|Published:||Jul 09, 2012 10:06 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jul 10, 2012 6:31 AM EDT|
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - It is unclear how exactly the Magic's roster will look next season with so much offseason uncertainty surrounding Dwight Howard's long-term status.
But whatever happens in the coming days and weeks with that situation, Orlando fans can take a little comfort in that their newest editions are off to productive starts.
Magic draft picks Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O'Quinn shined in their professional debuts Monday, combining for 40 points in Orlando's 92-88 win over Brooklyn in the Orlando Summer Pro League.
The 6-foot-9 Nicholson, who the Magic took 19th overall last month and signed to a contract last week, notched a double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds. He also had a late three-point play to secure the victory.
O'Quinn, taken in the second-round and 49th overall, was equally active with 16 points, connecting on 8 of 10 shots from the field, to go along with four rebounds and two blocks.
"It's a very fast-paced game. You gotta play every play - the little things matter," said Nicholson, who scored from both the outside and inside with the jump hook. "I think I did relatively well. I just played my game. I just used my versatility and my length. I didn't have nerves. I just see it as another game like it's always been."
While Nicholson already has a deal in place, the 6-foot-10 O'Quinn is definitely playing to impress Magic executives this week in hopes of earning a training camp invite and potential contract. He said he did have nerves before taking the floor, but played through them by being aggressive early on the offensive end.
"Of course. It's your first time going out there. You look around, you see all those scouts. The gym is packed with people looking at you. All these cameras here. Of course you're nervous," he said. "But you go out there and you play the game."
O'Quinn had eight first-quarter points, second only to Justin Harper's 12 in the period.
"That's my job," O'Quinn said. "As you can see Nicholson is like our premier back to the basket scorer. But to feed of his energy and feed off the team's energy, maybe I can be the spark and that's what I looked to do. So for me to start early, it picks up the team. Tonight I started it."
Magic summer league coach Mark Price had praise for both rookies, but said his player of the game was unrestricted free agent DeAndre Liggins, who drew the assignment guarding MarShon Brooks. Brooks was held to just three points, going 0 for 10 from the field.
Brooks is reportedly one of the players the Nets are hoping to deal in potential trades scenarios this offseason. Liggins, known as a defender in college, saw sparing action last season for the Magic, appearing in just 17 games and averaging 1.9 points.
"If you told me we were going to score 27 points in the first quarter, I would have said what team are you talking about?" Price said. "We put so much stuff in over three days, offensively you're usually a little bit behind...Obviously the two young guys for their first game came in and played with a lot of confidence. I see the skill level that 'Drew has offensively. And he hasn't even figured things out yet."
Harper, like Liggins, is fresh off his rookie season in Orlando, though he remains under contract for next season. Due to the lockout, neither got a chance to go through summer league last year.
Harper is making the most of it and said he has added 15 pounds since the beginning of last season. It showed against the Nets on Monday as he was able to score underneath, and use his frame to create space for jump shots on the perimeter. He finished with 15 points.
With Nicholson playing the power forward spot this week, Harper got a lot of time at small forward and said he's embracing the challenge because he expects to play there more going forward.
Though he's technically one of the veterans this week, he said he's treating it all like a new beginning.
"I'm just being aggressive and wanting to attack the basket and use my in-between game and not just settle for jump shots," Harper said. "I want to be able to create for my teammates and not just be a spot-up shooter.
"I'm just trying to play within myself. We don't want anybody going out there trying to take over the game. Today we showed that we played great as a team. We're trying to win every game."
Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower.