It’s out of DeQuan Jones’ hands now.
Orlando Magic officials will decide perhaps as early as Saturday whether he will make their roster to begin the season.
“I just wanted to pretty much show them that I belong,” Jones, a 6-foot-8 wing, said after the Magic fell to the Houston Rockets 108-92 Friday night.
“This is where I belong, and I can play at this level.”
Jones, an undrafted rookie and former Miami Hurricane, was the Magic’s biggest surprise during the preseason. Although he averaged 10.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game — strong numbers — it was his athletic ability and potential as a defender that made him stand out.
“Offensively, just being able to get to the rim” was impressive, coach Jacque Vaughn said. “His athleticism — right hand, left hand finishes — his ability to put pressure on the defense by just filling the lanes. So he’s done a good job of just maximizing his skill set. And defensively, we all have our challenges, and he’s growing as a basketball player. But he’s done a good job.”
Chris Johnson, who was signed Oct. 9 to be another body in practice and in exhibitions, almost certainly will be one of the cuts.
The Magic must make their decision no later than 5 p.m. Monday.
Jones wanted to prove he belonged.
“I feel like I did,” he said.
“That was my intent. I just wanted to come out and just play hard — play hard and play to the best of my ability. At the end of the day, I feel like I can honestly lay my head down and say I did.”
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.