Karim Mane, Jordan Bone take road less traveled to Orlando Magic

Jordan Bone's speed has kept him on NBA radars and given him a two-way contract with the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Jordan Bone's speed has kept him on NBA radars and given him a two-way contract with the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Both Karim Mane and Jordan Bone are players who fit the Orlando Magic’s eye. As two-way players, they face a long road to crack the roster.

No one would blame you if you have never heard of Karim Mane.

The Orlando Magic’s two-way player took a somewhat untraditional route to the NBA. He did not go to college in the U.S., staying in Canada and playing for Vanier.

There are not many players who make the leap from Canada’s college system to the NBA. In fact, no player has ever been drafted going straight from Canada to the NBA without going into the NCAA first.

Going this path was something of a matter of faith and belief to get here. Mane got himself a chance in signing a two-way contract with the Magic.

"“I feel like it was the best decision and still the best decision to make the jump straight out of CEGEB,” Mane said after practice Wednesday. “I did because I’m all about development. I knew that once I got into an environment like this and played against the best guys in the world it would make me better. That’s what I’m all about. Obviously  coming in here to training camp, I see I made the best decision for myself.”"

But he would be a solid choice to be the first to make it. He was a two-time All-Canadian player in college in addition to being a five-star recruit by Rivals and Scout coming out of high school.

He averaged 15.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.1 steals in the RSEQ league. He led the league in assists and ranked in the top 10 in scoring and steals.

Mane is not expected to be a big offensive force. He is described as a streaky shooter and his most immediate impact will surely be on the defensive end where he can use his length and instincts to make an impact with pure effort.

So far, Mane said the most difficult thing to adjust to was the speed of the game. That is true for almost any rookie. But coming from the skill level Mane was playing against it is a huge jump. Especially without the benefit of a Summer League or mini-camp to get there.

Mane is facing the same deficits as the other rookies on the roster. His path to get here was just one that was less well-tread.

Still, the Magic saw something they liked — namely that other-worldly length and a penchant for playing defense — that seemed good enough to take the risk.

"“Karim is doing fine,” Clifford said after practice Wednesday. “This is obviously a big adjustment for any young player. He is a phenomenal worker and very bright. He has a natural energy level when he is on the floor. These first few weeks are tough for all of the younger players, but I think he is doing a very good job.”"

The Magic have not been afraid to make investments in players from far-flung places. They also signed Khem Birch after he played for several years internationally.

Birch, who like Mane is from Quebec, has been a big boost for Mane to guide him and help him understand what the Magic are about. Mane said that veteran leadership made him a lot more comfortable acclimating to the league.

Still, he is making sure he puts in all the work, tagging along with Birch on any extra workouts he can get in. He knows that he has to carve his own path to make the roster more permanently and this two-way contract is merely a chance.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

Jordan Bone took a more conventional path to the NBA.

He averaged 13.5 points per game and shot a 52.8-percent effective field goal percentage in his junior year at Tennessee. That got him a look in the G-League where he averaged 17.5 points per game and shot 38.3-percent from beyond the arc for a 51.0-percent effective field goal percentage for the Grand Rapids Drive.

He picked up a cup of coffee in the NBA, scoring 12 points in 53 minutes across 10 games for the Detroit Pistons last year.

Jordan Bone was scouted as a speedy and athletic defender and someone with a developing but consistent shot. Bone registered the fastest time in the shuttle run (2.78 seconds) and lane agility drill (9.97 seconds) at the NBA Draft Combine for the class of 2019. he also had the fourth-fastest three-quarter court sprint (3.08 seconds).

Bone was drafted for his speed above all else.

Again, he is a player that fits the Magic eye for young, raw prospects. For Bone, it is still about finding the right environment to put all the pieces together.

"“It’s a very selfless organization,” Bone said after practice Wednesday. “You can just tell everybody does whatever it takes to win. It’s very comforting and gives you confidence to understand that everybody is on the same page. They’ve welcomed me with open arms. We just want to succeed. I feel like there are no egos. Everyone just wants to win. That’s something you want to be a part of.”"

The Magic have not used their two-way players a ton in the short history of the contract status. Players like Amile Jefferson, B.J. Johnson and Josh Magette all tore up the G-League but struggled to find traction on the Magic roster.

It is not yet clear whether the Lakeland Magic will even play a full season — the league is considering to play its season in a bubble but it is not clear which teams have agreed to participate. So this year’s two-way contracts might be limited by games rather than days with their NBA teams.

It is not clear what the final decision would be. That might make keeping a player like Mane around worth the risk and the chance to develop him.

Certainly, if two-way players are going to get more opportunities to stay on NBA rosters, then taking a chance on a player they can truly mold and fits their eye anyway is worth the investment.

The hope is that the Magic can get one of their two-way contracts to graduate to the main roster. Maybe this weird season will finally get them to do that by keeping them a little bit closer to home.

dark. Next. Notice for Orlando Magic will only come with wins

It will be yet to see whether this road leads any of these players to NBA security.