Dwayne Bacon gave Magic versatility, durability during challenging season

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This is the second in a series of player capsules from the Orlando Magic’s 2020-21 season:

Dwayne Bacon, Guard

Games: 72. Games started: 50.

Per-game averages: 10.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.6 turnovers, 25.7 minutes.

Shooting: 40.2% FG, 28.5% 3FG, 82.4% FT

Contract status: Bacon finished the first year of a two-year $3.5 million deal he signed in 2020. His $1.82 million salary for 2021-22 is non-guaranteed.

Top game: May 1 vs. Grizzlies — 23 points (5-for-5 from the free-throw line), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 0 turnovers, 21.1 Game Score

The buzz: When the Magic signed Bacon, they did so to add depth at shooting guard. That changed when James Ennis missed the start of the season with an injury and Bacon found himself as the starting small forward.

It was a sign of things to come.

By season’s end, Bacon had played four positions, made 50 starts and was the only Magic player to appear in all 72 games (logging a team-high 1,853 minutes). In fact, just 11 players across the league played in every game this season. There’s a lot to be said for his durability, and Bacon took a lot of pride in suiting up every night. He played 55% of his minutes at small forward, 40% at shooting guard, 3% at point guard and 2% at power forward, according to Basketball Reference.

As a result, Bacon took more shots and finished with more points than any Magic player on the roster when the season ended.

But while he had a usage rate of 19.9%, Bacon posted an assist rate — an estimate of the percentage of field goals a player assists while on the floor — of just 8.0%. That ranked him 176th out of 200 guards who played at least 40 games.

Bacon also struggled overall from the 3-point line. In a 14-game stretch from Jan. 22 to Feb. 17, he shot 44.2% from behind the arc, going 23-for-52, but he shot 24.4% over his final 44 games and wound up at 28.5% for the season. That number ranked him last among guards who attempted at least 150 3s.

The future: When the Magic signed Bacon to a two-year deal, they did not guarantee his 2021-22 contract. At $1.82 million, it’s team-friendly, but if Bacon is waived before his guarantee date in August, the cost will be a moot point.

With the addition of R.J. Hampton at the trade deadline and the possibility of Orlando drafting another wing player, Bacon’s role seems a little less certain.

Bacon’s mentorship could still prove valuable, but his lack of 3-point efficiency and his tendency to hold on to the ball might push the Magic to look elsewhere for a veteran bench piece. Still, the team knows what it has in Bacon and what he will cost them next season.

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Roy Parry at rparry@orlandosentinel.com. Follow on Twitter @osroyparry

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