Magic rookie Caleb Houstan staying ready to make winning plays

Magic rookie Caleb Houstan staying ready to make winning plays

Caleb Houstan has been in and out of the rotation to start the season with the Orlando Magic but the 32nd pick is staying ready to contribute when his number is called.

Houstan, in 11 appearances, is averaging 3.4 points and 2.2 rebounds in 17.7 minutes per game on 32% shooting from 3-point range. He has been a healthy scratch four times this season but has seen a larger role of late with the Magic down several players.

The 19-year-old is posting five points and three rebounds 45.4% shooting from beyond the arc in 20.5 minutes over his last four appearances. His best game of the season came on Nov. 9 in a win over the Dallas Mavericks: Eight points, two rebounds and one assist.

He wants to come into games and make a strong impact.

Just giving the starters and the guys that play a lot of minutes a quick breather and be able to come in and make winning plays. Try to make the right play, whether that’s making a shot, spacing the floor or getting a rebound defensively. Just try and do anything I can to help impact the game.

His stats certainly don’t jump off of the page, but Houstan understands his role and doesn’t try to force things. He plays within himself and seemingly makes the right plays more often than not, which has given the team a boost off the bench.

Magic coach Jamahl Mosley likes what he brings to the second unit.

He stays ready. He understands what his role is when he steps in there to be a great positional defender, to knock down shots when he is open and, obviously, just be in the right spot with the right spacing both offensively and defensively.

Houstan was a full-time starter as a freshman last season at Michigan. The adjustment from starting to coming off of the bench is a bit different, but the 6-foot-8 forward had prior experience doing so as a freshman at the Montverde Academy.

Of course, the adjustment from college to the NBA is much different.

The biggest learning curve for first-year players often involves the pace of the game and physicality against better competition. Houstan is picking that up the more he plays in the early going this season as the game is beginning to slow down for him.

I think just being able to read things defensively and offensively a little bit quicker as the games go by. I’m in the gym practicing and working out. I’m definitely getting more used to things. It is still going to take some time but, for sure, (the game is slowing down).

Orlando has dealt with several injuries to begin the season. Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Wagner have yet to play this season and Cole Anthony and Paolo Banchero are the latest players to go down. They have missed 11 games and four games, respectively.

With injuries beginning to pile up in Orlando, Houstan could continue to see a larger role moving forward. He will certainly be staying ready for those opportunities.

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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire