It’s been pretty clear for a while now that the Orlando Magic are likely going to be one of the worst teams in the NBA next season in hopes of landing one of the top picks in the 2014 NBA Draft. A top pick in that draft would give them another great young piece that they could build a team with in the wake of Dwight Howard’s departure.
Though the Magic are going to be bad next season, they do have a plethora of young and talented players in-house as of right now. Nikola Vucevic is a double-double threat on any given night, Tobias Harris came on strong once arriving in Orlando, Victor Oladipo is one of the best prospects from the 2013 draft, and there are other players like Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn that are interesting for the future as well.
However, the presence of these prospects on the Magic’s roster makes their latest free-agent signing rather curious. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Magic have agreed to a two-year, $5 million deal with former Detroit Pistons forward Jason Maxiell.
Last season with Detroit, Maxiell played in 72 games and averaged only 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game on 44.6 percent shooting. He was more of a liability and a source of frustration for the Pistons than anything positive last season. In actuality, it’s another pretty good sign that Orlando is going to be tanking next season.
The issue with signing a guy like Maxiell is that it makes it harder for the Magic to tank the right way. If a team is going to purposefully put their season in the crapper, the right way to do so is to play young and inexperienced players so they can get a better feel for the NBA game and to see their potential in the league. The way you don’t want to tank is by playing unsuccessful veterans and taking minutes away from young guys.
Hopefully the Magic realize the right way to tank and will give their young guys the majority of the minutes. Hopefully the organization simply added Maxiell to meet the minimum payroll. If not, than this Maxiell signing makes very little sense for what they’re trying to do.