Multiple report throughout Sunday point out that the Orlando Magic have acquired Miami Heat’s point guard Shabazz Napier. According to a Yahoo report, the Magic will offer a protected future second-round pick in exchange for the 24 year old.
Napier was drafted by the Miami Heat with the 24th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but despite being declared as LeBron James’ favorite player in the draft class, he failed to impress as the Heat missed the playoffs after four consecutive NBA Finals trips. Averaging only 5.8 points, 2.5 assists and 2.2 rebounds over an average of 19.8 minutes per game, Napier’s prospects with the Heat were severely limited due to them bringing in Goran Dragic at the trade deadline.
However, Napier isn’t really heading to greener pastures, as the Magic will probably continue to rely on fellow second-year player Elfrid Payton for starting point guard, with his solid performances bringing him into last year’s NBA All-Rookie First Team, while the experienced C.J. Watson looks like an adequate backup. However, newly-appointed coach Scott Skiles must have some plans for Napier, whose $1.4 million contract is way above the rookie average and now gives Miami some more flexibility in managing its overcrowded roster.
Napier hasn’t really shown any exceptional promise in one area during his rookie season, shooting way below .400 in both overall field goal and three point percentages, but he might find himself some more space within the young Magic roster. With prospects such as Payton, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris or Nikola Vucevic, the Magic’s prospects of returning to contention are looking good, if only they could find some managerial stability – as Scott Skiles is their third coach in 2015.
Maybe Napier could develop himself better here than in a star-studded Heat roster, as he’d certainly see much more of the ball and be a bigger role player, while also having the advantage of growing alongside players of the same or close experience. Pressure isn’t really on the Magic to reach the play-offs yet, but solid performances from Oladipo, Harris or Vucevic could bring them on a similar path to last year’s Boston Celtics.
In any case, even if he doesn’t provide, it wouldn’t be a major investment gone wrong. With the Heat being able to clear some cap space, the Magic getting a possible prospect and the player probably getting more on-court action, it seems like a win-win situation for everyone at the moment.
Image Source: Orlando Sentinel