The Orlando Magic basketball team are the not the only ones making roster changes this summer. The Magic Dancers are getting set to complete their squad cuts as they have to go from 30 women down to twenty. Magic fans have the opportunity to see the final audition live this Thursday July 31st at the Disney Atrium inside Amway Center from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The dancers will show off their last routines in front of a panel of judges. The audition will be streamed live online at OrlandoMagic.com as well.
The finalists worked hard 2day! Boot camp day 1 complete. Panel interviews begin in morn followed by boot camp day 2 pic.twitter.com/dNiWLtSPEe
— Magic Dancers (@MagicDancers) July 28, 2014
If you would like to attend the event that will conclude with the introduction of the new 2014-2015 Magic Dancers presented by Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, click here to claim and download your ticket(s). The ticket also grants shoppers 20% off at the Orlando Magic Team Shop. A great chance to stock up on new gear and apparel.
There is currently an online voting page on the Orlando Magic’s official website where you can vote for which Magic Dancer(s) you want to see make the squad. There doesn’t appear to be a limit at all on how many women you can vote for or the amount of times you can vote. So for those individuals who care strongly about the dance team, this is your best opportunity to voice your opinion. Polls will remain open until the last dance routine.
The Orlando Summer League breakdowns and analysis for Magic rookies Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton have already been done, but what about comparing the #4 and #10 selections with other first round selections? Before examining other performances, it was of the common basketball media’s opinion that Elfrid impressed while Aaron left a lot to be desired.
Aaron notched 7.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, and 1.2 apg on 35.0 FG% and 47.8 FT%. Elfrid averaged 9.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 7.0 apg, and 1.4 spg on 59.3 FG% with 4 turnovers per contest. But what do those statistics really mean when stacking up the 15-highest selected Draft prospects? Let’s take a look.
Red means ‘worst’ and green means ‘best’ in regards to the statistical categories. We can see that both Elfrid’s 7.0 assists per game and his 59.3 FG% were superior to all of his competitors listed. It does need to be said that Elfrid’s 27 field goal attempts were the least out of the bunch. So the 20-year-old is an efficient shooter and a pass-first guard. The 4 turnovers per contest are not a big worry when Elfrid is dishing constantly and keeping defenses honest. Embrace change, Magic fans, this is fun.
Along with the Magic men, Boston’s Marcus Smart was the only other player on that chart who played in Orlando while everyone else participated in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League. Smart shot a gawdy 29.4 FG%. Chicago’s Tyler Ennis was the worst at 21.9 FG%. Denver’s combo guard Gary Harris scored the most of the group at 18.6 ppg. However, Gary was hot one game and freezing cold the next as he balanced out to a subpar 32.1 FG%. His 2.6 blocks per game are a nice balance buffer though.
Then there’s Dante Exum. The Aussie I begged Orlando to take, but was passed up in favor of Aaron Gordon. Utah’s experiment of playing Dante at shooting guard with Trey Burke having the on-the-ball role didn’t translate well. Dante shot 30.8 FG% and still coughed up 3 turnovers per game. Smart, Ennis, Harris, and Exum. All guards who can handle the ball, all guys Magic GM Rob Hennigan could have preferred over Elfrid but obviously didn’t. That trade with Philly to move up to grab Payton is looking decent so far.
The top two picks – Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker – averaged about fifteen and a half points and shot in the low-40s. Similar steals, similar free throw shooting, similar terrible 3-point shooting. There were some stark differences. Parker rebounded at a much better rate while Wiggins was more active defensively and protected the ball. Jabari’s 5 turnovers per game are inexcusable.
Aaron Gordon’s 35.0 FG% doesn’t look so awful when there are five other guys with lower percentages. Especially when the Arizona Wildcat was 0-for-10 from 3-point range, a shot we knew he’d struggle with but one he’s going to have to improve if he wants to see extra court minutes. Considering he was selected to be a defensive machine, the 18-year-old not recording a single steal in 5 games is perplexing though.
Julius Randle may eventually be a steal for the Lakers, but he didn’t prove it in Vegas. His stat lines were very Brandon Bass-like. Nik Stauskas and Doug McDermott – both would have been valuable perimeter additions for the Magic – should have Kings and Bulls fans thrilled with their potent shooting abilities. Zach LaVine, Adreian Payne, and T.J. Warren all appear to be serviceable at a minimum.
