Orlando Magic value veteran know-how in Admiral Schofield

Admiral Schofield is returning to the Orlando Magic as the team values his veteran know-how in the two-way spot. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Admiral Schofield is returning to the Orlando Magic as the team values his veteran know-how in the two-way spot. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

At this point in the offseason, the Orlando Magic are saying goodbye to only two players.

Robin Lopez signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers to make room for Paolo Banchero. And Ignas Brazdeikis is headed to Lithuania on a new deal, not returning to another two-way deal.

The Magic’s roster is full and the team will have to cut one of their contracted players after signing Caleb Houstan to a reported four-year deal. Only Devin Cannady has a non-guaranteed contract.

Whoever the Magic bring in for training camp — they can carry up to 20 players total through the preseason– there is really only one spot that is up for grabs. The final two-way contract for the team.

Orlando has opted to fill the other one with a familiar face.

The Magic announced Friday they have signed Admiral Schofield to a two-way contract, bringing back the 6-foot-5 forward in the same role they used him for much of last year.

The Orlando Magic are bringing back Admiral Schofield on a two-way contract as the team values veteran know-how in their two-way contracts.

Schofield was a solid, if sometimes unspectacular, addition to the Magic last year. He averaged 3.8 points per game in 38 appearances for the Magic last year, shooting 41.9-percent from the floor and 32.9-percent from beyond the arc. He added 2.3 rebounds per game.

In 12 games with the Lakeland Magic, he averaged 14.4 points per game on 40.8-percent from the floor and 32.9-percent from beyond the arc. The nature of the Magic’s season — from COVID bouts (Schofield was added on a two-way deal in December following the team’s COVID outbreak) and the injuries that hit the roster — had Schofield playing sparingly on the Magic’s roster.

In two Summer League games, Schofield scored 18 total points — most of them in the win over the Sacramento Kings — and shot 4 for 9 from the floor (4 for 8 from beyond the arc). That is not nearly enough to say anything other than he was solid for the team.

Orlando has used its two-way contract more to add a veteran presence to the Lakeland Magic.

Perhaps because of the team’s youth already, Orlando has not looked to use its two-way contracts to find young, up-and-coming players. Instead, the team has sought players who could provide stability to Lakeland and dependability when called onto the main roster.

That probably describes Schofield well. He is a solid defender, if a bit undersized to play power forward as he did through much of Summer League. He is a decent shooter, but not enough that defenses could not leave him if they needed to crack the paint.

The jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none moniker can be seen as a detriment to high-value prospects. But for role players and guys at the end of the bench, it can be a big support. The Magic can play Schofield in any situation and trust that he will fill his role admirably. So long as expectations are fairly low.

This is not why the Magic are bringing Schofield back. It is more because of that overall philosophy on their two-way contracts.

It is because of the speech he gave to the Summer League team before they played their first game:

Schofield is the guy who has had to work hard just to get a nibble at an NBA spot. He shares that experience with other Summer League players — players he was essentially competing for a spot for — and embraces everything the Magic are trying to build and work with.

The Magic turned to Schofield because he has always been willing to put the work in, he knows how to do whatever the Magic need from him and he knows exactly what the Magic will expect from him.

That familiarity is something Orlando clearly values in its roster building. But Schofield supports other larger goals for the team.

This probably crystallizes what the Magic envision from their two-way contracts better than anything. And probably points to the direction the team may go with its lone remaining two-way spot.

The Magic value veteran know-how and consistency in their two-way spots. They want to know exactly what they are getting if they have to break glass and use their two-way players. They are not looking for players who could grow into the roster.

Eventually, these players move on. The impact they make is to fill the minutes the Magic need filled throughout the season and provide veteran leadership and stability to the Lakeland roster when they play there.

At least there seems to be a clear strategy behind what Jeff Weltman and his staff seek from this tool. It may not be what everyone wants to see the team use for this role, but there is at least this consistency.

Schofield certainly fits that. He was originally a mid-second-round pick as a seeming player out of position. He plays like a power forward but does not have the size or the shooting chops to make up for it.

Instead, his value is that he is just solid at everything for the level of the league he is at. And Orlando knows exactly what the team will get from him if he has to play. He is indeed a high-level G-League player and is still seeking his place in the NBA. For now, it is from the Magic knowing they can put him anywhere.

That leaves only one roster spot in question for training camp at the moment. The Magic will have to cut one contracted player and fill that final two-way player.

It will likely be another experienced player the Magic could try to rely on when the season begins.

The safest bet, and perhaps the most convenient move, would be to waive Devin Cannady and put him in that two-way spot.

Cannady too would fit the Magic’s philosophy of having experienced players in that two-way spot. Cannady has already won a G-League Finals MVP, having helped Lakeland win the 2021 G-League championship in their bubble at Disney. Like Schofield, he can draw from his experience and his grind to reach the NBA to impart wisdom on younger players on both rosters.

But there are other options too.

Justin James was a G-League veteran who joined the Magic’s Summer League team. He was solid in his Summer League run, averaging 13.0 points per game while logging minutes in all five games (he played the majority of his time after Banchero’s exit).

The Magic could easily go elsewhere if they are looking for veteran G-League players to fill that two-way spot too.

But this is how the Magic want to use this two-way tool. They have clearly signaled that with keeping Schofield around.

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They want veteran experience and know-how from the two-way spot. They want players who know exactly what the team will ask of them. Right or wrong this is the direction the Magic are headed back in by keeping Schofield.