The Orlando Magic have quietly put together a solid nucleus in what is expected to be a slug-fest in the Eastern Conference. Outside of the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, and Washington Wizards, there will be three slots left open for the playoffs. The Magic appear destined for one of those three but that will depend on the play of the shaky point guard position. They need Terry Rozier.
While D.J. Augustin has tried his best to recapture his collegiate years, he’s not the long-term answer for the Magic. The team has shooters, two low-post scorers in the paint but no one to distribute the ball or direct the offense. While Rozier is not the well-oiled veteran presence as Augustin, his ceiling is higher.
Last season, with Kyrie Irving out for the playoffs, Rozier pulled off one heck of an impersonation for the Celtics who fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. With Irving back at full health this season and with the Celtics and Rozier failing to come to an agreement on a new contract this offseason, the Orlando Magic have been given a window of opportunity to pounce.
Now, the question is, will the Celtics be willing to trade away their Irving insurance policy to a Magic team they could possibly face in the Eastern Conference Playoffs?
It’s no secret that Irving is known to have a few DNP’s next to his name and it just so happens, that those occur during the postseason. But still, feeling the heat of Rozier’s presence, Irving issued a statement before the season started that he will likely re-sign with Boston. While that’s great news for the Celtics, it’s even better for a team like the Magic.
This season, with Augustin leading the way, the Magic are averaging 102.8 points per game (28th) but they are lacking in consistent playmakers. With high-profile scorers such as Evan Fournier (17.5 points) on the wings to go along with Aaron Gordon (16.0 points) and Nikola Vucevic (18.8 points), Rozier will have the weapons needed to be a high assist man for the Magic.
While the Magic are equipped with three scorers averaging over 15.0 points per game, they’re lacking in players who can create their own shot. Fournier is more of a catch-and-shoot player while Gordon and Vucevic rely on an entry pass to get their buckets unless it’s on a fastbreak.
Terry Rozier and Orlando Magic Are A Perfect Fit
Adding Terry Rozier will take pressure off the Magic’s bigs while providing Fournier with more open looks. Let’s be honest here, how many players in the league fear the dribble-drive of Augustin? On the flip side, Rozier will pose a real threat in that department. His time on the floor with the Celtics during their run last year is proof enough.
In 2018-19, Rozier is averaging just 8.5 points and 1.8 assists but doing so while playing only 22.0 minutes per game and attempting 8.5 shots. He’s also shooting .429 percent from three-point territory and for a Magic team struggling in that department, Rozier’s presence would solve that issue.
While it’s good numbers for a reserve, Boston has to know, he wants more. Re-signing Rozier this offseason will be high on their list but if Danny Ainge can see the writing on the wall, then why not ship him out while he still has some value and let the next team worry about a new contract?
While some will knock Rozier’s lack of assists, please note that his career average of 2.1 is mainly from a backup role. During his incredible playoff run last season, Rozier averaged 5.8 assists while contributing 5.3 rebounds against talented PGs such as Ben Simmons, George Hill, and Eric Bledsoe.
It’s time the Orlando Magic start thinking like the rest of the teams in the NBA. Over a number of years, the team has been in a funk. While the season is still young, the Magic have a chance to put their claim in as a legit contender in the East in the near future.
All it takes is one phone call. They better get to it before another team decided to steal Terry Rozier.