2024 Orlando Magic Player Outlook: Admiral Schofield sticks because he can do it all

Mar 28, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Santi Aldama (7) and Orlando Magic forward Admiral Schofield (25) battle for position during the second half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 28, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Santi Aldama (7) and Orlando Magic forward Admiral Schofield (25) battle for position during the second half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic have a philosophy, for better or for worse.

They value versatility. They want players who not only play multiple positions but have the skill set of multiple positions.

Even from two preseason games, it is clear they want to be the kind of team where any player can initiate the offense. And the thing that makes this team unique is having two 6-foot-10 forwards in Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner who are as adept at scoring as they are at times playing point guard and initiating actions.

These are the traits the Magic look for. This is the heart of who this team wants to be.

And that goes for every part of the roster. They want players who have these qualities even if they may not be at the same elite level.

That is probably why they continue to stick with Admiral Schofield.

Admiral Schofield is still putting all his skills together to try to break through to a permanent spot in the NBA. His versatility remains valuable for an Orlando Magic team that centers that as their identity.

Schofield made the curious decision to sign back with the Magic on a two-way contract after playing under a two-way contract for most of last season and then getting upgraded to a full contract by the end of the season.

Knowing who Schofield is and the skills he brings to the table and his versatility when his numbers is called makes it all make sense.

Schofield’s role on this suddenly deeper team is not going to change much. The Magic know that if they need Schofield, he can guard any position on the wing. Maybe even play some small-ball center if the other team goes small.

That is all they want from him. And they know exactly what they will get from him. Schofield is not going to ask for much more.

"“I’m a competitive guy,” Schofield said at media day. “That’s one thing all my teammates would tell you that I’m one of the most competitive guys on the team. Not just for myself but for my teammates to make them better. It’s always opportunity in the NBA. You just have to be ready to take advantage of it. I’ve been working really hard. But I understand what my role is on this team. When things change, I’ll be ready for it.”"

Certainly, the Magic could use more versatile players and competitors for practices. Depth gives teams the ability to sharpen the team with competitive and difficult practices. That is something the Magic hope happened.

There just is not as much of an avenue to play for Schofield as there was in previous years considering how much deeper this team is. But if the forward depth does go away, Schofield is someone the Magic can rely on. And someone the team is clearly comfortable with.

Last year, he averaged 4.2 points per game in 37 appearances averaging 12.2 minutes per game. His best scoring performances for the Magic last year were 13-point performances against the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors. He played only one game for the Lakeland Magic, scoring 17 points in that game.

Schofield does not have a super-refined offensive game. He is not a natural scorer.

The biggest weakness in the game, and the reason why he likely has not stuck it out in the NBA, is his inconsistent 3-point shooting.

It has come a long way in his time with the Magic. He made 24 of 74 3-pointers last year. He is a career 32.2 percent 3-point shooter and has stayed at that average during his two seasons with the Magic.

His value comes from his defensive versatility. The Magic felt very comfortable having him defend any position on the floor. That is likely what they want in bringing him back.

At the end of the day, this is the core of who the Magic are. They want strong defenders as the baseline for their players. Everything else grows from that.

Schofield is not going to play much. The team has forwards ahead of him in Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner, of course, but also Jonathan Isaac, Joe Ingles and Chuma Okeke. The Magic dealt with a lot of injuries last year and that forced Schofield to play. That should not be the case this season.

Still, Orlando likely feels like Schofield has value beyond that in the locker room.

His Instagram account is Uncle Scho and that really does feel like what his value and his role might ultimately be for this team. He is a veteran on this team at 26 years old. And his experience does help him relate to teammates.

He said this leadership is part of his role for the team. Players look up to him.

"“I play a pretty big role without being on the floor,” Schofield said at media day. “For me it’s just about staying ready for when my opportunity comes. But being as supportive as I can and every opportunity I can for these guys. I think this year is going to be a very special year. We’ve got a lot of talent. We’ve got a lot of depth. It’s going to be about staying on top of guys and waiting for my opportunity but also holding guys to the standard coach wants them held to.”"

Schofield is not likely to play very much this season unless something goes horribly wrong. But the Magic know that Schofield will be ready when his number is called. And that is the most important thing for a player in his position.

So too is the fact Schofield can be inserted anywhere the Magic might need him whether that is in a game or a practice. That selflessness is what a two-way player needs to have.

Next. Outlook: Jeff Weltman's final season of evaluation. dark

Schofield’s future is still a bit uncertain. His time with the Magic cannot last forever. But he will give the team that specific need for now.