Fourteen players will enter the 2015-2016 Orlando Magic regular season wearing pinstripes as GM Rob Hennigan waived Nnanna Egwu following the team’s victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.
Egwu played in five preseason games and averaged 1.2 ppg and 3.2 rpg in just over eight minutes per contest. I’d be stunned if the big center doesn’t end up spending the year with the Erie BayHawks as coach Bill Peterson has had a large amount of interaction with the University of Illinois product.
Egwu just turned 23 years old yesterday, and there’s plenty of defensive potential to build around. He just has hands of stone right now. Some D-League experience will do the Nigerian plenty of good.
The Magic are not expected to make any more roster moves entering their October 28th regular season home opener at Amway Center against the Washington Wizards. Fourteen players is one under the league maximum, so the Magic will have the ability to add a player down the road if they need to. Or, there’s roster flexibility should a trade occur.
Eight preseason games is too long. The Orlando Magic thankfully took care of business against a Memphis team that rested their best players, but they’re antsy for meaningful regular season action to finally begin on Wednesday. It’s exhibition play, but Orlando’s defense has looked much better since Dwight Howard was roaming around in pinstripes. We’ll see if it carries over into next week. It’ll help immensely if Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon are healthy.
The Orlando Magic concluded their 2015 preseason campaign on Friday night with a 86-76 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies inside Amway Center. Orlando ends exhibition play with a 6-2 record. More importantly, the Magic over the past few weeks look like a team poised to rise from the bottom of the league standings.
Tobias Harris led all scorers with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. Nikola Vucevic was the only other Magic starter in double figures with 10 points and 6 rebounds. Shabazz Napier and Mario Hezonja gave Orlando massive energy boosts off the bench. Napier had 15 points and 8 assists while Mario Hezonja tallied 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. The rookie shot 2-of-8 from the field, but his impact was evident. Andrew Nicholson finished with 14 second half points and 6 rebounds.
The Magic held Memphis to 32.9 FG%, which came in handy since O-Town only managed 38.1 FG%. The 18-5 fast break points and 38-22 points in the paint wins were the difference in the result.
Below is the game recap.
The Orlando Magic waived center Greg Stiemsma on Thursday. General Manager Rob Hennigan’s roster is now down to the NBA regular season maximum of 15 players. Stiemsma was signed to a non-guaranteed deal in September. An Achilles injury prevented the 6’11” big man from seeing the court for the first few weeks of preseason action.
The 30-year-old finally saw the court against Flamengo down in Rio de Janeiro, as well as on Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans. Unfortunately for the 4-year NBA veteran, Stiemsma only averaged 1.5 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per contest in the two games he played. Stiemsma was given the chance to battle for a spot, but it just didn’t materialize.
Stiemsma was able to play physically early on in training camp against big men like Nikola Vucevic, Dewayne Dedmon, Andrew Nicholson, Channing Frye, and Jason Smith before the injury sidelined him. Mediocre defense, for a guy who has a strong reputation as a paint protector, was not satisfactory considering Greg brings zero ability on offense.
It’s looking likely that the Magic may head into the October 28th regular season opener with just fourteen players as Nnanna Egwu appears to be a prime candidate to head up to Erie and the D-League. Egwu has great potential as a defensive center. He’s very raw though and is clearly not ready for meaningful NBA minutes yet. Too many flaws. BayHawks Head Coach Bill Peterson has already spent some time with Egwu following Magic practices.
We’ll see. The Magic could keep Egwu on the squad and send him down to Erie anyway. I would say it’s probably more ideal for the Magic to carry 14 players and allow for some roster flexibility should an opportunity or situation arise in the future.
Orlando Magic Opening Night is next week. FOX Sports Florida is the local game broadcaster once again this ’15-’16 season. They will debut their 30-minute special that will preview the Magic’s campaign beginning on Saturday October 24th at 11 p.m. EST. If you won’t be in your homes, be sure to DVR the ‘Inside the Magic: Preseason Special’.
