In his first extended NBA action, Marcus Georges-Hunt didn’t disappoint Thursday night for the Orlando Magic.
Georges-Hunt finished with eight points, seven rebounds and one steal in just over 20 minutes of action. Perhaps most importantly for Georges-Hunt, he played a key role down the stretch in helping the Magic to a 115-107 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Magic head coach Frank Vogel told reporters prior to the game that Georges-Hunt would see more playing time with Evan Fournier and Jeff Green both sidelined with injuries. Georges-Hunt signed with the Magic on Monday and played in just four minutes of action in his NBA debut against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.
Thursday night was his first real chance to prove to the Magic that he was worthy of a roster spot. Vogel elected to play Georges-Hunt for all 12 minutes in the fourth quarter and he responded by helping the team hold off a late run by the Nets. He scored all eight of his points during that fourth quarter and knocked down a few clutch free throws late in the game.
“I feel like it went great,” Georges-Hunt told Basketball Insiders. “I feel like the guys believe in me and coach believes in me as well; it’s just boosting my confidence even more. I felt great out there and I just try to do all the little things — loose balls, rebounds [and] just try to do as much as I can and be real versatile.”
Vogel spoke very highly of Georges-Hunt’s first significant outing for the Magic.
“Marcus is a big-time scorer,” Vogel said. “[He] really has the ability to score, especially in a game like this where you have so many exceptional drivers and the ability to move his feet and have some toughness to him and contain the basketball. That is a skillset our team has lacked this year.”
Georges-Hunt went undrafted in last year’s draft and made a name for himself this season with the Maine Red Claws in the D-League. He averaged 15.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and one steal in 45 games for Maine. He was named a D-League All-Star this season and played a key role in helping the Red Claws earn a playoff berth.
He is one of just 14 players to have recorded at least one triple-double in the D-League this season. He posted 22 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds back in November against the Long Island Nets to notch his first professional triple-double. Georges-Hunt has the ability to be a nightly triple-double threat with his ability to rebound well at his position and find open teammates for an assist.
“In high school I used to [get triple-doubles] a lot being that I was all over the place,” Georges-Hunt said. “College, I never did it. I had a couple of double-doubles but, being at a pro level, it’s pretty big to get a triple-double. It just comes from working hard all summer and just putting in the work.”
Rebounding has always come easy for Georges-Hunt during his basketball career. Most players will say it’s all about effort when looking to rebound and Georges-Hunt seemingly never takes a play off and will often beat his opponent to rebounds. His seven rebounds against the Nets were second-highest among all players in the game, trailing only Nikola Vucevic’s 12 boards.
“In the D-League, rebounding down is really big because half the time, with the position I’m playing, point guards don’t crash,” Georges-Hunt said. “So, just being able to find the open area and go retrieve the ball is real big. Most of the time when guards rebound down, it initiates the break, which helps transition a lot and I get a lot of open shots.”
Georges-Hunt is signed through the rest of the season and will have a chance to compete for a roster spot next season. He’ll have the luxury of working out at the team’s facility in Orlando and will work with trainers in order to better prepare for next season. He’ll likely be with the Magic during Summer League and throughout training camp.
Most players in his position are not afforded the opportunity to workout in an NBA facility so he’ll be looking to make the most of this opportunity. He’s excited about the opportunity that he’ll have this summer and already being signed to a team is one less thing he’ll have to worry about during the offseason.
“It’s great,” Georges-Hunt said. “It keeps my mind clear and being that I have all the resources around me to get my body better, working with coaches, learn the system even more, it just helps me out a lot knowing where I’m going to be this summer and just going forward.”
For a player like Georges-Hunt looking to find his way in the NBA, there could be worse ways to spend a summer than working out in Orlando.
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