Orlando Magic giving Devin Cannady his chance on the roster

Devin Cannady made his mark leading the Lakeland Magic to a G-League title. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Devin Cannady made his mark leading the Lakeland Magic to a G-League title. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports /

The last impression Orlando Magic fans had of Devin Cannady was a quick scoring strike in the team’s final scrimmage against the Atlanta Hawks.

Cannady was always going to be an Exhibit 10 player, but the fact he got some playing time toward the end of the team’s final scrimmage and hit a few jumpers, playing ahead of two-way contract player Karim Mane, raised some eyebrows and turned some heads.

Everyone would eagerly watch to see how he performed in the G-League to see if there was a chance for him to get called up to the main roster.

Cannady did not disappoint there. It was only a matter of time before an NBA team came calling.

That team was finally the Magic with the team returning home from a five-game West Coast trip and looking ahead to a four-game homestand. Cannady signed a 10-day contract with the team as the Magic hope to bolster their guard depth amidst another rush of injuries and illnesses gutting the roster.

The Orlando Magic are giving Lakeland Magic star Devin Cannady a shot on the main roster, calling up the G-League Finals MVP after trying him out in training camp.

No one will say that Cannady does not deserve the shot at an NBA roster.

"“This is a great feeling,” Cannady said after practice Tuesday. “I worked for this. It was a goal o mine to get to this level. I had a great training camp with them. I love the staff here, the coaching staff and players. I’m excited to get going and be a part of this rebuild for the next 10 days and make the most of this opportunity.”"

He looked ready for the league throughout his run in the G-League, averaging 11.7 points per game and shooting 40.0-percent (28 for 70) from beyond the arc. He upped his game in the playoffs, averaging 15.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game while making 9 of 20 shots from long range (45.0-percent).

He was named the G-League Finals MVP after scoring 22 points and tallying six rebounds and four assists in the Lakeland Magic’s win over the Delaware Blue Coats.

Coach Steve Clifford said Devin Cannady jumped right into the team’s practice Tuesday upon signing his 10-day contract. He will add some range shooting and the Magic liked him and what he brought to the team during the team’s training camp.

Cannady, for his part, said much of the terminology and sets the team ran is similar to what they ran in the G-League, hopefully creating a smooth transition for him onto the roster.

"“He had a good year,” coach Steve Clifford said after practice Tuesday. “Obviously, it makes sense for us because he knows what we’re doing. He actually stepped in today. He’s very bright and he’s a very good competitor. I’d say most of it he was able to do pretty seamlessly.”"

The question then becomes how much will he play and where will he play?

At 6-foot-2, Cannady would seemingly be a more natural fit at point guard. However, he has played much of his career off the ball to this point and he is more effective as a spot-up shooter and scorer.

The Magic certainly need some help at the lead guard position, but also have a fairly full roster at the guard position once it gets healthy.

Michael Carter-Williams missed some time with a stomach illness, which coach Steve Clifford said Tuesday was much worse than originally thought with several players losing weight as a result of the illness, and Chasson Randle has been playing with a sore hamstring. It is not yet clear when either of them will be 100-percent cleared to return.

Carter-Williams and Randle both participated in the Magic’s practice. But the team is getting closer to seeing Cole Anthony return to the lineup too.

The Magic did not do contact in their practice Tuesday. Anthony could make his return in Wednesday’s game. Either way, he is getting closer to a return.

He would assumedly soak up a lot of the point guard minutes, leaving Carter-Williams, Randle and Cannady to eat up the minutes behind him.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

That alongside with R.J. Hampton, whom Steve Clifford has been hesitant to play at point guard, gives the Magic a huge grouping of guards they can play.

At least while the team fights through this stomach bug that made its way through the team, Cannady might get his opportunity. Or the team might trust him more than Randle, giving the two-way contract player a chance to recuperate and get healthy.

Those point guard reinforcements could be valuable for the next 10 days as the team tries to settle in at home.

Clifford has never been shy about playing two ball handlers at the same time and it is starting to feel like this might be a roster construction philosophy the Magic are following with the collection of young ballhandlers they have amassed of late.

Cannady might end up being a test for the kinds of sets they could run with multiple ball handlers at the guard spot on the floor at all times.

For Cannady though, this was the culmination of hard work and a bet he made on himself. He turned down multiple offers from teams overseas to try the G-League and get back to the NBA. He clearly made his impact with Lakeland and an impression with Orlando.

"“I know the work that I put in, the amount of detail and focus I put into this game, I believe in that,” Cannady said after practice Tuesday. “I knew there was a good opportunity after training camp to be with Lakeland and to make a run for a championship under Stan Heath, which we did, and continue to build confidence in myself for this opportunity. I’m ready to go.”"

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Every 10-day contract is an opportunity to make an impression. Cannady will have to fight for his chance in a busy backcourt. But it is all there for him.