Orlando Magic continue seeking a point guard band-aid with Chasson Randle

The Orlando Magic added Chasson Randle to the roster to give some stability to the point guard position. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
The Orlando Magic added Chasson Randle to the roster to give some stability to the point guard position. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic were already desperate even before Cole Anthony sprained his shoulder Tuesday against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The team previously tried Aaron Gordon as the backup point guard before his sprained ankle knocked him out of the lineup. The team was not willing to use Jordan Bone from the two-way spot and went searching on their already-depleted roster for support.

They eventually thought they found it in picking up Frank Mason from the G-League. The G-League MVP was going to give some stability.

And then he sprained his groin in Thursday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors after just four appearances. The Magic again were platooning players.

They played the final three games of the road trip — really the final 3.5 games — with just one point guard. That came only after Michael Carter-Williams returned from a five-week absence in Friday’s win over the Sacramento Kings.

The Magic were still playing with one point guard and it showed as Terrence Ross and Dwayne Bacon struggled to get the Magic consistently into their offense. Even coach Steve Clifford said the team had to simplify its sets so much that they were essentially running five-man motion sets — essentially secondary transition sets — or plays designed to get the ball to Nikola Vucevic or spring Terrence Ross open.

The Magic still needed a point guard.

And so they are trying once again to put a band-aid on the problem that sprung up when Markelle Fultz tore his ACL and only got worse when Michael Carter-Williams, Cole Anthony and Frank Mason all got hurt. The team needs a point guard but does not have the roster space to add a veteran.

So once again, the Magic are swapping out two-way point guards.

The Orlando Magic signed G-League star Chasson Randle to help stabilize their point guard position after Frank Mason’s injury completely depleted the team’s depth.

With Frank Mason still nursing that injured groin, the Magic returned home and signed OKC Blue guard Chasson Randle to replace Mason (cutting him to free the two-way slot).

Chasson Randle is an experienced guard from the NBA’s fringes, averaging 5.3 points per game in 1,082 total minutes across 78 games in three seasons since 2017. He played three games for the Warriors last year, scoring five points in 40 minutes, missing all four of his field goals.

Hardly enough time to get a feel for what the 6-foot-2 point guard.

With the G-League starting its season last week, Randle was starting to impress at that level again. He averaged 20.0 points per game while shooting 55.6-percent from the floor with 2.0 assists per game.

He has averaged at least 20.0 points per game in all three of his seasons in the G-League and has long been considered one of the best G-League point guards.

But notably, he is a scorer. He is bigger than Mason but good at a lot of the same things. He is able to get to the basket and finish at the rim.

Randle will not be much of a playmaker. And while he can hit an outside shot, that is not his forte.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

There is a reason Randle has stayed on the fringes of the NBA even with some extended looks — most notably making 49 appearances for the Washington Wizards in 2019. This is probably not a player that teams should rely on for more than just spot appearances in the rotation.

The Magic, like the similarly positioned Mason, are going to be forced to play Randle and play him major minutes as the team’s primary backup point guard. That is simply asking too much.

But the reality of the Magic’s season and the injuries the team is facing will force them to go this route yet again. The Magic simply do not have any other area to go to shape the roster or find a more suitable replacement.

The Magic are playing everyone on their roster at the moment. They have no room for error. There is no one to cut to make room for a veteran who can better hold the spot down and help the team afloat. The Magic are likely just hoping that Anthony’s recovery will be sped up so they can get back to their neutral with Carter-Williams and Anthony holding the spot down.

Generally, Orlando is hoping for players to get back healthy again. That is about the only thing holding the team back from trying to make its move and finish the first half of the season on a stronger note.

Getting Evan Fournier back will undoubtedly improve the offense by adding another outside shooter. Al-Farouq Aminu’s return will give the team a more steady hand and veteran defender to boost the team (even with his prolonged absence). And Anthony’s return will bring stability to the point guard spot.

It has been asking a lot for the Magic to play lineups where Ross and Bacon are handling the ball. But that has been done by necessity because the team just had nowhere else to turn and could not ask players to play 48 minutes per game — especially with Carter-Williams coming back from an injury himself.

The Magic’s heavy minutes are already paying a toll. The Magic looked tired and worn down in the loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

Randle for now is meant to stabilize the team and give them someone who at least understands how to get players organized and into offensive sets quickly. That is likely all the Magic will ask of him for now. He will get simplistic offensive sets as he understands the offense and looks for his way to score and contribute.

But if he can simply run the team and get players like Ross and Bacon back to their regular spots and in their regular rhythm, that will help the team and give them all they need.

Next. Chuma Okeke will be starting sooner than later. dark

The Magic are just looking for stability. And with so many injuries at point guard, that has been severely lacking.