The special will be hosted by Paul Kennedy, Jeff Turner, and Brian Hill. The show will start with Dante Marchitelli interviewing Head Coach Scott Skiles and Tobias Harris. Viewers will get an inside look at some X’s and O’s as Jeff Turner utilizes FOX Vision to diagram how the Magic plan to get the ball to center Nikola Vucevic more this season. Follow @FOXSportsMagic on Twitter and visit FOXSportsFlorida.com for channel listings.
Below is an extra bonus clip from that show, featuring Victor Oladipo:
The show will be re-aired 6 times on FOX Sports Florida leading up to the October 28th season opener against the Washington Wizards.
This one is disappointing to me because we saw how well he played in Summer League and for the Canadian National Team over the past 3 months, but the Orlando Magic waived Melvin Ejim following Wednesday’s overtime victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. The Iowa State Cyclone product didn’t play.
Ejim will walk away with some guaranteed money as the Magic had to offer it to the 24-year-old in order to lure him away from a German team that was going to offer him a deal. In a way I’m surprised, but then it really shouldn’t shock anyone. Ejim barely played. In 4 exhibition contests, Melvin averaged 3.5 ppg on 6-of-13 shooting (46.2 FG%) as he only played a total of 32 minutes.
It’s much different from July’s Orlando Summer League performances. Ejim in 5 starts for Orlando ‘White’ averaged 9.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.6 apg, and 1.0 spg on 45.2 FG% and 40.0 3PT%. All offseason, Ejim displayed elite defensive abilities at the PF and SF spots. Melvin is a fantastic rebounder at just 6’6″. His jumper was decent, but his best offensive assets were getting to the rim at will to draw fouls and always finishing transition opportunities.
He just couldn’t get on the floor for this Scott Skiles coaching staff. They like Devyn Marble more. I wish Ejim all of the best moving forward, whether in the NBA or overseas. I still believe he’s a player on the rise.
The Magic roster is now at 16 players. GM Rob Hennigan may carry a full 15, or he may only have 14 players on the squad come Opening Night. We’ll find out. Nnanna Egwu though is destined for Erie it appears, and that just leaves Greg Stiemsma trying to be the 15th Magic man.
The Orlando Magic have guaranteed an above .500 preseason record. It’s not a big deal entering the regular season, but it’s definitely keeping the locker room confident and loose. The Magic still had a horrendous second quarter against the Pelicans, but even Scott Skiles had to appreciate that his squad is improving. Mario Hezonja had his best performance as a rookie so far, and that led the Croatian to discuss his love of American food in the locker room after the overtime victory.
Aaron Gordon, the media, and many teammates couldn’t stop watching how high the forward got up for that dunk attempt. Also, Victor Oladipo singing is typically a great sign things are going well. Even Evan Fournier was doing a bit a dancing and that was with his sore rib from his fall.
The Orlando Magic claimed another home overtime victory in their 2015 preseason campaign, this time dispatching of the New Orleans Pelicans 110-107 on Wednesday night. This victory carries some extra weight because both teams played starters and rotation players heavy minutes.
Orlando was led by an enormous second half out of Nikola Vucevic as he tallied 24 points, 14 assists, and 4 assists in 33 minutes before fouling out. Mario Hezonja had probably his best preseason outing with 19 points off the bench. Tobias Harris notched 18 points and 8 boards. Evan Fournier tallied 11 points, and Victor Oladipo contributed 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in the victory. Anthony Davis carried New Orleans with 33 points and 16 rebounds.
The Magic shot 24-of-35 from the free throw line, which is typically pretty solid. However, the Pelicans were 43-of-51 from the charity stripe. Orlando did hold NOLA to 37.8 FG%. Orlando won the points in the paint battle 44-28 and cleaned house 19-4 in second chance points.
Below is the game recap.
