With the schedule set to come out later today, it seemed as good a time as any to review the Magic's offseason with our pal, Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post.
In the podcast, we talk about what the Magic's goals were entering the offseason and whether Orlando accomplished those goals and what the future might hold for Victor Oladipo, Maurice Harkless, Tobias Harris and the Magic organization.
Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily: Is there anything you look forward to when teh schedule comes out?
Evan Dunlap, Orlando Pinstriped Post: Not particularly. I suppose just when teh long road trips and the long home stands and I guess rivalry games, if you can call it that, like against the Rockets with Dwight. Other than that, no, there is no real big games on the schedule that I'm particularly looking forward to. Not this year anyway.
OMD: It is August, summer is pretty much over. Everyone is on their August break before EuroBasket starts in September and then training camps pick up at the end of September. We knew it was going to be kind of a quiet summer for the Magic with the rebuilding process still ongoing. What did you think the Magic needed to accomplish this summer?
OPP: About what they did really. They shed a little bit of salary by waiving Al Harrington. They got some young talent with Victor Oladipo and, maybe, Romero Osby if they elect to sign him. They got young talent, they shed some money. They stayed flexible and helped their roster. They didn't hit that home run, but I don't know if there was any big trade for them to make. I think they accomplished what they set out to. I wouldn't say that they aced it or whatever metaphor they want to use. I think they did a decent enough job moving forward.
OMD: It still seems like it is about getting the cap room for 2014 and 2015 and positioning yourself for that vaunted 2014 Draft coming up. You and I were both at Summer League and we saw a lot of the young talent that is on this Magic roster playing together for that week, for whatever it is worth. What were your first impressions of Victor Oladipo from that week?
OPP: I'm impressed with his ability to get to the basket. Regardless of whether he's a point guard or a shooting guard — and I tend to think he is more of a shooting guard — but regardless of the position, he's going to be able to get to the basket, I think. Whether that's to score or just to draw fouls, that's a useful skill. That's not something I really saw from him at Indiana was the ability to break a defense down off the dribble. He looked more like a cut-to-the-basket, off-the-ball sort of guy. To see him able to create for himself is a positive development. I think that's really going to help the Magic because I don't think it's fair for them to keep asking Arron Afflalo to take guys off the dribble because that's not Afflalo's game.
OMD: I'm sure we will see Oladipo play some point guard this year. You hit on it, is it realistic to see him playing the one a little bit this year?
OPP: Sure, it's realistic. He's only 21. I think he could probably come in and paly a few minutes there as a rookie. You have to simplify the playbook a little bit. But If you just run some screen and roll or some horn stuff for him, you should be OK.
The problem with him is he is not a great passer. You need passing from a point guard, that's essentially the function of the position — to move the ball. He struggles with that. That's something he can pick up on with the right mentors and he certainly has that with Jacque Vaughn and Jameer Nelson.
I think he is going to have to play point guard out of necessity too. I'm not convinced that Ronnie Price is going to be an everyday player. Jameer Nelson certainly can't play 48 minutes. The alternatives on teh roster, who else is going to play it? Maybe Doron Lamb or E'Twaun Moore. But neither of those options inspire much confident. They don't have a whole lot to lose by trying to play Victor at point guard. Nothing to lose but games, really. And we're not looking at wins and losses right now as a real barometer, you're looking at talent development. I do think he'll play there 5-10 minutes per night. We'll see as the season wears on.
OMD: Our thanks to Evan for joining us and giving us his thoughts on the Magic's offseason. Evan has some great observations and analysis on the Magic. Be sure to listen to the rest of the discussion on the Podcast linked above. And, if you are not already, be sure to bookmark Orlando Pinstriped Post.