Remember how many ‘experts’ rated Noah Vonleh over both Randle and Gordon? Well, the Indiana Hoosier shot 28.4 FG%. At least Vonleh rebounded well, but Noah couldn’t avoid foul trouble and appeared very lost and confused for large stints on both ends of the floor.
Summer League historically is just the beginning for these guys. A great or awful showing doesn’t mean that’s how it’ll always be. Andre Drummond was horrendous in his first Summer League. Can’t say too many bad things about Detroit’s big man now. Victor Oladipo had similar early Summer League jitters as Elfrid did, but both improved on a daily basis when dealing with guard pressure and are accustomed to handling a press. Michael Carter-Williams couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean last summer, but he improved enough to take home Rookie of the Year. Kevin Durant couldn’t shoot or rebound back in 2007, yet he went on to win ROY as well.
My point being that all professional athletes can hone their craft when given enough time and the proper guidance to tweak what needs to be fixed. It’s all about the player’s work ethic and ability to adjust that can determine whether or not a Summer League’s worth of statistics means anything or not. Whatever we’ve seen out of Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon, and even Devyn Marble is no where near the final product of what they can be in the future.
The Canadian senior national basketball team defeated Georgia (the country, not the state) 83-66 on the final day of the Pokal Adecco exhibition tournament in Slovenia. Orlando Magic big man Andrew Nicholson ended up coming off the bench as Head Coach Jay Triano preferred to go with Kelly Olynyk and Dwight Powell in the frontcourt. That didn’t prevent ‘Drew from having his best game in Slovenia as the 24-year-old from Mississauga, Ontario tallied 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists in 19 minutes. Only Brady Heslip had more points with fourteen. The victory concludes Canada’s 3-game mini-tourney with a 2-1 record.
Former Magic player Zaza Pachulia finished with 11 points and 5 rebounds for Georgia as he was plagued by foul trouble for the entire contest. Andrew poured in nine points in the third period as his back-to-back 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the quarter pushed his team’s advantage up from seven to 11 points. Over the course of the 3 games in Slovenia, Andrew averaged 10.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, and 1.0 apg on 9-of-15 (60%) on 2-pointers and 2-of-8 from 3-point range. Both 3-point makes obviously occurring today.
Canada is done competing in Slovenia, but will stay in the country for several more days to rest up and practice before heading to Zlavoski Grad, Croatia. There they’ll continue their European tour by taking on the Croatian national team twice on August 1st and 2nd.
New Orlando Magic member Luke Ridnour was introduced today and he had very kind words to say about his new situation.
Originally selected by Seattle in the first round (14th overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft, Ridnour has appeared in 783 career NBA regular season games (493 starts) during his 11-year career with Seattle, Minnesota, Milwaukee and Charlotte, averaging 9.6 ppg., 4.6 apg., 2.3 rpg. and 1.0 spg. in 26.7 minutes per contest., while shooting .862 (1,272-1,475) from the free throw line. He also played in 22 career playoff games (11 starts), averaging 7.9 ppg., 3.3 apg. and 2.4 rpg. in 24.3 minpg. Ridnour ranks eighth among active players and 28th in NBA history in career free throw percentage. He finished seventh in the NBA in total assists (550) in 2005-06.
The Orlando Magic have officially announced the signing of Luke Ridnour. Following the signing of Devyn Marble, Orlando’s roster is now at 15 players with active contracts. Based on previous reports from TNT’s David Aldridge, the deal is expected to be for 2 years at a total of $5.5 million. The second year is non-guaranteed. As per team policy, the Magic haven’t released official contract terms.
GM Rob Hennigan released a statement on the new acquisition:
“We’re extremely excited to welcome Luke (Ridnour) and his family to Orlando,” said Hennigan. “Luke is a proven player in this league who is well-respected as a teammate and competitor. The depth and veteran experience he will provide to our backcourt will help our team continue to grow.”
The former Oregon Duck made $4.32 million last season, so the 33-year-old is taking a cut in pay. The 6′ 2″ combo guard spent his time in ’13-’14 with the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte. Ridnour was traded by the Bucks along with Gary Neal on February 20th to Charlotte in exchange for Jeff Adrien and Ramon Sessions. Combining his stints with both teams last season, Luke played in 61 games – started 14 of them – and averaged 5.0 ppg, 2.9 apg, and 1.6 rpg on 38.5 FG% and 34.3 3PT% at 18.7 minutes per contest.
