Making his (pretty much) NBA debut on Sunday, Rodney McGruder scored 11 points in a thoroughly impressive offensive show for Orlando Magic’s Summer League Team against the Boston Celtics. The Magic won 95-88 in a game that saw former ‘Zag Kelly Olynyk score 25 points for Boston, but McGruder’s performance was significant for multiple reasons.
McGruder went undrafted this summer and is fighting for a spot on Orlando’s roster, an uphill battle we discussed here yesterday. The gist of the article: McGruder needs to demonstrate he can be solid defensively and be a highly efficient offensive player on offense in limited minutes. And that’s exactly what he did. While the SG did not start, he saw just under 11 minutes of action and shot three-of-five from the field for a 60 percent shooting percentage.
Importantly, McGruder must also distinguish himself as a shooting specialist, and that’s where he was most lethal. He knocked down two of his four three point shots for the Magic. Additionally, he was able to get to prove an ability to take care of the little things. When Boston was assessed with a technical foul, McGruder was chosen to attempt the free throw (a reflection of the confidence in his shooting abilities), and he nailed it. He was also put on the line after being fouled shooting in the fourth quarter and knocked down both shots, leaving him three-of-three from the charity stripe as well.
McGruder did collect two personal fouls during his time on the court, and finished the game with the team +2 when he was on the court. Notably, we also noted yesterday that he could be battling Doron Lamb for his roster spot. Lamb started the game and logged 23 minutes, hitting three of his three three pointers (that was a mouthful) and finishing with 13 points on the day. Lamb was also chosen to attempt a foul shot following a technical foul, but missed his opportunity.
The Magic will return to the hardwood at 11 this Monday morning to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 5 pm game against the Miami Heat on Tuesday.