Bad news for anyone looking forward to attending the Orlando Magic Pub Crawl on Saturday night. It’s been cancelled. Refunds will be given out over the next week or so. The good news though is that the complimentary tickets to Opening Night against the Washington Wizards at Amway Center on October 28th will still be e-mailed out to those who spent money to attend the pub crawl.
Below is the contents of the e-mail sent out by the event organizers to anyone that purchased tickets:
Dear Orlando Magic Pub Crawler and Fan
On behalf of the Orlando Magic, Orlando Sport & Social Club and Orlando Pub Crawl, we regret to inform you that the Orlando Magic Pub Crawl on Saturday, October 24 has been canceled due to unforeseen circumstances.
Refunds for your registration fee will be made available within the next 7-10 days. We apologize for this inconvenience and would like to offer you two complimentary game tickets for Opening Night, as the Orlando Magic square off against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, October 28. Tickets will be emailed to you from the Orlando Magic by Monday, October 26.
Thank you for your understanding. We appreciate your support of the Orlando Magic, Orlando Sport and Social Club, and Orlando Pub Crawl events and look forward to seeing you in Amway Center or at one of our other great events in Downt own Orlando in the near future.
Orlando Magic, Orlando Sport and Social Club, and Orlando Pub Crawl
Too bad about the pub crawl, but at least the Magic are making up for it by still handing out the free game tickets. I was looking forward to an all-day and all-night Magic outing though. Orlando Magic Scavenger Hunt in the morning, and some blue and white bar hopping at night. Oh well, maybe next year. We still have the scavenger hunt.
The Orlando Magic roster is now at 17 players after the team waived guards Keith Appling and Jordan Sibert on Monday. It’s not a surprising move. Both are expected to clear waivers and then should become Erie BayHawks where Magic D-League affiliate coach Bill Peterson will get to mold them some more. At least the guys got a nice trip to Brazil out of it.
Both players definitely appeared stronger in Summer League than they did with the Magic during training camp and preseason action.
In 3 games with the Orlando ‘Blue’ squad back in July, the 6’4″ Sibert averaged 11.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, and 1.7 apg on 45.8 FG% and 42.9 3PT% at about twenty minutes per contest. The Dayton Flyer was 0-for-2 from the field the first three games. Didn’t play in Hidalgo against Houston. His fate was sealed when he went 1-of-6 (hey, he made a 3) against Miami at Amway Center last week. Sibert went 0-for-2 in Rio de Janeiro. He’s got a lot of promise though, but he and Appling will fight Tyler Harvey for minutes in Erie.
Speaking of Appling, the 6’1″ Michigan State alum who was on the BayHawks last year started all 5 games for that Orlando ‘White’ team that almost won the Summer League title. Keith averaged 15.6 ppg, 3.0 apg, and 3.0 spg on 50.0 FG% and 40.0 3PT% in about 26 minutes per contest. Very little of the aggressiveness displayed in July, carried over to October unfortunately. Appling dropped 4 points on 1-of-2 scoring in the preseason opener against Charlotte, but went 0-for-2 the next two scoreless contests. Didn’t play in Hidalgo. Going 0-for-2 against Miami in O-Town wasn’t ideal. Keith went 0-for-2 and scored 2 points in Brazil.
The Magic are 4-2 in their exhibition campaign, but have two very tough tests at home remaining against Western Conference opposition: the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, and the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday at Amway Center.
Assuming that GM Rob Hennigan will keep 15 men on his regular season roster, Nnanna Egwu and Greg Stiemsma are the two men clawing to make the team. Egwu I’m certain will end up in Erie by the end of the week. Stiemsma is more of a question mark because he has no guarantees and he finally just saw his first court time after an Achilles injury kept him off of it. But he’s a veteran who is respected for his defense. Melvin Ejim, Devyn Marble, and Andrew Nicholson all have some sort of guaranteed money, but you can’t count any off them as being completely safe to make the squad. We’ll see how Skiles handles minutes, especially for Ejim who hasn’t seen the floor nearly as much as I anticipated.