Orlando Magic forward Caleb Houstan deserves more attention

Caleb Houstan has been one of the standouts of Summer League and signed his contract with the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Caleb Houstan has been one of the standouts of Summer League and signed his contract with the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

Caleb Houstan was picked in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic with the 32nd pick.

In the days running up to the 19-year-old forward got some buzz as a potential first-round sleeper considering he was ranked 11th nationally in the class of 2022 by 247Sports.com coming out of the vaunted Montverde Academy in Central Florida.

He checked all the boxes for the kind of player that makes it in the NBA. He has good positional length at 6-foot-8, 205 pounds and he was an expert shooter, one of the things he showed in his lone year at Michigan.

In the midst of a Magic roster full of promising young players, it is easy for Houstan to get lost in the shuffle. As a second-round pick too, Houstan has a long way to go.

But why aren’t more people talking about him? Why can’t Houstan push his way into a bigger role on the roster as this young team grows?

The Magic certainly seem to believe he can be a contributor, signing him to a four-year deal to lock down the early years of his development (according to Spotrac, the first two years of that deal are fully guaranteed).

There is a lot of excitement for the young players on the Orlando Magic’s roster. The addition of second-round pick Caleb Houstan should add to that excitement too. He is not someone to get lost in the shuffle.

Houstan has all the skills the team needs.

His capability to get a quick shot off and create space makes him a valuable player, and with his ability to improve, he has a really good chance of making an impact on the Magic’s roster.

Despite some struggles and meager numbers, Houstan had an impressive first year as a freshman that suggests he can step in and play a role quickly for this team.

Starting all of his 32 games as a freshman last season, he was able to average 10.1 points per game and 4.0 rebounds per game. He shot 35.5-percent from beyond the arc on 5.0 3-point attempts per game as he made his way at Michigan as a 3-point specialist.

There are clear weaknesses. His shooting on the move was a bit suspect. But when he was able to get his feet set and shoot off kick outs, there were not many college players better. With the Magic likely moving him off the ball, he should get more of those opportunities.

In Summer League those were certainly noticeable too. He averaged 8.5 points per game in his four-game Summer League run, shooting just 7 for 28 from beyond the arc. Most of those 3-point makes came in a 20-point performance in his Summer League debut against the Houston Rockets, a game where he had Magic roster players like Paolo Banchero, R.J. Hampton and Devin Cannady setting him up.

He struggled a bit more when he had to create his own shot later in Summer League. But he still had plenty of impressive moments.

He is not a player to miss, even if he was not chosen in the first round.

When Caleb Houstan was drafted, there were mixed emotions as he does not have the stats Paolo Banchero. His numbers did not impress at Michigan and there were some clear struggles. That is how a 5-star recruit falls to the second round in just a year.

This does not mean Houstan lost his chance to make an impact. With him being capable of getting off a quick shot as he displayed in his game against the Rockets during Summer League, and again displayed his shooting efforts while playing for Michigan.

Being that Houstan is from Michigan, he should fit right in. He had a few good games during the Summer League but also struggled with confidence in the adjustment of playing for the league.

It is easy to understand how a bit of confidence can be lost during the transition. And this will be a season of growth with a loaded roster ahead of him.

He still has plenty of room to do so, and he has already shown his growth in the Summer League, having some high-scoring games. But again he is going to have to find his confidence and be able to develop.

Houstan has the ability to shoot the basketball, and the Magic need help with their three-point shots. He is greatly able to space the floor, which is a huge bonus to get his quick shot off.

In addition to his offensive game, he was drafted with a good history of defense too. He has great instincts to intercept the passing lane, he has the size to defend multiple positions and he could hold his ground.

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If Houstan continues to prove he can make large improvements to his offensive game, he may be able to snag a spot on Orlando’s roster this coming season. Fans want to see Houstan contribute to the Magic, but have some doubts after seeing a few of his Summer League games.