The Perth Wildcats have strengthened their 2020/21 playing roster by signing Australian centre Will Magnay as they continue to hunt for a historic three-peat.
Magnay joined the Wildcats today after being released from his contract with the Brisbane Bullets, originally signed prior to his stint in the NBA with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Without having to drop any of the current squad, Magnay will play as a Nominated Replacement Player bolstering the Wildcats’ already-stellar list.
Wearing number 23, he will take the squad to fifteen active players, but leaves one player sitting on the sidelines per game.
The 22-year-old has already had a phenomenal resume including a call up to Australia’s Olympic Basketball squad and a brief stint in the NBA.
He impressed NBA scouters after winning the NBL’s Most Improved Player and was also runner-up NBL Best Defensive Player in 2019/20.
After debuting in March against the Los Angeles Lakers, his run was cut short amid concerns regarding a foot injury.
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How can Will Magnay boost the Wildcats heading into finals?
Perth Wildcats and Melbourne United are clear cut contenders for the 2020/21 season and have advantages over one another. Will Magnay is set to balance improve areas of the Wildcats that United excel in.
The Melbourne-based side has the upper hand in two areas which Magnay balances out – height and blocks.
The Wildcats are shorter than United, and giving superstars like Jock Landale and Jo Lual-Acuil (both 211cm) free rein to protect the paint through their size and defensive ability.
Despite winning by 13 points last night, the Wildcats did not get a single block, while their opponents finished with six, with Lual-Acuil responsible for five.
Likely due to their height, Melbourne United averages 0.53 blocks per player with three players in the top 10 for the league – Jack White (2.71), Jock Landale (2.36) and Jo Lual-Acuil (1.58), averaging over a block per game.
On the other hand, the Wildcats only average 0.16, with no player averaging over one per game. American import John Mooney leads this stat for the Wildcats, with 0.85 per game. After that, young gun Luke Travers has 0.35.
At 208cm tall, Magnay fills a numerous gaps of the Wildcats’. He averaged 2.1 blocks per game during his breakout season in 2019/2020 – putting him right up there with those three.
Having a proficient player who can compete with some of the tallest and most dangerous names in the competition is a huge tick for the Wildcats.
His signing only brightens the Wildcats’ championship hopes as they head into finals.
What did Will Magnay have to say?
Speaking to the media after the news broke, Magnay knew Halfway through his quarantine period in Sydney, Magnay knew he was Wildcats bound.
Not only were the Wildcats his best option due to their success, but it also gave him a chance to relaunch his NBA career and get minutes in before the Tokyo Olympics.
“After getting waived, I saw an opportunity to come back and continue to develop my game at a really high level and I feel like Perth was the spot for me to do that,” he said.
“Obviously [I] want to come in and help them win as well.
“Also [to] get in game shape and build a lot of confidence building towards next year, hopefully back in the NBA and hopefully in the Tokyo squad as well.”
He also saw a role for himself in the side and felt like it would be the best fit for him.
“I saw a role here for myself in Perth,” he said.
“Trev [Trevor Gleeson] seems to have a pretty good system built and I feel like I fit that system well”
It was the best decision I could’ve made coming to Perth and hopefully it pans out for me.
“Winning takes you to the next level as well. So if I could come in, help win, it’s pretty influential to get back in the NBA.”
Playing for the Wildcats will also enable him to develop areas of his game to help him become a more rounded basketballer. However this development won’t take away from his natural defensive game.
“The areas they want to see me develop is primarily shooting,” he said
“I’ve been putting a lot of work into that so hopefully I can show that it’s growing.
“I rely on my defensive game and he seems to see a role for me there defensively to help the team. I don’t wanna come in and disrupt what Bryce [Cotton] and John [Mooney] have going.
“They’re putting up good numbers and maybe I can alleviate some of the pressure off them.”
Well aware of their success, he’s excited to be around the culture and get started with his new team on Saturday.
“I’m not gonna come in and try and disrupt anything,” said Magnay.
“I’ll just come in and be the bloke I am, say G’day, try and be the best teammate I can and hopefully fit in well.”
When will Will Magnay debut?
The star recruit leave quarantine and will fly from Sydney to Perth on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s clash at RAC Arena against the Breakers.
Having last stepped on a court the day before he came back to Australia, it is likely he will be on limited minutes and will build up game time.
“I’ve been trapped in a hotel room for a while so that’s not ideal for peak performance. But I’m confident that I can slowly build up and get integrated with the team,” he said
“I don’t think I’ll be playing a lot of minutes on Sunday but I think I’ll be alright if they chuck me out there for five to ten [minutes] or so.
“We’ll just see how it goes. The Medical team seems to know what they’re talking about so I’m sure they’ll build me up slowly and get me back to where I should be.”