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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Ã¢â‚¬â€ Minutes before walking into his introductory news conference, Orlando Magic guard DeAndre Liggins received some advice about being a second-round pick from his new teammate, Gilbert Arenas.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Gilbert just told me in the locker room … that he was a second round pick,Ã¢â‚¬Â Liggins said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He said, Ã¢â‚¬ËœEverybodyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got to play on the same court, so it really donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â
Liggins says he was surprised that he lasted until pick No. 53 in this yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s NBA Draft. But heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s planning on using that as motivation as he prepares for his rookie season.
So does forward Justin Harper, who was selected No. 32 by Cleveland and traded to the Magic on draft night for a pair of future second-round picks.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you look at a lot of past drafts, a lot of great players get overlooked,Ã¢â‚¬Â Harper said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They fall into the second round. I just kind of use that as motivation.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Unfortunately for both players, the NBA careers of the two players may be put on hold. Owners are expected to lock out players unless agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached before midnight Thursday.
The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Harper improved his draft stock tremendously with a senior season at the University of Richmond in which he averaged 17.9 points and 6.9 rebounds. His 179 3-pointers rank fifth in school history. The 6-foot-6, 209-pound Liggins comes from Kentucky with a reputation of being a lockdown perimeter defender who will bring the kind of toughness the Magic are looking for.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve both played in great programs for great coaches,Ã¢â‚¬Â Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“These guys have been taught and theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re fundamentally sound. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve got a leg up. These arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t raw guys. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re as ready as guys coming out of college can be from what IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen.Ã¢â‚¬Â
General manager Otis Smith said he was surprised both players fell as far as they did in the draft and that the Magic were Ã¢â‚¬Å“luckyÃ¢â‚¬Â to add them to the franchise.