Orlando Magic: Does Rodney Purvis have staying power?

The Orlando Magic are in a position where they need something, anything to point to as a positive. Guard Rodney Purvis could be just that.

The Orlando Magic have gone through many struggles in what has been a wildly disappointing season, with even head coach Frank Vogel unable to escape the fingers currently being pointed.

As a result of this, the team needs to take any positive, however small, and use that as something to build upon for next season.

Guard Rodney Purvis, who has seen some game time recently, is the latest addition to that depressingly small list.

Currently on his second 10-day contract with the team, Purvis has spent much of this season with the Magic’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic. What then is it about this undrafted player that should give fans reason to feel even slightly more optimistic about this team’s future?

The pros to Purvis currently suiting up for the team work on both a small and large scale, and it is worth examining both to see if they can have an impact heading into the offseason.

Looking at it from the bigger picture first, Purvis has appeared comfortable for the team so far and put up a noteworthy 19 points against the Philadelphia 76ers recently.

(Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)

But if we look at the modest contributions of Purvis, as well as that of guys like Khem Birch and even Wesley Iwundu, something else becomes clear.

This new front office, less than a year into its tenure with the team, has already proven pretty astute at gauging talent from the likes of overseas (Birch) and undrafted players (Purvis).

This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as general manager John Hammond came over from the Milwaukee Bucks and was at the helm when they drafted a guy by the name of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

To know that already the Magic are better at spotting and acquiring talent is a huge plus, even more so when you look at some of the players they’ve given away in recent years.

On a game-to-game basis, the introduction of Purvis has worked quite well for a number of reasons as well. Firstly, he’s got that hunger that only going undrafted and playing in the G League will give to a person.

The Magic have been lethargic at best and absolutely uninterested at worst defensively since before Christmas. At present they rank 22nd (108.3) in defensive rating. When Purvis is on the court, that number improves to 102.8, which would put them fourth in the same category.

Purvis has only suited up for the team seven times, which is a very small sample size. Rookie Jonathan Isaac was back for five of those as well, before missing the last two with injury.

So Purvis isn’t some magical presence on that end who has fixed all their problems. But just by playing hard and being competitive (all the usual cliches really), he is making a difference.

That rubs off on other players too, and this is something the team desperately needs: the motivation and desire to play better defensively.

It is no secret that their failure to do so — and actually, their worse defensive performance than in years gone by — has put coach Vogel under increased pressure.

When you’re playing for your NBA life and the chance to stay with a team beyond your second 10-day contract, you’re more inclined to run the floor that much harder.

Offensively there hasn’t been much to report other than those 19 points in 22 minutes against the 76ers, but that doesn’t mean it has been all bad for Purvis either.

He shot 60 percent from 3-point range in that game, making three of his five attempts. To date for the Magic, he has shot 36.8 percent from downtown.

He’s not lights out from distance by any means, but there’s a lot to like about the confidence in which he takes those shots and his stroke too.

If we adjusted the Magic’s roster to only include players who have played seven or more games for the team, like Purvis, he would rank fourth-highest.

Given that the team shoots 35.8 percent from 3-point range (20th in the league), the Magic could do with all of the help they can get offensively.

They currently rank 25th (103.5) in offensive rating, so really every little bit helps. Given their horrendous luck with injuries this season, it’s not hard to see Purvis staying around this team.

As of now, he is giving the team something small on both ends of the court, at a time when winning games isn’t even the priority. If he can continue on this pace he has set for himself, there is no reason to think he couldn’t come off the bench next season as an energy role player on a cheap contract.

They’ve tried this before with players like Devyn Marble, and had next to no success. In fact, when was the last time the Magic picked up an undrafted player who did anything of note for them?

When you’re rebuilding, those diamonds in the rough are the kind of players who can speed up the process. Rodney Purvis isn’t there yet, not even close, but he has been as good as he possibly could have been in an Orlando Magic jersey.

He’ll likely see time in the G League again, a place he is all too familiar with, but the hope is that this will only make him hungrier.

Until then, he has been a small bright spot in what has been a bleak last few months for the franchise.