Orlando Magic depth chart taking shape as transaction period ends

The Los Angeles Clippers's DeAndre Jordan (6) defends against the Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic in the second quarter at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Clippers's DeAndre Jordan (6) defends against the Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic in the second quarter at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images) /

The NBA offseason is nearing the close of its busy season. The Orlando Magic have been done for a while and their depth chart is taking shape.

Offense, defense, defense and more defense.

The Orlando Magic‘s roster for the 2019 season is shaping up nicely. Orlando is not expected to make any additional moves after trading for a solid rotational power forward in Jarell Martin from the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday afternoon.

There are still some clear holes to fill and it is not particularly clear how the team will get that all done. This is an incomplete roster. And despite the most optimistic outlooks, the Playoffs seem like a perfect-case scenario.

The Magic will be a growing, developing team once again this coming season. That almost seems guaranteed with the youth on the roster.

Since the summer is nearly complete and eyes will turn to training camp in just a bit more than two months from now, a quick look at how the roster is shaping up is in order.

Here is what the training camp roster is looking like and the Magic’s very early depth chart:

Going into training camp, expect a fierce battle at the point guard position between D.J. Augustin and Jerian Grant.

Augustin is the better shooter and the most experienced of the Magic’s point guard options. In his 10th season in the NBA, he shot 41 percent from three on 3.6 attempts per game.

But the 6-foot-5 Grant is going into his fourth season and could have his breakout year after averaging 8.4 points and 4.6 assists in 22.8 minutes with the Chicago Bulls last season.

Isaiah Briscoe figures to have a shot at the starting spot as well after an impressive summer league in which he displayed an improved 3-point shot. Troy Caupain joins the roster on a two-way contract after a strong year with the Lakeland Magic.

Augustin is likely the starter on opening day as the incumbent and veteran stalwart. He is a much more reliable option than Grant, at least on paper. But Grant’s size is likely more likely the direction the team eventually wants to head.

For now, Augustin’s shooting and veteran leadership probably helps the starting lineup more.

The shooting guard position seems the most set group on the roster.

Evan Fournier is arguably the best shooter on the team. He will get the nod to start. Behind him are versatile wing players in Jonathon Simmons and Terrence Ross. Both those players will likely play both wing positions and could even start depending on how the Magic feel about Jonathan Isaac.

At this point of Fournier’s career, he is who he is. He has averaged 17 points per game the last two years. The team should expect the same kind of production next season.

Ross and Simmons will likely battle for minutes, maybe bleeding into the small forward position depending on how the Magic use Isaac next year. There will be a lot of competition on the wing positions. But both Ross and Simmons should see playing time next year off the bench, at the very least.

Ross started last season at small forward, but Simmons outplayed him and got the starting nod. Ross volunteered to come off the bench because of his slow offensive start. But his defensive positioning was vital to the team’s fast start.

Although Ross is the better shooter, he is extremely streaky.  When he is on, he is on. Ross once scored 51 points with the Toronto Raptors.

He lost his starting job last season because he was abysmal shooting the ball. Ross shot worse than 39 percent from the field and 32 percent from three, his lowest shooting percentages as a pro. His injury in November knocked him out for virtually the rest of the season.

Simmons is the better ball-handler and shot creator. In his third season in the league, he averaged 13.9 points per game. That was more than Ross has averaged during his seven-year NBA career.

Expect more offensive production from Wesley Iwundu after a strong Summer League. He showed improvement in his in-between game and creating off the dribble. Although, he still needs to work on his 3-point shooting.

Another player to watch on the wings is rookie Melvin Frazier will be the third small forward. He is ultra-athletic and has a nose for defense, but his poor shooting will not allow him to even sniff at playing the shooting guard position in the NBA. He may spend a lot of time in Lakeland to continue developing.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

Isaac figures to spend most of his time starting at small forward. He showed improved ball handling on the perimeter and shot creation from the wings. He had a nice two-dribble pull-up and mid-range game to match. He is still probably still a bit too slight to handle the post.

Isaac is an impressive player and could start alongside Gordon on the wing, but at this point of his career, he is not a better all-around player than Ross or Simmons. There is the possibility Isaac starts the year coming off the bench. And the Magic’s lack of depth at power forward will likely mean Isaac plays both forward positions.

That is ultimately what the Magic want from both Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon. For them to play together, they will have to move fluidly and seamlessly between the two forward roles.

Gordon is coming off his best year as a pro and is fresh off staring in the summer movie, Uncle Drew. With his new contract in tow, Gordon hopes to improve his efficiency and take over as the star of this team, building upon last year’s breakout performance.

The recently acquired Jarell Martin figures to be in the mix at power forward. He is more than a capable player himself. He averaged 7.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in 22.8 minutes with the Grizzlies last year.

Unsigned rookie Justin Jackson is the forgotten man because he did not play in the summer league as he is still recovering from a torn labrum in his shoulder. He is a three-and-D player, and his skill set should translate well into the NBA.

The position everyone wants to talk about is the Magic’s logjam at center. Orlando seems loaded with big men. There are at least three players the Magic want to play. And then a large contract albatross likely sitting out on the bench.

The starting center will undoubtedly be Nikola Vucevic, at least to start with. He remains the best player out of all the four centers listed on the roster. Before his injury in December, he was playing the best basketball of his career and is a reliable double-double machine and a solid passer out of the high post. The development of his 3-pointer added a new dimension to his game too.

Vucevic does not fit the profile for this team’s future. And his defense remains an issue. But Vucevic is reliable and solid for what he is. Orlando will want that rock to start the season.

Rookie Mohamed Bamba will back him up and get playing time because he is the future. He has a 7-foot-10 wingspan and a promising jumpshot. But Bamba needs time to grow. It feels like the Magic will bring him along slowly and put him in situations to succeed and learn. They should hope by the end of the season that Bamba will start and some of the center logjam issues will get resolved.

Khem Birch and Timofey Mozgov will battle for the third center spot. Birch impressed when he played last year. But Orlando will once again find it difficult to find him minutes. And, like Bamba, it will be tough to play him at power forward with his lack of athleticism.

New Magic coach Steve Clifford will have his work cut out for him to find a balance between offense and defense and give everyone adequate minutes.

It will be a tricky balance. This is a roster that still feels incomplete and still has a lot of holes. But there is some promise and there are some combinations to explore.

Next: Isaiah Briscoe intrigued with his versatility

Fortunately, there are still a few months to let the roster sort itself out.