Anthony Black should be part of Orlando Magic's Game 3 gameplan

The Orlando Magic have their back against the wall and will need to climb out of a 2-0 deficit. Using players like Anthony Black could be the right adjustment to bolster the bench and get on the board in the series.
Anthony Black has largely been out of the rotation since the All-Star Break. He could be a defensive weapon to unleash as the Orlando Magic get desperate for a win in Game 3.
Anthony Black has largely been out of the rotation since the All-Star Break. He could be a defensive weapon to unleash as the Orlando Magic get desperate for a win in Game 3. / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

In the Playoffs, young players are not normally called upon to give a boost. The moment gets a little big and in a series that is all about precision and locking into the gameplan, young players tend to be the ones making mistakes. Their minutes shrink (unless they are the stars who need the reps) and their roles shrink to prevent missteps for the team's hopes.

But when a team is down 2-0 in a series, it might be time to try out things it has not thought about trying yet. When a team has not led a single moment as the series shifts back to Orlando, a team has to be willing to try something new to find a winning formula.

The Orlando Magic may not have a lot of tools at their disposal. They are running the same 10-man rotation they did during the regular season. And the biggest problem the Magic face is their lack of outside shooting. There are no clear solutions for that on this roster.

But if Orlando is looking to mix up the rotation and add some more certain defense and perhaps a more willing shooter, this may be the perfect time to give rookie guard Anthony Black some playing time. If for anything than just to see what he can do and if he can change something during this series.

Black stands at 6-foot-7 and would give the Magic another long guard to throw at Donovan Mitchell or Darius Garland, who have both been able to find some space and create havoc on the perimeter. Black can defend, distribute the ball and has shown an improved ability to shoot from distance.

This season, Black appeared in 69 games, averaging 4.9 points per game and shooting a 54.0 percent effective field goal percentage. He made a surprising 39.4 percent of his 3-pointers, albeit on a relatively low volume of 1.4 attempts per game.

In 33 starts, he averaged 5.0 points per game in 21.6 minutes per game with a 49.3 percent effective field goal percentage. Mostly as a starter, he was used as the nominal point guard to bring the ball up the floor and as a solid and long team defender. But his offensive role was mostly relegated to standing in the corner and out of the way, cutting on occasion to the basket or shooting an open three if the ball swung to him.

Black though has been out of the rotation since late February, aside from a few spot starts when there were injuries on the roster.

The last time he played 20 or more minutes in a game was when Franz Wagner missed the April 10 game in Milwaukee. He scored five points in 22 minutes of that game. The last time he played 20 or more minutes in consecutive games was in early March when he started the comeback win over the Washington Wizards, scoring eight points and hitting two threes in that win and started the loss to the New York Knicks that followed, failing to score and missing all five shots in that game.

That loss in a playoff-like environment at Madison Square Garden likely lingers for coach Jamahl Mosley and this Magic team. It is hard to say the team trusts to throw a rookie into these pressurized minutes. The team certainly did not do so down the stretch.

While Black would certainly not solve any of the Magic's shooting problems. But he would be a breath of fresh air on the court because he is an important part of the Magic's future. He would at least help mix things up defensively on the Cavs' stellar guards.

After two beatdowns by Cleveland, the Magic are looking for answers offensively. And although Black has not put any gaudy numbers in the regular season, he might be a Playoff type of player. His defensive energy and size certainly would fit with the team's defensive schemes.

His willingness to shoot when open would boost the team -- Markelle Fultz, whom Anthony Black would likely replace in the rotation, is already not playing in the second half, playing in only 19 minutes in the series so far and is 0 for 4 overall without taking a shot in Game 2.

This is where the Magic need a guy like Black to step in the rotation and show the Cavaliers a look they have not prepared for. The Magic may need a fresh body or face to energize them back into the series.

With Black on the court, the Magic would bring in more youth, length, speed and defense for the perimeter.

Black's numbers might not be all that, but his ability to shoot the three, his defensive presence and his willingness to defend sets him a part from the others. Mosely has to find a way to see what he can contribute to the series.

Not only just for this Playoff series, but for the future.

At this point, the Magic know this is the first of a multiyear Playoff journey. This season was always about getting their young roster Playoff experience to prepare them for future postseason battles.

Why not have one of the team's young guards get some meaningful playing time so that next year it won't be his first time touching the court in the postseason? Black is at least worth exploring for that different look and some size on the perimeter.

Black should play at least a key role off the bench next season. And while that is not the focus for the coaching staff with a playoff series to win. Black has to be a tool in the team's tool belt should the bench struggle -- or should Jalen Suggs' knee injury slow him down further (although he is expected to be available to play in Game 3 on Thursday).

If the coaching staff allows Black to play, expect to see more youthfulness and eagerness in the lineup. The Magic re going to need to change something if the shots do not start falling. And Black may be the first chess piece to move into the lineup if it comes to that.

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Time is running out for Orlando to get back into the series as the team must defend its home court now.