Orlando Magic G-League Update: Chuma Okeke recovering quietly

The Orlando Magic will give unsigned rookie Chuma Okeke a year to recover and get healthy. (Photo by Sean Berry/NBAE via Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic will give unsigned rookie Chuma Okeke a year to recover and get healthy. (Photo by Sean Berry/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Orlando Magic draft pick Chuma Okeke is not back yet. But his recovery is coming along nicely and Lakeland Magic teammates seem eager to see him play.

Jonathan Isaac gave an AMA on the Orlando Magic’s subreddit back in December.

Back then, his season was still seemingly ascendant. So much was in front of him. So much still remained in front of the Orlando Magic — more than simple survival like it has for the last month. He was excited for the present as much as the future.

Amid the questions fans asked him, they asked him something that was a bit more behind the scenes. A question the Magic probably would not even answer.

A user asked Jonathan Isaac about Chuma Okeke‘s progress recovering from a torn ACL suffered in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Isaac responded:

"Chuma is my guy! He is making great progress and I look forward to watching him play the game he loves again!"

And that was it. The last anybody heard about Chuma Okeke’s recovery or his progress to return to the Lakeland Magic.

He is not technically a part of the Orlando Magic right now. He never signed his rookie contract. He is a member of the Lakeland Magic. Most of his work occurs in Lakeland in the back rooms of the RP Funding Center.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

Magic teammates indeed have some contact with the soon-to-be rookie forward. But his rehab and recovery are happening quietly. Even quietly from Lakeland Magic teammates.

Nathan King of Auburn Sports was at the Amway Center for a set of games recently. He spoke with Josh Magette while he was with the Orlando Magic and Al-Farouq Aminu and Jonathan Isaac, both players who are close to Chuma Okeke personally, about the Magic’s draft pick.

"“He’s been great,” Josh Magette told King. “He’s getting closer to getting back on the court and practicing with us (Lakeland). He’s got a great attitude, really professional for being such a young guy. He comes in and is very supportive and engaged during our games.“He’s a guy you want around.”"

It is good to hear that Okeke has integrated himself with the team as much as he can and is an eager and excited teammate, even if he has not stepped onto the floor with them yet. That attitude will take Okeke a long way in his rehab and when he steps back onto the floor.

Magette said Okeke is around the team for games and has been a good teammate. But he is still on his own rehabbing away from the team. He is not involved with practices on a daily basis. He watches the team go through shootarounds and cheers for the team at home games at the RP Funding Center.

It is not entirely clear how close Okeke is to his return to the court. But these sound like encouraging signs for the soon-to-be-Magic rookie.

Okeke originally tore his ACL on March 29 in the NCAA Tournament against the North Carolina Tar Heels. It was during one of Okeke’s best games of his two years with the Auburn Tigers. He scored 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Auburn would win that game and advance to the Final Four.

The Magic surprisingly made Okeke the 16th overall pick in the draft. Even more surprisingly, they opted to defer his rookie year. He signed with the Lakeland Magic to rehab keeping him off the roster and away from his first-round rookie contract.

The plan is to have him join the team next year.

The question is whether he will join Lakeland on the court this year. From what Magette and others say about him, it certainly looks like he is on his way to a return before the end of the year.

Melvin Frazier gets extended run in Lakeland

Melvin Frazier did not accompany the Orlando Magic on the West Coast road trip. He actually just rejoined the team Sunday for the first time, checking in for his first NBA action since Jan. 8.

Melvin Frazier has still not played a ton of meaningful minutes, getting a short run during the team’s spate of injuries in early January. Even then he was not getting a long look. Coach Steve Clifford tightened his rotation and Frazier remained on the outside.

But the Orlando Magic still seems invested in his growth. And he has shown signs of life with the minutes he got while hanging with the Lakeland Magic during the West Coast road trip.

In nine games since his last NBA appearance, Frazier is averaging 16.1 points per game on 47.2-percent shooting. He added 7.0 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game.

Frazier entered the draft known for his defense. That certainly seems to be the case with how he has played. His scoring increasing (even at the G-League, which has some inflated stats anyway) is also encouraging.

However, Frazier still has to work on improving his shot. In that G-League run, Frazier made only 28.2 percent of his threes and 55.6 percent of his free throws. If Frazier wants to get any kind of run at the NBA level, he has to prove himself as an outside shooter first.

Still, Frazier put in some good work with the playing time he got with Lakeland. The trip seemed well worth it.

Josh Magette hits second all-time in G-League assists

Josh Magette’s time on the Orlando Magic’s main roster was short-lived. With all the injuries at point guard, the Magic used up all their two-way contract days fairly quickly. Then he signed a 10-day contract and did not even finish that with the team before returning to Lakeland.

All the while, Magette has continued to put up some crazy numbers at the G-League level.  Friday, Magette set his own mark becoming scone all-time in assists for the G-League.


Magette is averaging 20.4 points per game and 9.7 assists per game. He has not missed a beat since returning to Lakeland full time. And he is a big reason why Lakeland is back in position to make the playoffs yet again.

Next. Orlando Magic facing identity crisis at season crossroad. dark

If a team is looking for a point guard to put on a 10-day contract, Magette is someone they should call.