The 2017 Orlando Pro Summer League came to conclusion on Thursday with the Dallas Mavericks reigning supreme as the only undefeated team. For the Orlando Magic, the event created an opportunity for the front office to gauge the young talent, vying for a place on the Magic roster this coming season. Orlando finished the six day tournament with a 2-3 record, despite playing some impressive basketball at times.
Orlando Magic Have Plenty of Options Following Summer League
Notably, sixth overall pick Jonathan Isaac teased fans with signs of what might be.
Despite failing to complete all six games after straining his left hip, Isaac averaged 10.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game with 11 total offensive rebounds in three games. He shot 44.4 percent from the floor for the week. Isaac also displayed some of the defensive skills that he became known for in college. Although Isaac gave Magic fans cause to be excited going forward, he was not the only one turning heads.
The Rookie from Michigan
Undrafted rookie point guard Derrick Walton Jr. was turning heads in Orlando throughout the week. After starting the week on the bench, the former Wolverine got his opportunity to start on Monday against the Mavericks. Whilst Walton finished the game with eight points and five assists, shooting 4 for 12 from the floor; the Magic coaching staff liked what they saw from him throughout the week. Assistant Coach Chad Forcier said “I love everything about him. I don’t care if he is 6-5 or 5-5, I like the way he plays the game. He’s a competitor, he’s fearless, he’s very skilled. He plays both ends of the court. I am a fan.”
Walton averaged 15.5 points per game and 4.9 assists per game last year as a senior at Michigan. Shooting 42.2% from beyond the arc for the season too, Walton showed his ability to create and shoot too. Walton displayed his skill set throughout the week and has gained the affection of the Magic fanbase, with many urging the front office to give him a spot on the roster.
Making the Most of Opportunities
It was not just Walton who looked to seize an opportunity last week. Former D-League stars Kalin Lucas and Marcus Georges-Hunt have also given the front office something to think about regarding possible roster spots. The Magic find themselves in need of scoring, something that both players provided this week. Lucas has been something of a journeyman during his basketball career. Having most recently played for the Erie BayHawks, the 28 year old point guard has also had spells in Greece and Turkey. Despite this, Lucas is still competing for a significant shot at the NBA and made the most of his opportunity this past week. Lucas averaged 12.5 points and three assists per game, whilst shooting an efficient 42.2% from the floor; also leading the Magic to a 84-73 win over the New York Knicks, having led the way with 20 points. Despite his lack of NBA experience, it was obvious that Lucas has developed during his career, showing leadership, resilience and most importantly skill, throughout the four games in which he featured.
Improvements from Georges-Hunt
Perhaps an even more credible option for a spot on the roster is Georges-Hunt. After signing with Orlando back in April, the former Maine Red Claws shooting guard has made his case to remain with the Magic. Georges-Hunt had arguably the best week of any Magic player and featured in all five games. He averaged 14 points, 2.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game; shooting an impressive 50% from the floor, behind an ever more significant 42.9% from beyond the arc.
Georges-Hunt had an impact on both ends of the floor, displaying all the skills that drew the Magic to him in the first place. Having already gained some experience in the NBA at the back end of last season, he will almost certainly return to a Magic roster, desperately in need of shooting. The only question that remains is, will he have a more prominent role?
For obvious reasons, the Summer League draws limited comparisons to an actual NBA game. However, it does give a strong indication of where certain players are at, and more importantly, where they are going. Jeff Weltman has made it clear the Magic are in no rush to make unnecessary moves in free agency; perhaps opening the door for some young or unproven talent to make the final roster.
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 24: Florida State Seminoles forward Jonathan Isaac (1) during the second half of the NIT Season Tip-Off NCAA mens basketball game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Temple Owls on November 24, 2016, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)