In the second game of their 2014 Pokal Adecco exhibition tournament in Slovenia, the senior Canada men’s basketball team managed to hold off Coach Mike Fratello’s Ukraine squad to prevail in overtime 80-75. Orlando Magic big man Andrew Nicholson did indeed start in this contest. In 17 minutes, the St. Bonaventure product tallied 7 points and 4 rebounds on 3-of-5 two-point shooting and 0-for-3 from 3-point range.
Canada was up 59-44…and then Andrew fouled out with 7:14 remaining in regulation. Dwight Powell and Kelly Olynyk were clearly not defensive upgrades over the 24-year-old, as Ukraine utilized a 24-12 4th quarter to tie the contest at 68-68 and send the game to overtime. In the extra period, Olynyk, Melvin Ejim, and NBA champion Cory Joseph did enough to help earn Canada the victory. Andrew is shooting 54.5% from inside the 3-point line after two contests. Canada continues their tourney by facing Georgia on Saturday.
The Canadian national basketball team began their 11-game exhibition tour of Europe today as they fell to Slovenia 92-80. The game was played in Rogaska Slatina, Slovenia as part of the Pokal Adecco 2014 mini-tourney. Andrew Nicholson did not start the contest. Instead, Coach Jay Triano decided to have the 24-year-old come off the bench and play at center. Andrew tallied 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting and was 4-of-6 from the free throw line. The St. Bonaventure product only attempted one 3-pointer, though the result wasn’t ideal.
Andrew Nicholson does not look like he’s in good shape. Hoists a 3PT shot and nothing but air. Jacque Vaughan has crushed his confidence!
— Hoops Hype Canada (@HoopsHypeCA) July 24, 2014
I won’t comment on Nicholson’s fitness, defense, or rebounding until after Andrew gets some more games under his belt. I will say that Andrew needed more touches on offense and more minutes on a second unit that clearly lacked weapons. Slovenia won thanks to their 13-of-26 shooting from 3-point range as Canada couldn’t counter the outstanding ball movement from the hosts.
I think the team should get the benefit of the doubt for having their lackluster moments during the contest. They had flown to Venice, Italy on Wednesday and then had to endure a 5-hour bus drive to their Slovenian destination. The body takes a few days to adjust to the time change from traveling. The Canadian squad remains in Slovenia and will take on Ukraine on Friday at 11:15 a.m. EST.
On a side note, Andrew Nicholson responded to a very curious statement from ESPN’s Jason Whitlock. The Toronto Sun’s Ryan Wolstat has that story.
American provocateur Jason Whitlock got his desired result Tuesday, when he said Canadian athletes — and Vaughan’s Andrew Wiggins in particular — “perhaps don’t want it as much as some of the Europeans and certainly the American players.”
Speaking with fellow ESPNer Keith Olbermann, Whitlock, no stranger to controversial, attention-grabbing comments, said “Andrew Wiggins’ effort and intensity sometimes was inconsistent at Kansas and that might be a personality quark he’ll deal with throughout his career. “That’s why (the Cavs) would probably prefer to play with Kevin Love.
“This is what a lot of NBA people believe. American-born … players have more intensity, they’re not as laid back.”
Orlando Magic forward Andrew Nicholson, who played extremely aggressively, getting himself into foul trouble a year ago, was stunned when he heard the quote.
“Wow. I don’t agree with that. I know we have motivation, that’s why we are here,” Nicholson said.
That’s quite the controversial statement to make and clearly would warrant responses from Canadian players and brass, including from Nicholson who we know is typically a man of few words.
The Orlando Magic hosted their first ever NBA FIT Draft Combine on Thursday at the RDV Sportsplex in Maitland. 18-year-old Aaron Gordon and 20-year-old Elfrid Payton took charge of six stations dedicated to exercises and basketball drills with exactly 200 children from the Central Florida community. The 3-hour FIT program also taught kids about making healthy food choices. Most importantly, a lot of fun was to be had for both the children and the adults.
— Adam Papageorgiou (@adamosgp) July 24, 2014
Aaron and Elfrid were kind enough to chat a bit during the event.
As initially reported by MBO, the Orlando Magic have officially announced the signing of 56th overall Draft pick Devyn Marble. The Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins was the first to reveal some of the terms of the contract. It’ll be a 3-year deal, but only the ’14-’15 season will be guaranteed. Exact monetary figures are unknown at this time.
