Orlando Magic Player’s Analysis: Marreese Speights
Marreese Speights, Center/Power Forward
Contract Status: 1 years/ $2.1 Million
2016-17 stats: 82 Games, 8.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.5 blocks, 44.5% FG, 37.2% 3PT, 87.6% FT
PER 36 stats: 82 games, 19.9 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 blocks, 44.5% FG, 37.2% 3PT, 87.6% FT
Marreese “Mo” Speights, was a key reserve for the Los Angeles Clippers last season behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Last season, Speights took a different role and emerged as a deep threat for the Clippers thus expanding his NBA role. He averaged 3.4 attempts per game after never attemping more than one per game in his career. Marreese Speights seems to have extended his career significantly by extending his shooting range from beyond the paint. He started two games for the Clippers last season due to injury. Prior to his stint with the Clippers, he won an NBA championship as a key reserve for the Golden State Warriors.
According to ESPN’s John Hollinger’s Player Efficiency Rating, he ranks 26th amongst centers and 72nd league wide at 17.62. He only averaged 15 minutes per game last year as a reserve. Other notable players in Speight’s range include Paul Milsap (17.91), Jusuf Nurkic (17.57), Klay Thompson, and (17.53), Kristaps Porzingis (17.49) — all 30 or more minute per game starters last season.
Strengths of Marreese Speights
Speights strength is his ability to shoot the ball and rebound. He is a career 46 percent shooter from the floor and 35 percent from three-point range. Early in his career, he made his name by playing as a big man in the painted area. Now he is a viable stretch-five type of center. When engaged and in rhythm, Speights will light it up from deep.. His natural ability in the open floor spacing helps keep the team offense fluid with motion. Just when a team gets comfortable with him on the perimeter, he reminds them that he can still hang out in the post and operate just as efficiently.
Weaknesses of Marreese Speights
Entering the league, Speights was never projected to be an impact player on defense outside of his rebounding potential. He does have great size at 6’10, 260 pounds but his ability to block shots is next to nil. He doesn’t have the athleticism to out-rebound bigger players. His attention to defense tends to wander off in games as well. As an aging veteran, don’t expect him to improve drastically on the defensive end.
Areas of improvement
Next season, Speights will have to focus on his team leadership. At 30, years old, he will be the oldest player on the Orlando Magic roster. He has never really been in that type of position before so it will be a lot of on-the-job training for him. He will not be a rim protector but he will at least need to work on being him proper position during defensive rotations that minimize opponents scoring chances at the rim.
2017-18 Season Expectations for the Orlando Magic
Marreese Speights agreed to a one-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum. Expectations for him will be to provide veteran leadership and a winning pedigree to the roster. He will not be the typical bench player and will be called upon during specific scenarios for his deep range shooting ability. He, along with guard Shelvin Mack and Jonathon Simmons, will be expected to help lead the Magic towards their first playoff appearance in over five years.
Speights likely will play the same role as he did for the Warriors and Clippers. He will provide quality minutes alongside the second unit and open floor spacing for better penetration to the lane for current Magic guards. Don’t be surprised if Speights finds the occasional start as the season progresses and Frank Vogel experiments with his personnel.
Worse case scenario, Speights should repeat his stats from last season with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Projected 2017-18 position: Reserve center and power forward
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