The Orlando Magic have turned to a familiar face to provide scoring, floor spacing and leadership.
In July, the team signed Arron Afflalo to a one-year, minimum-salary contract.
Does the name sound familiar?
Afflalo has played for the Magic before. In mid-2012, the team acquired him from the Denver Nuggets in the four-team blockbuster trade that sent Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers. Over the next two seasons, Afflalo solidified himself as one of the Magic’s most dependable players, averaging career-high scoring averages of 16.5 points per game in 2012-13 and 18.5 points per game in 2013-14.
Then, with one year remaining on Afflalo’s contract, the Magic traded him back to the Nuggets for Evan Fournier and the draft rights to Devyn Marble.
Afflalo hasn’t been as effective, or as happy, since. He played for four teams the past three seasons.
When he became a free agent this past summer, he decided to rejoin the Magic.
Let’s take a closer look at Afflalo and the qualities he’ll bring his new (and also old) team.
Position: Shooting guard/small forward.
Height: 6-5. Weight: 210.
Age: 32. Experience: 11th season.
Contract status: Signed through 2017-18 for $2,328,652 at a cap hit of $1,471,382.
Afflalo is a good long-range shooter who should help the Magic space the floor. He’s a 38.6 percent career shooter from 3 who beat that average last season, making 41.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
He’s lethal on post-ups, especially against opposing guards. He made 62.2 percent of his shot attempts in those situations last season, according to the NBA’s player-tracking system.
He’s a highly reliable free-throw shooter. He’s made 82.5 percent of his career attempts from the stripe.
Afflalo developed a reputation as an effective on-ball defender early in his NBA career, but he hasn’t lived up to that reputation recently. Last season, he ranked 89th out of 92 shooting guards in ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus measurement, at -2.85.
After agonizing seasons the past three years, Afflalo wanted to return to Orlando, the place where he enjoyed his greatest individual success. It helped that the Magic had just hired Jeff Weltman as their president of basketball operations and John Hammond as their general manager. Weltman and Hammond worked as Detroit Pistons executives during Afflalo’s rookie season with the Pistons, and Afflalo still feels a kinship with them.
With 10 seasons of NBA experience, Afflalo has the credentials and the desire to mentor the team’s younger players. He recognizes that the team needs veteran leadership.
“Obviously, you can’t express how you feel and change a whole culture in one day or one game or one training camp,” Afflalo said. “But as I get to know my teammates better and have more interactions with them and more tough times that we go through and come out of, I think the things that I really feel I will help install into them.”
Afflalo made 41.1 percent of his 3-point tries last season as a member of the Sacramento Kings. The Magic would be ecstatic if he repeats that performance.
The Magic are counting on Afflalo to provide a spark off the bench, especially with his long-range shooting. The team also needs him to provide some veteran leadership on and off the court.
They said it
“If you want to be somewhere, then you’re willing to do the things that make that situation successful. If you just play the game as a job, then when times get rough you just kind of do the typical NBA stuff. I’m excited to be here, and I feel like the more guys that want to despise other NBA teams and defend this team with a personal note than just a typical NBA note, then the better we’ll be.” -Afflalo
“[Arron is] another wing that can dribble, pass and shoot and guard. That’s the simplest way to put it. How many minutes or the exact depth chart and all that stuff — that’s still to be determined. But, again, he fits the mold of what we’re trying to put on the wing.” -Vogel
Did you know?
Afflalo led the UCLA Bruins to the Final Four in back-to-back years.
[email protected] Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog and follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.
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