Thursday, July 6, 2017

Walton Watch: Solid day for Derrick Walton, but challenger Kalin Lucas shines in Magic win against Knicks

Derrick Walton's quest for a spot to prove himself further in the Orlando Magic's training camp continued Wednesday against the New York Knicks.

Unfortunately for Walton, fellow point guard and former Michigan State Spartan Kalin Lucas stole the show Wednesday.

I recapped Walton's first three games on Monday -- thus far, Walton has turned heads with his ability to direct the action on the floor while also hitting his own shots, both at the rim and from outside.

Through two games, he led the Orlando summer squad in points. On Monday, Walton dropped five assists, but finished just 4-for-12 from the field after playing an excellent first half. The announcers posited fatigue was the cause -- maybe, maybe not.

On Wednesday, Walton's Magic took on the New York Knicks. As I've mentioned here previously, Walton is in a pretty good situation with a Magic squad that is not exactly set in its point guard rotation.

However, Walton does have some competition within the summer league squad from Lucas, a player familiar to Michigan fans.

Lucas didn't play Monday (Walton got the start), but he stole the show in Wednesday's 84-73 Magic (2-2) win.

In 31 minutes, Lucas scored 20 points while tallying seven assists and three steals -- an impressive performance for Lucas, who is already a member of the Erie BayHawks. He was acquired by the team in December, and has bounced around quite a bit since his days in East Lansing, first playing overseas before bouncing around NBA and developmental league rosters.

I didn't get to watch today's game, but clearly Lucas brought his A-game with Walton charging hard for a camp spot. Walton, meanwhile, in 20 minutes scored nine points on 3-for-7 shooting (2-for-3 from beyond the arc) with four assists, two rebounds and zero turnovers (Lucas had two).

Through four games, Walton's stat line is pretty good: 10 points per game, 3.5 assists per game, 15-for-32 from the field (46.9 percent) and 6-for-12 from three (50 percent).

Scan Magic Twitter or other Magic social media pages and you'll find Magic fans raving about Walton. Lucas, however, has acquitted himself well -- having bounced around as much as he has, he's looking to leave his mark during the Summer League.

But has it been enough?

We'll find out soon. Either way, Walton has made Magic followers take notice. From Orlando Magic Daily:
But the attention, as it sometimes does in Summer League, went elsewhere. To the shiny new toy. 
Derrick Walton Jr., a rookie from Lucas’ college’s in-state rival, quickly stole the spotlight. Fans began salivating over Walton’s passing and driving ability. He took over a lot of the scoring load. The buzz around Summer League quickly became about Walton and his chances to make the Magic’s training camp roster. 
Walton supplanted Lucas as the starting point guard for the team’s third game against the Dallas Mavericks with Lucas sitting out the entire game.
 Internet buzz is just that, buzz, but the chatter about Walton has been mostly glowing.
The Magic close Summer League play at 10 a.m. Thursday against Charlotte.

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