Marcus Georges-Hunt tries to fit into Orlando Magic’s new versatility

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 02: Brice Johnson #11 of the North Carolina Tar Heels battles Ben Lammers #44 and Marcus Georges-Hunt #3 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets for a rebound during their game at the Dean Smith Center on January 2, 2016 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 86-78. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 02: Brice Johnson #11 of the North Carolina Tar Heels battles Ben Lammers #44 and Marcus Georges-Hunt #3 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets for a rebound during their game at the Dean Smith Center on January 2, 2016 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 86-78. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic are searching for versatile defenders to fit their new identity. Marcus Georges-Hunt made his case in Summer League this week.

Orlando Magic assistant coach Chad Forcier admitted he did not know much about Marcus Georges-Hunt even when entering Summer League.

The Magic signed the former Maine Red Claws guard to a multi-year contract on April 3 and he played only five games. He hit on just two of his seven shots in 48 total minutes on the floor. It was hardly time to make an impression. And the coaching staff had plenty of other things to worry about as the season wound down.

Life on an unguaranteed contract, even when a player finishes the year with one team, is always uncertain. The Magic fired the general manager who originally signed him and sent much of the roster — most especially unguaranteed players like Georges-Hunt — into a bit of flux. Stephen Zimmerman is already a victim of these changes.

But Georges-Hunt had a different approach. He was in the gym with several of the Magic roster players shortly after the season ended and in the run up to the Draft. As draft prospects finished their workouts at the Amway Center, Georges-Hunt was there waiting to get his work in or just finishing his work before those players came in.

That work paid off.

Georges-Hunt was the most consistent player for the Magic. Perhaps he was the team’s best overall player at Summer League the entire week. For a team desperately in need of good, young talent, they may have found something in Georges-Hunt late in the season. And unlocked his potential during Summer League.

"“I thought Marcus had a great week,” Forcier told Orlando Magic Daily. “He showed that he is versatile defensively especially in this era with the style of basketball that is played able to switch out and guard four positions. he brings a physical component to the game. he did a great job with his free throws this week and overall his playmaking. I thought Marcus took advantage of summer league. He has been here since early May and he got rewarded for his work.”"

There is no guarantee for Georges-Hunt and so Summer League was his chance to show he continues to belong in the NBA.

During Summer League, Georges-Hunt played in all five games, averaging 14.0 points per game, recording 14 total assists (2.8 per game) and 4.8 rebounds per game. He made 50 percent of his shots and hit six of his 14 3-point attempts for a 57.5 percent effective field goal percentage.

Georges-Hunt quickly took the lead. He was a reliable scorer and creator for the Magic, showing off the versatility that made him a dangerous player in the D-League, where he averaged 15.8 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game and 4.5 assists per game. That versatile game intrigued the Magic to sign him in early April.

With new management in place, Georges-Hunt had to show he belonged. At 6-foot-5, he is not the longest or most athletic player. But he found ways to show off his versatility.

Summer League put it all on full display.

"“I’m glad that I’ve been able to showcase my versatility playing the 1 through 4,” Georges-Hunt told Orlando Magic Daily. “It just really tells me what position I’m at. I try to go out there and be the best I can be and use all the tools that I have.”"

Georges-Hunt hoped to show his versatility throughout the week and certainly did that. He guarded four different positions at various points, including a run at power forward. That is not likely where he will find a home, but he proved himself plenty capable of using his strength to guard bigger players and he had the smarts to guard virtually any player on the perimeter.

With Orlando switching almost every perimeter screen throughout Summer League, the combination of Marcus Georges-Hunt, Jonathan Isaac and Wesley Iwundu proved especially difficult to crack. That is exactly the kind of defense coach Frank Vogel is thinking about for the team next season.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

Georges-Hunt has that versatile ability. And he has already shown he has a versatile offensive set. For him, like most young players, he has to find consistency at the NBA level. For Georges-Hunts specifically with his shot.

There is still a long way to go for Georges-Hunt to crack the rotation. But Summer League provided plenty to be excited about.

"“I feel like I can play a big role on this team,” Georges-Hunt told Orlando Magic Daily. “I can bring defensive energy and do all the little things. People don’t realize all the little things add up. Sometimes it does not show up on the stat sheet but the coaches and the people who know basketball know this guy can do the little things and get the job done.”"

That versatility and those intangibles are what could get him his spot in the NBA. And he knows that.

Georges-Hunt spent his time since the season ended working in Orlando at the Magic’s practice facility. That is part of the advantage of being under contract to end the season.

It is clear so much of his game has gotten better just from that work alone. It is clear he is part of the family.

And he began showing that reward and promise to the Magic last week. Georges-Hunt rose to the challenge and pressure of Summer League.

"“He has risen to the challenge defensively,” Forcier told Orlando Magic Daily. “He has competed every minute he has been on the floor. He brings a physicality to the game that we appreciate. He really guards. He gets down and guards. He can switch and cover a lot of positions. I just love his competitive motor.”"

Georges-Hunt showed that all off in his week at Summer League. He proved he has some versatility to defend multiple positions. He showed he has a solid foundation to grow from. This week and his presence on the team put Georges-Hunt squarely in the Magic’s plans for next season.

Next: Orlando Magic learn a lot in Summer League

Georges-Hunt is part of the new wave of versatile players the Magic are looking to find and implement defensively. If Georges-Hunt can translate any of his play from Summer League to the NBA, he will be a serviceable bench player for the Magic.