Devin Cannady is back, now he must stay


Devin Cannady is all over Orlando right now.

Yes, he’s spent much of his offseason elsewhere — including playing Summer League in Las Vegas and a well-deserved vacation. But Cannady has spent a good chunk of her time kissing and wrapping in Orlando.

Whether it’s inviting fans to join him for NBA 2K games, starting his own podcast, or showing up at Orlando City and Orlando Pride games, Cannady has his roots in Orlando and seize the opportunity here.

Cannady has spent much of the 2022 season being a great story. He was the guy everyone was rooting for.

How could you not?

He was incredibly optimistic even after a devastating injury cut short his NBA dreams just as they were coming true. He stayed in and around the franchise as he recovered and rehabilitated, earning an invite to the end of preseason training camp to be on the field for the final game before heading to Lakeland.

Devin Cannady made a miraculous return to the NBA last season and put himself in a position to make an impact for the Orlando Magic. Now that he’s back, he has to find his way to stay in the league.

His return was never guaranteed. But Magic fans watched and celebrated his return to Lakeland Magic at the end of the season. As the Orlando Magic wrapped up its season, Cannady came full circle.

He was healthy, playing well and going back to where he started. Back to the NBA.

Last season for Cannady was about recovering and getting back on track. He did it with an impressive short run with the Magic last season. Now he’s trying to build on that and resume a career that took a detour last year.

Cannady returned to the Magic in April after a short recovery run with the Lakeland Magic last year. He averaged 10.0 points per game and shot 40.5 percent from beyond the arc. He shot 7.4 3-pointers per game.

There are some things to read in these statistics. Cannady’s best skill is his shooting and it doesn’t go away. He took a lot of 3 points.

But the caveat is still that these games have come at the end of the season. A season where the Magic was close to the bottom of the rankings and positioning for its offseason. Cannady had free rein and the ability to go out there and leave the fire.

That was all they needed from him given his long road back to the NBA. He just needed to see that he belonged.

He shot 42.4% on 3-point shots and 58.3% on three-point corners. And he also had a lot of open threes.

The Magic are short shots so Cannady’s appeal to this team is obvious. The Magic were one of the worst shooting teams in the league last year (really in a decade). Having a player that they can trust and who can hit on the outside consistently is just vital. It’s still the biggest piece missing from this list.

It certainly gives value to Cannady. And that’s why the Magic signed him to a multi-year deal when they brought him back. The Magic never stopped believing in Cannady as much as they believed in themselves.

That’s not to say there isn’t still a fight ahead of him to find his place.

Last season for Cannady, it was all about returning to the NBA. Even in a short sample, he proved he could do it. This season, it’s all about Cannady finding what will keep him in the NBA for the long term.

This is probably where his shooting is his best tool. It was the skill that brought him to the NBA. And the Magic will certainly feel comfortable putting him in the lineup to space the ground and hit some 3-pointers.

This is where it all begins with Cannady. But he’s probably still pretty buried on the depth chart – playing point guard behind Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony for sure and potentially even behind RJ Hampton.

Cannady needs to find a way to diversify his game and add value beyond being a shooting specialist, valuable as that may be for the team.

Right now, at least the way magic used it, Cannady is pretty one-dimensional. It can really depend on the role. He was still playing a lot of point guard but he wasn’t the main point guard or creator.

Despite his 29.0 minutes per game in these last five games of the season, he averaged only 2.0 assists per game. He had just 6.4 assists for 75 possessions, according to Basketball Index. There just weren’t a ton of solid passing stats from Cannady.

There just aren’t many standout stats for Cannady beyond his shooting — other than an unusually high steal rate (1.3 steals per 75 possessions).

Cannady’s run to the Summer League presented some difficulties – he scored 10.8 points per game in four appearances, shooting 26.5% from deep on 8.5 attempts per game. The Magic didn’t seem so worried about their bad shot in this setting. Neither cannady.

Similar to his run with the main roster, Cannady was nominally the point guard, but he didn’t play the point guard. RJ Hampton took on much of the playmaker duties during the Summer League and Paolo Banchero did his own bit of play.

It made Cannady a shooter again and only underscored the importance of his shot. Especially considering how much he struggled in Vegas.

Of course, the problem with statistical analysis of anything from Cannady is that the sample sizes are so small. He only made an appearance for the team last year – five games isn’t a lot and the Summer League is the Summer League. It was all just a taste.

Last season was really about getting back on the court and resuming that seemingly long journey to the NBA.

The question now is how does it stay? That’s ultimately all that matters to Cannady and his career. And he will have to fight his way through.

His shot opened the door for him to enter the league and put him in that position to be on the Magic. It was an opportunity he seized.

Getting to the league and staying in the league is also very different.

Cannady has to shoot the ball well. The unfortunate thing about being near the end of the list is that you have a smaller margin for error. Cannady has to do what he’s asked to do and do it well to stay on this team – and the Magic and their fans certainly seem to be encouraging him to do that.

Beyond that, he must continue to find ways to expand his game, improve his defensive ability and his ability to create for others.

Cannady’s story is amazing. He seized the opportunity with the Magic and the Magic and their fans certainly embraced it. His presence here is a victory in itself.

But there is always what comes next. And that’s what Cannady will strive to answer this year.


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