Orlando Magic add some extra shooting in Mychal Mulder

The Orlando Magic bolstered their point guard rotation adding Mychal Mulder to the fold on a two-way contract. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
The Orlando Magic bolstered their point guard rotation adding Mychal Mulder to the fold on a two-way contract. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

One thing that has characterized the Orlando Magic through the early part of the season — and maybe for the last decade is their lack of shooting.

The Magic have been short on shooting and have seemingly ignored the need through several NBA Drafts. It is still a huge need on the roster, even if the Magic have plenty of willing and improving 3-point shooters.

The Magic need shooters. And they added one to the end of their roster Tuesday, bolstering their defending champion G-League team.

Orlando signed Mychal Mulder to its final two-way spot, giving the team a full roster. Mulder is a knock-down shooter and a potential emergency ball-handler.

The Orlando Magic filled their final two-way spot, signing sharpshooter Mychal Mulder to bolster their shooting.

For a Magic team right now down both of their emergency ball-handlers in E’Twaun Moore (knee injury) and Michael Carter-Williams (offseason ankle surgery) and relying a lot on their end-of-bench players as others recover from injury, Mychal Mulder could potentially make an immediate impact.

Mulder has played two seasons in the NBA, both with the Golden State Warriors, with pretty good averages. He averaged 11.0 points per game and shot 30.8-percent on 7.8 3-point attempts per game in 29.1 minutes per game during the 2020 season. Mulder got pushed into the fray with all the injuries the Warriors had that season.

Last year, Mulder averaged 5.6 points per game and shot 39.6-percent from beyond the arc on 3.6 3-point attempts per game. He played only 12.8 minutes per game last year, probably moving into a more appropriate role.

The 6-foot-3 guard vacillates between the point guard and shooting guard position. He is not a great playmaker, but he has never really had the ball in his hands that way.

Mulder’s biggest asset is his shooting.

He made 56.3-percent of his pull-up 3-pointers last year and 38.1-percent of his catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. In the 2020 season, when his usage and shooter were way up with that opportunity, he made 50.0-percent of his pull-up 3-pointers and 30.6-percent of his catch-and-shoot threes.

Mulder is someone who will create his 3-pointers off his own dribble. Whether he can stick in the league will depend on whether he can hit those spot-up 3-pointers and defend well enough to stay on the floor.

At the very least this skill will be vital when he joins the Lakeland Magic’s roster — a roster that is already looking pretty stacked, including Magic training camp invitees Devin Cannady, Admiral Schofield and Jon Teske along with G-League stalwart B.J. Johnson.

Mulder was probably added to be a weapon for the G-League team. The two-way contract might well be a tool to give him a little bit more money to play in Lakeland and help them defend their title.

Still, undoubtedly, that shooting ability will be valuable to a Magic team with a startling lack of shooting at the moment.

In the early part of the season, Orlando is 28th in the league in field goal percentage at 40.5-percent and 25th in the league in 3-point field goal percentage at 31.4-percent.

Outside of Terrence Ross, who gets a lot of top-blocking to try to push him inside the 3-point line, nobody on the Magic is drawing much gravity. Defenses are going to pack the paint and dare Orlando to shoot from deep.

That does not mean the Magic do not have capable or confident shooters. Cole Anthony is certainly willing to let things fly. So is Jalen Suggs, who might get more respect from defenses if he continues to shoot and make 30-foot pull-ups. Chuma Okeke is a capable shooter in his second year. And Jonathan Isaac has had nothing to do but improve his 3-point stroke while rehabbing his knee injury.

Still, the Magic need shooting. And while their first two-way player in Ignas Brazdeikis has a shooting bent, he is not a complete knock-down shooter. This may be the margins of the roster, but if the Magic need to dip in, they have shooting available to them now.

And a pretty good shooter at that.

This is, of course, talking about someone at the end of the bench. This is not someone who should be playing meaningful minutes.

Right now, the Magic have only been able to run Anthony and Suggs at point guard with E’waun Moore and Carter-Williams out. So grabbing a third player capable of playing point guard, even if he is not much of an attacker or playmaker, makes sense. Just like it makes sense to keep him as a two-way player until Markelle Fultz’s inevitable return.

That is a good Band-Aid for the moment for the Magic. And gives them a shooter they desperately need to help space the floor a bit more.

Next. Orlando Magic are understanding their roles better. dark

Shooting will certainly be the big focus for the Magic once they settle on who their core will be. Adding a fringe player to support that cause will certainly help in the short- and long-term.