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
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
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
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.