With all the attention paid last week to where the Orlando Magic and 13 other teams will be picking next month, it is worth remembering that there is a place in the NBA for the undrafted free agent.
DeQuan Jones is an example of that.
Despite starting in only two games as a senior at the University of Miami and never averaging as much as six points a contest in any of his four years there, the 6-foot-8 small forward turned in a rookie season that a handful of lottery picks and several players chosen in the second half of the first round might look upon with envy.
Jones earned a spot on the roster with his speed and athletic ability in training camp and the preseason, and first-year Magic coach Jacque Vaughn inserted him into the starting lineup after Hedo Turkoglu fractured his left hand in the regular-season opener.
For a while, it felt like a flashback to the franchise’s “heart and hustle” era when Doc Rivers was an unproven head coach and the Magic occasionally utilized a lineup comprised of nothing but undrafted players such as Darrell Armstrong, Bo Outlaw and Ben Wallace.
Those similarities didn’t last for long. The Magic flirted with the .500 mark through their first 25 games before their inexperience and a string of injuries jolted them back to reality. And the lasting image of Jones might be when, after both Maurice Harkless and Tobias Harris had fouled out of a game at Miami, he came in cold off the bench and was entrusted with the thankless task of trying to defend LeBron James with the outcome on the line.
Source: Ken Hornack, Fox Sports Florida