3 free agent point guards the Orlando Magic can target in 2021

Veteran guard Isaiah Thomas is reportedly looking to get back into the NBA. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Veteran guard Isaiah Thomas is reportedly looking to get back into the NBA. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic are still alive.

Somehow that Magic have found their footing after dropping six straight games, winning two of their last four entering an extended period at home at the Amway Center. The team still finds itself in the playoff hunt despite everything that has happened in the first quarter of the season.

After a promising start to the 2021 season led by Markelle Fultz and Nikola Vucevic, the team lost all momentum when a bizarre play cost Fultz his season after he tore his ACL.

The Magic were the second-best team in the Eastern Conference and have now dropped to the periphery of the playoff picture after the devastating injury to one of the primary leaders of the team. They have only won 20 percent of their games after the injury.

That percentage of wins will not get the Magic into the Playoffs this year although they currently sit at ninth in the Eastern Conference despite all the injuries.

The Orlando Magic have been thin at point guard since Markelle Fultz’s injury. While they have platooned players to fill the role, a veteran acquisition might be the best way forward.

The team has clearly needed to add some depth to get through this season. The Magic have been running Aaron Gordon as their backup point guard since the Fultz injury. That has gotten the team through some of these games, but it hardly feels sustainable.

Orlando hopes that Michael Carter-Williams will be able to return soon and provide some relief as a primary ball handler. And Cole Anthony has made some serious strides organizing the team.

But undoubtedly, the team could use a temporary solution at point guard to get them through the year and help with their playoff push. The Magic may need to look at attempting to trade for an expiring point guard to weather the storm of injuries.

Orlando is in a bit of a roster crunch when it comes to adding new players. The team has 15 players under contract at the moment. In order to make room for a new player or to sign a player, the Magic will have to cut a player already on their roster.

It makes it much more likely the Magic might hope for a third two-way spot to fill a temporary point guard need or seek some relief in a trade.

There are a few point guards in the NBA who could help fill in the role Fultz played however, there may not be a point guard available that can consistently penetrate the defense and get players involved as well as he does.

One point guard that is a free agent is Isaiah Thomas.

Thomas was an MVP candidate as a Boston Celtic back in 2017. He averaged 28.9 points per game that season and almost single-handedly took Boston to the Finals if it was not for LeBron James and a bothersome hip that slowed him down despite his heroic efforts that postseason.

Thomas is definitely not the player today he was in 2017. And this is not the first time Magic fans have pined for Thomas as a low-risk but potentially high-reward signing.

But he could help replace some of Fultz’s production and the huge hole in the team’s ability to score. The last season he played he only averaged 12.2 points per game and has been a free agent since doing so.

Thomas seems eager to get back into the NBA. It feels like it is inevitable that a team will take a chance on him for the stretch run.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

With so much pressure placed on Anthony’s shoulders, Thomas could come in and relieve some of the pressure Anthony is facing in his first year.

Thomas’ size remains the biggest question mark. And he has always been a score-first point guard who can dominate the ball — even last year with the Washington Wizards, he had a 24.1-percent usage rate, the lowest since his second season in the league.

Another point guard who could help fill in the role Markelle Fultz played would be
Emmanuel Mudiay.

Mudiay has had some ups and downs in his short NBA career but is a score-first point guard the organization could most definitely benefit from.

Last year Mudiay only averaged 7.4 points per game, 2.1 assists per game and 2.3 rebounds per game in 15.7 minutes per game for the Utah Jazz. He has never been the scoring threat from the perimeter, or the MVP candidate that Thomas has been, but still would bring significant value to a franchise that lost their starting point guard.

Mudiay has been in the league for a while, but he never developed much consistency. Mudiay has bounced around several teams showing some promise, but struggling to put it all together. His shooting has been the biggest concern, but the career 32.5-percent shooter made 34.5-percent of his threes last year.

Another point guard the Magic should take a peep at is Shabazz Napier.

Napier has already had the experience of being in Magic blue before and the organization may need him as an insurance policy now that Fultz is done for the year.

Last year, Napier averaged 11.6 points per game, 3.8 assists per game and 2.4 rebounds per game in limited time for the Wizards. He has always been a player who can score in a backup role and would be a nice addition to the roster. He can score off of the dribble and create for others but is undersized so a lot of his cording comes from the perimeter.

There are clearly some veteran options out there if the Magic find their current point guard situation untenable to keep them in the playoff race. These are just a few of the top point guards that are available in the NBA and if the Magic are trying to replace Fultz production, they may need to look in their direction.

But this kind of decision is not likely to come for some time. The Magic’s full roster and dangerous position close to the luxury tax line will likely keep the team conservative as it approaches free agents.

Next. Orlando Magic struggling to hold onto their identity. dark

The Magic are likely to work with what they have at the moment.