Orlando Magic Should Pursue Restricted Free Agent Brandon Jennings

By Jordan Morey
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic had an atrocious 2012-13 NBA season: they finished last in the Eastern Conference with a measly 20 wins. 2012 was a rebuilding year for the Magic after All-Star Center Dwight Howard was traded to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Magic addressed replacing Howard by acquiring rookies Andrew Nicholson, Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vučević, Kyle O’Quinn and DeQuan Jones in 2012. In 2013, the Magic need to look to improve their guards by signing young talent.

Milwaukee Bucks free agent guard Brandon Jennings would be a perfect fit on the Magic’s young roster.

Jennings, 23, has averaged 17 points, six assists, three rebounds and 1.5 steals for the Bucks since getting drafted 10th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft, according to ESPN.

While Jennings only has three years of experience, he does have some playoff experience. In the 2010 playoffs, the seventh-seeded Bucks took the third-seeded Atlanta Hawks to seven games in the first round. Jennings averaged a career high 19 points, as well as tacking on four assists, three rebounds and a steal in the series. The Bucks made it back to the playoffs as the eighth seed in 2012, but fell to the eventual NBA Champions, the Miami Heat, in four games in the first round. During the series, Jennings averaged 13 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals.

The Magic took a step in the right direction by signing second overall 2013 NBA draftee Victor Oladipo. Oladipo has killed it in the 2013 Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League. In his first game, he recorded 18 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals in a 95-88 win against the Boston Celtics, per CBSSports. The rookie struggled offensively in his second game. He only shot 2-of-12 from the field, but still got 12 points thanks to 10 trips to the free throw line in a 79-78 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, via USATodaySports. The Heat pulverized the Magic in the Magic’s third game with a 94-80 stomping. In that game, Oladipo exploded offensively scoring 22 points. He also snagged five rebounds and two assists.

While Oladipo has played well at point guard in summer league, the Magic should have him at shooting guard. Oladipo had never played at the point in his basketball career before summer league. His lack of experience at the position resonated in turnovers — he has 14 in only three games. The Magic would see better production out of him if they played him at the off-guard position once the regular season starts.

Jameer Nelson currently starts at the point for the Magic. The 33-year-old battled ankle injuries in 2012-13 which limited him to playing in 56 games. Nelson needs to see limited minutes in 2013-14, and should come off the bench if the Magic want to win. If the Magic sign Jennings, they would have him, Nelson, Oladipo, Doron Lamb and Aaron Afflao to rotate at the guard positions.

The Magic would have one dangerous rotation.

Jordan Morey is a NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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