Help Wanted: Defensive Minded Scoring Guard

The Magic dearly miss one of their former players, who had gradually been coming into his own with the team. A defensive-minded scoring guard is a type of player any team could use, but the Magic would benefit immensely. The team has struggled to find consistency on both the offensive and defensive end this season.

The Magic have been struggling to find their footing this season, with difficulties staying healthy and putting out their ideal roster on the court night after night. Terrence Ross has been out with a right knee injury, Aaron Gordon has missed time recently with a concussion, and Jonathan Isaac has missed significant time with an ankle injury. Evan Fournier is out tonight with an ankle injury of his own. Elfrid Payton and DJ Augustin have missed time as well. This year’s team has not been able to put a consistent roster on the floor, preventing any serious chemistry from forming. The defense has suffered as a result. One type of player missing from the Magic roster is a defensive minded guard, with a knack for scoring. While Ross is known for his defense, the scoring is not fully there. It may be a lot to ask for, but one former member of the Magic fits the mold nearly perfectly.

If an NBA rookie scores 13.8 points, grabs 4.1 rebounds, and dishes out 4.1 assists in his first reason, those are typically regarded as spectacular numbers. Not necessarily a lock for Rookie of the Year, but good enough numbers to make on think that this player has all-star potential. What about year two? Some players endure a sophomore slump, while others flourish as they grow accustomed to the rigors of the NBA travel schedule and increased number of games. This anonymous player scored 17.9 points per game, to finish second on his team while maintaining similar rebound and assist numbers from the previous year. In year three, with two fewer two-point field goal attempts per game and one fewer free throw attempt per game, he averaged 16 points per game, with more rebounds (4.8). Not all-star numbers, but enough to solidify a starting position for the foreseeable future, one would presume. 17-point per game players are not guaranteed with a lottery pick, and to pick the most overused of clichés, they certainly do not grow on trees.

In year five, with the title of go-to-guy, he has blossomed into a 24-point per game player, with the defense to match. The first all-star nod of his career would be justified, as he has helped position his team firmly into the think of the Eastern Conference. Have you figured out who this future all-star is? If not, he’s been traded twice in the last year. If still nothing, he played his college ball at Indiana University, which that year became one of only two teams to defeat a juggernaut Kentucky roster led by Anthony Davis and three other first round picks. He is Victor Oladipo, and he is exactly the type of player the Magic need on their roster.

Oladipo put up respectable numbers over the course of his three-year run with the Magic. It’s not as if he wasn’t given the chance to shine either, as he led the team in minutes in both his second and third seasons. His three-point shot wasn’t fully developed yet, and although still a work in progress, he is connecting at a rate much higher than his career average this season.

The Magic have been subpar on defense, allowing the most points per game in the Eastern Conference at 110.6. On offense, they are in need of a scoring guard who can simultaneously play lock-down defense. Oladipo covers both of these categories. While the Magic aren’t getting Oladipo back, this is the type of player they need if they want to make any strides in the Eastern Conference.

Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, and Jonathan Simmons have made up the majority of the scoring for the Magic this season. While Fournier has played well this season, the Magic are in need of a defensive minded guard who can also provide them with 15 to 20 points per night. Someone needs to be in the rotation to complement Fournier, to provide another consistent threat opposing teams have to worry about when conducting their scouting reports.

The Magic have holes to fill, and suggesting this type of guard will trampoline Orlando to contender status is a stretch. However, it is a good place to start. While the Magic may be able to claw their way to a .500 record this year if they are able to stay healthy, nothing more will come of it unless another player is added to the mix.

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