Believe it or not, we are less than one month away from the first Magic preseason game. Orlando will open training camp on October 1 and open the preseason in Mexico City against New Orleans on October 7. So how will we get ready? By counting down to the beginning of the season on November 2 against Denver. Let's continue:
The Magic completed their preseason roster Saturday, officially announcing the signing of Armon Johnson and Dequan Jones. The acquisitions were reported a few weeks ago, but were not made official until this weekend.
Johnson is a third-year pro and was taken with the 34th pick in the 2010 draft. He played nine total games last year with the Trail Blazers and the Nets. Eight of those came with New Jersey, and he scored 5.6 points per game in 14.9 minutes per game. Johnson is a 6-foot-3 combo guard who was an expert at scoring in three years at Nevada in college. He averaged 14.3 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game while shooting 46.7 percent for his career. As a junior at Nevada in 2010, he averaged 15.7 points per game and 5.6 assists per game while shooting 49.5 percent from the floor.
His expertise is getting into the lane rather than 3-point shooting. He has taken only 15 3-pointers in his career, and 12 of them came in his rookie year in Portland.
Considering that Ish Smith is hurt and will miss training camp, it stands to reason that Johnson will have a real chance to make an impact this camp. Jameer Nelson is clearly the starter. E'Twaun Moore though is not quite a true point guard. He is more a shooting guard and scorer. Johnson then could serve as the second point guard on the roster for training camp practices and scrimmages.
It is an intriguing acquisition if not one that is still a long shot.
Dequan Jones is an undrafted rookie out of Miami. He is most famous for winning the NCAA Slam Dunk Contest this year at New Orleans. In his final year at Miami, Jones averaged 5.9 points per game in 17.3 minutes per game. Jones averaged 6.0 points per game in four games at the Orlando Summer League while playing with the Magic.
Mainly at this point, it seems his athleticism is what intrigues most people. He should be able to give some of that to Orlando in training camp. Maybe the Magic see him potentially as a more coordinated Bo Outlaw.
I highly doubt he makes this roster. But he should make the practice slam dunk contests that much more exciting.
34 more days!