Aaron Gordon- SF/PF- Arizona- 6’9″ 220 lbs.
Aaron Gordon has quickly gone from a High School stud, to a college baller, to a NBA rookie. Whether it was his high flying dunks in the McDonald’s All-American Game Dunk Contest or an amazingly dominant High School mixtape, he had huge amounts of hype coming into college. He was expected to come right to Arizona and put the team on his back, and for the most part, he did. He might not have put up mind blowing stats, but most of his games displayed poise and leadership beyond his age. His versatile, any position, defense is just what scouts wanted.
The Magic drafted him, mostly for his upside. Right now, he is a tweener, and doesn’t really have a NBA position yet. Either he can add muscle and become a power forward, or he can work on his handle and shot and become a Small Forward. My money says that because of Tobias Harris seeming to be more and more of a PF, Gordon will try and mold his game as more of a SF. He showed flashes at the Orlando Summer, but was inconsistent and only shot 35%. Another scary stat is that he shot 0-10 from 3 pt. range as well. However, his athletic abilities are rare and few other players in the NBA possess his level of bounce.
Play Projection: He should start the season off by easing into NBA games. Expect 10-20 minutes against backup SF and weaker PF. Depending on how badly the Magic’s season goes, they might decide to play Gordon more, if the games don’t matter. His contributions will mostly come on the defensive end. Rebounds, assists, and opportunistic transition and close range scores will be his main offensive output. Look for improved handling, shooting, and control as the season progresses. Gordon will, no doubt, have some great highlights this season, mostly being explosive put backs or fast break alley-oop jams.
Stat Projection: 6.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1 ast
Elfrid Payton- PG- Louisiana-Lafayette- 6’4″ 190 lbs.
This tall and lanky guard from Louisiana quickly went from obscurity to the college spotlight. He wasn’t a well known recruit nor an early impact freshman. He came into his own his Sophomore year of college, averaging 16 points and 5.5 assists. He is a rarity nowadays, playing 3 years in college. His junior season he average a whopping 19.2 points, 6 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. His most impressive stat is his 2.3 steals per game. This production led to him being drafted 10th overall by the 76ers, but was traded to the magic later on Draft night.
He is a huge talent, with abilities to produce now, and much room for improvement. He slashed through college lanes with ease, but NBA defenders are faster, stronger, and smarter, so he will have to diversify his scoring package. His height, wingspan and defensive savvy should make him an impact defender early on. During the Summer League, he might not have extended his range, but there were times when he looked absolutely dominant. Adding strength and decreasing his turnovers are things he needs to improve on.
Play Projection: The Magic are not very deep at PG, and need Oladipo to be in his true SG position going forward. This would’ve been a sink or swim opportunity for Payton, if it weren’t for the veteran signing of Luke Ridnour. He should start the season playing 20+ minutes a game, but expect his play time to increase throughout the season. He looked good next to Oladipo, and expect the two to become one of the NBA’s future dynamic duos, similar to John Wall and Brad Beal in Washington. He can be an impact defender from opening night on, but his offense will need time and good coaching to develop properly.
Stat Projection: 10 ppg, 5 rpg, 5.5 ast, 1 stl
Roy Devyn-Marble- SG- Iowa- 6’6″ 200 lbs
Devyn-Marble should not be underestimated just because of his late drafting. He had a phenomenal 4 years at Iowa, and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection. He has always been an offensive force, using his height and length on the wing to outmatch his defender. His great shooters touch and size for the 2-guard are the reasons Denver drafted him. Orlando received him as an extra part of the Afflalo deal, but he could turn out to be a draft steal.
He is a player who has earned respected because of his jumper. He might have only shot 35% from beyond the arc, but he can get hot in a hurry. He shoots very well off the pass, but will have to increase his off the dribble efficiency, which was only 25% his senior season. His 9 ppg and 6 rpg during the Summer League show that he isn’t just another low quality second rounder. His best performance by far, was his clutch 13 pts in 13 minutes of action against the Heat, this preseason. He scored 8 in overtime, to lead the magic to victory. Refining his shot form, and honing in on defense should be his main priorities.
Play Projection: With more performances like he had against the Heat, Devyn-Marble could quickly rise up in the weak Magic back court to maybe become Oladipo’s primary backup. Realistically, you can expect him to be mostly a role player. He might come in if Orlando wants to go small and use him as the 3, but most of his time will probably be spent at shooting guard. Most of his scoring will be done from behind the arc. He probably won’t receive more than 6-12 minutes a game throughout the regular season. But expect him to come off the bench as a 3 point specialist when the magic need an offensive boost.
Stat projection: 4 ppg, 1 rpg, .5 ast