As a senior at Iowa, Marble played mostly point guard and shooting guard and started in 33 games, averaging 17.0 ppg., 3.6 apg., 3.2 rpg. and 1.8 spg. in 30.2 minutes per contests. He was named First Team All-Big Ten after leading the team in scoring and ranked second in assists. Marble scored in double figures 27 times.
The #56 pick was acquired as part of the Evan Fournier-Arron Afflalo deal with the Denver Nuggets. The Hawkeyes wing player proved to be quite versatile during the Orlando Summer League. Devyn averaged 9.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, and 1.2 spg on 37.2 FG% (16-of-43) and 31.3 3PT% (5-of-16) in the five games he played earlier this month. The 21-year-old born and raised in Southfield, Michigan adjusted himself well as Devyn saw time at PG, SG, SF, and even PF. His solid defense, outstanding hustle, praised character, great off-ball motion, efficient transition play, and shooting potential has certainly caught the attention of Orlando’s coaching and front office staff. Expect Marble to play more of the small forward position as we head into training camp in October.
The Orlando Magic finished with a 23-59 record last season. Their defense ranked 17th in the league. Better than its beleaguered offense that ranked 29th, but the defense still needs improving if Orlando wants to have a chance at reaching the playoffs this upcoming campaign. Head Coach Jacque Vaughn‘s squad ranked 17th in the Association in opposing field goal percentage at the rim with 53.1% conversion allowed. Not horrible, but not good either. The Pacers were first at 45.9%. Orlando ranked 9th-worst in blocks tallied at 4.3 per contest. It’s a big reason why Orlando drafted Aaron Gordon 4th overall back in June. The 18-year-old only allowed a total opposing shooting percentage of 34% when Gordon was the primary defender at Arizona.
Below is a ’13-’14 regular season chart from The Chilltime that includes the amount of field goal attempts a defending player faces per contest (vertical axis) and the field goal percentage converted against that defensive player (horizontal axis). All data is from NBA.com, and players you see in the chart were on the court at least 25 minutes per game for 30 games and faced at least 4 shot attempts at the rim. Those with reddish dots represent your better shot blockers. Those with green dots represent players who notch very few blocks.
The installation of SportVU cameras in NBA arenas is the reason these statistics are possible. Ideally, a player wants to be positioned as far right on the chart as possible. Guys like Robin Lopez, Roy Hibbert, Serge Ibaka, Joakim Noah, Andrew Bogut, and DeAndre Jordan are your elite NBA rim protectors. Even former Magic men Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat were beyond respectable. Tristan Thompson is the worst rim protector on this chart having given up an opposing field goal percentage of 59.1% on just 5.2 field goal attempts faced per game.
Below you’ll find analysis on specific Magic players.
Orlando Magic fans will be happy to know they have a potentially great true point guard on their hands in Elfrid Payton. At just slightly under 6′ 4″, Elfrid has his head on a swivel at all times and at both ends of the court. He’s not going to be a defensive liability, he’ll thrive in transition situations, and Elfrid can finish with authority at the rim. In 25.8 minutes per contest, the Louisiana-Lafayette product averaged 9.2 ppg, a Summer League best 7.0 apg, 5.2 rpg, and 1.4 spg on 59.3 FG%, 50.0 3PT% (1-of-2 on 3s), and 65.0 FT%. Elfrid had an outstanding week despite a very jittery first game. Payton averaged 4 turnovers per contest, which is fairly typical for a rookie guard. The 20-year-old proved why it was worth Rob Hennigan trading up to grab him.
Let’s take a look at Elfrid’s 2014 Summer League.
July 5th – 83-77 win over the Philadelphia 76ers
2 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds on 1-of-4 shooting in 18 minutes.
Again, it’s definitely the more forgettable of Elfrid’s showings. It didn’t help that Philly had tenacious defenders like Nerlens Noel, Casper Ware, and Aaron Craft. It was trial by fire and Elfrid just wasn’t comfortable. It happens. Pierre Jackson was offensively getting the better of Payton before he suffered a gruesome injury. Elfrid debuted off the bench as point guard backup to Victor Oladipo though the two would play together in the backcourt throughout the week. At the 1:21 mark here, Elfrid’s only bucket did come on a nice drive past Casper Ware and Ed Daniel. Elfrid’s assists were definitely the best part about his game against the Sixers. Cross court finds, bounce passes, hesitation dump offs. Brighter days were ahead.
Below you’ll find more of Elfrid Payton’s Summer League week.