial awkwardness to dissipate, and maybe even evaporate, by the time the seeding games tip off. Not only will the scrimmages help players improve their physical conditioning and sharpen up their chemistry with teammates, it will also allow them to get comfortable playing in a relatively quieter setting.

QUOTE: “It’s very important. I missed out on (last year’s) summer league. Just every day in practice just taking it day by day. Just getting better and focusing, and taking advantage of the opportunity I have in front of me, and just being ready when my time comes.” – Melvin Frazier Jr. on using the restart to polish up his skills and contribute when his number is called

ANALYSIS: Frazier, the Magic’s second round draft pick in 2018, has toggled back and forth between Orlando and Lakeland in his first two seasons. In the G League, he was very efficient, making 50.5 percent of his field goal attempts. The knock on him coming into the NBA was his outside jumper, which he continues to work extensively on. The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder took 97 threes with Lakeland this season, drilling 32 of them (33 percent). He also made four of his seven 3-point tries with the parent club before the hiatus.

QUOTE: “I’m pretty much just shooting, taking a lot of shots. Trying to make sure that my rhythm gets going on its own. Can’t really rush things like this. Just have to make sure you’re taking a lot of shots, especially right now. It’s taking us a little bit to get back into a rhythm. But we are doing well, so as long I’m getting up a ton of shots a day I will find my rhythm quick.” – Terrence Ross on his hot shooting after the All-Star break and what he’s doing to stay hot when season resumes

ANALYSIS: Not many players in the entire league were playing better than Ross when the league had to shut down due to the pandemic. After All-Star Weekend, the 6-foot-6 29-year-old averaged 22.2 points on 48.7 percent overall shooting and 50.6 percent 3-point shooting. Ross, now in his eighth year in the NBA, would have probably made over 200 3-pointers without starting in a single game for the second straight season if not for the hiatus. The Magic are going to need Ross to pick up where he left off if they hope to eclipse the Nets for the No. 7 seed and then be competitive against whoever they match up with in the first round of the playoffs.