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Orlando looking for Magic from Martin

   Orlando looking for Magic from Martin

One of the most underrated trades of the summer may well be the signing of Jarell Martin by Orlando Magic from the Memphis Grizzlies. It says something about the 24-year old's influence that Anthony Davis and Julius Randle shot a combined 0-of-14 from the field last season when Martin was the closest defender.

Kyle Kuzma, one of the league's most impressive rookies last year, took 29 shots against Martin and only made five of them. The six-foot-ten, 239-pound forward more than proved his worth as one of the most exciting defensive players in the league, holding his own against the NBA's best.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Martin's game is his ability to defend from all three levels; inside, mid-range and beyond the three-point line. While he still has work to do in regards his shot blocking, Martin's quick feet and skill in closing out the perimeter make him an excellent signing for the Magic as they head into the new season.

Orlando might not be being tipped to make the playoffs this season, 20/1 with the latest NBA betting odds to top the Southeast Division, but Martin's influence could make them a potential dark horse and a team capable of upsetting some of the so-called stronger sides in the league.

Martin's arrival came when the Memphis Grizzlies traded the forward and cash considerations to the Orlando Magic in exchange for center Dakari Johnson and the draft rights to Tyler Harvey. During his three seasons with the Grizzlies, Martin averaged 6.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 18.3 minutes in 142 games after being selected 25th overall in the 2015 draft.

The Magic may plan on using Martin behind Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon, but that may change if the new arrival can prove he deserves a starting role between now and the start of the new season.

Orlando traded Johnson just three days after the seven-footer was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 22-year old played 31 games for the Thunder last season, averaging 1.8 points, 1.1 rebounds and 5.2 minutes after being selected 51st in the 2015 draft. Harvey, meanwhile, spent last season in the French LNB Pro A league with Antibes.

It remains to be seen what roles the two will have for the Grizzlies, but the trade represents a very nice bit of business for the Magic, who had been looking to strengthen their forward line this summer.

In what will be their 30th anniversary season, Orlando will start their regular campaign with home games against the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets at the Amway Center. Over the course of the past 30 years, Orlando have reached two NBA Finals, won two Eastern Conference titles, captured five division crowns and won 50 regular season games on five occasions.

That said, it's been a while since the franchise reached the playoffs, a drought that now stands at six seasons. There were signs last year that things could be looking up, though, and it'll be fascinating to see just what this Magic team is capable of.

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