2017 NBA free agency grades: Marreese Speights to sign with Magic

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11: Marreese Speights
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 11: Marreese Speights /

Late Sunday, reports came out linking the Orlando Magic with veteran big man Marreese Speights. We grade the 2017 NBA free agency move.

The Orlando Magic continue their quietly impressive offseason with the addition of sharpshooting big man Marreese Speights, formerly of the Los Angeles Clippers.

News of the deal was reported on by Jeff Zilgitt of USA Today, who stated it will be on a one-year, veterans minimum contract (worth about $2.1 million).

Among teams in the Eastern Conference, the Magic have had one of the most remarkable summers to date.

By getting rid of Jeff Green and C.J. Watson, and adding Shelvin Mack, Jonathon Simmons and now Speights, the Magic’s team brass (led by newly hired general manager John Hammond and president of basketball ops Jeff Weltman) is starting to prove why they were so highly spoken of before landing in Central Florida.

According to NBA Math’s total points added (TPA) metric, which tracks how much production a player adds to his team while he’s on the floor, Orlando has been the second-most efficient team in the East this offseason, trailing only the Philadelphia 76ers.

What’s more, using that same metric, it should be noted that among players with fewer than 1,300 minutes in 2016-17, Speights ranked No. 16 with 18.02 TPA. He also finished with higher Win Shares (4.2) than bigger names like Andrew Wiggins, Victor Oladipo and Eric Gordon.

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Although Speights’ signing doesn’t quite fill a need, as the Magic already had a plethora of big men on the roster, his ability to shoot the basketball will be a welcome sight for an Orlando team that still lacks players with that very skill.

Over his past two seasons of service, the St. Petersburg, FL native has hit a respectable 37.5 percent of his looks from beyond the arc. Additionally, Speights is coming off a year that saw him post solid averages of 8.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and and 1.3 threes per game.

He’s not a game-changer by any means, but those are healthy clips for a role-playing big off the bench.

And we still haven’t even considered what the seven-footer adds as a locker room presence yet. Speights has been in the league for nine seasons, boasts loads of playoff experience and has an NBA title under his belt from his time with the Golden State Warriors.

To say he’ll be a positive influence on young guys like Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon would be an understatement.

In all, acquiring a skilled vet like Speights may not by the leading story on SportsCenter tonight, but it was a low-key move that will help Orlando’s depth in 2017-18.

Next: 2017 NBA free agency tracker — Grades for every deal so far

It’ll be fascinating to see how head coach Frank Vogel divvies up his frontcourt minutes but nevertheless, he now has another solid option coming off the bench — one who will help space the floor. And even if Speights is a total disaster, he is only under contract for a year at minimum cost anyway. It’s a worthwhile, low-risk, medium-reward move by Orlando.

Grade: B+