Glen Davis and Jameer Nelson
The NBA draft is a symbol for a new beginning and hope for franchises, as the infusion of new talent allows any organization to become contenders. No team needs a fresh start more than the Orlando Magic, who have been crippled by the Dwight Howard saga and the rise of the competition level in the Eastern Conference.
This slideshow will delve into the events that transpire for the Orlando Magic on this sure to be interesting night. The subsequent slides will analyze draft choices/trades, provide player information and update you on all rumors surrounding the organization.
Make sure you check back often for the duration of the draft.
Owning both the 19th pick and 49th, the Orlando Magic have a multitude of avenues the franchise could explore. However, everything starts with franchise cornerstone Dwight Howard.
Over the course of the truncated season, the Dwight Howard debacle has become a full-blown spectacle in the eyes of the media, fans and the league. Much of the reason for this madness in Orlando is that there have only truly been two dominant centers since the 1990's: Dwight Howard and Shaquille O'Neal.
So anywhere this All-NBA talent ends up, if he is even traded, will greatly change the realm of basketball. Few players can dominate a game like Howard. There are even fewer players who can do it on a consistent basis.
However, Howard is the only player that other teams have no answer for. At least, you can slow down the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant, but how do you contain arguably the most physically-gifted player of the generation. This behemoth under the basket, simply put, can't be stopped on a regular basis.
However, Howard hasn't even reached his prime. The first overall pick in 2004 is still considered a prospect, as he is only 26.
Nonetheless, the big man still wants out, despite waiving his early-termination option earlier this year.
Due to his raw ability that will turn any dismal roster into a competitive squad, Howard will be heavily sought after in the coming months, One team who has become quite interested in adding the center is the Houston Rockets, who have made two separate trades to acquire an enticing package to present to Orlando.
Even though there are numerous suitors for Howard's talents, Orlando is unlikely to ship the big man due to hiring a new GM, Rob Hennigan formerly of the Oklahoma City Thunder, just last week.
When asked about the possibility of dealing Dwight, Hennigan had this to say.
“I don’t want to comment on that,” Hennigan said. “We’re gonna continue to evaluate everything we can and analyze all the details and the options and the scenarios. I don’t know the answer to that. I have communicated with Dwight. I have communicated with his representation.”
If no trades do occur and everybody stays put in the Magic organization, expect Orlando to draft with the principle of best player available, not need. Teams draft with this mindset if they have no holes on the roster or a plethora of holes.
Orlando sadly falls under the latter category.
But if you want to get into specifics, Orlando should target a backup center, a backup point guard, a small forward to replace Hedo Turkoglu in the starting lineup and a perimeter player who can create his own shot.
With the 19th and 49th pick, though, it will be slim pickings in regards to finding a serviceable role player. Swingman Moe Harkless of St. John's would be a good fit in the first-round, along with facilitator Marquis Teague of Kentucky. If Will Barton of Memphis slides in the second, Orlando would be more than thrilled to snatch him up.
In the end, though, nothing ever works out as planned on draft day, which makes this night so interesting.
In recently-hired Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan's first move with the franchise, the organization picked Andrew Nicholson of St. with the 19th selection.
The reason for the low grade is not a testament to the skill of Nicholson, who is arguably the fourth best big man in the year's class, but there were other players on the board who fit more with the organization. With Glen Davis already on the roster and giving a qualifying offer just today to Ryan Anderson, who won Most Improved Player of the Year honors this year, the new Magic rookie won't receive many minutes in this already strong power forward crop.
Unless the brass let Ryan Anderson walk, which is quite likely now, Nicholson will be relegated to the bench in his first season as a professional.
Plus, there were other prospects still on the board that assessed a legitimate need for the Magic. Baylor forward Perry Jones III would have been great selections for the Magic, as he was still available.
If he were taken, Jones would have most likely assumed the starting small forward role manned currently by the aging Hedo Turkoglu. Also, the college standout is a point-forward, a breed of small forwards the Magic are particularly fond with.
Nonetheless, Nicholson is a safe bet. While his undersized frame, 6'8", and advanced age for a prospect, already 22 years old, doesn't scream All-Star potential, he will develop into a decent backup big man with his refined post-game and solid jumper.
However with the uncertainty regarding Dwight Howard, it would have been nice to see the Magic select a big man with more star potential.
After leading Norfolk St. to a huge upset over Missouri in the NCAA Tournament, Kyle O'Quinn was selected by the Orlando Magic with the 49th overall pick.
The Magic have been searching for a backup center to franchise cornerstone Dwight Howard since shipping Marcin Gortat to the Phoenix Suns. O'Quinn fits the bill, as his tremendous length and rebounding ability will allow him to spell Howard for short stints.
If Howard is moved, however, don't expect O'Quinn to log major minutes due to his offensive game still being quite raw. The recently-acquired prospect, though, has a great motor and defensive presence.
O'Quinn will have to beat out current backup center Daniel Orton to assume the role of backup big man. The former Norfolk St. should be considered the favorite to win the position. O'Quinn is more athletic, despite not being extremely explosive or quick, and wider offensive arsenal.
He can knock down the open midrange jumper and is an efficient finisher under the rim. Orton, on the other hand, struggled to see consistent minutes even when Howard was sidelined due to a herniated disk.
O'Quinn may never become a star, but he will be ready to contribute for this disheveled franchise.
Overall Grade: B
The Orlando Magic didn't find any spectacular gems in this year's draft, but they took two players to bolster a front-court filled with uncertainty. With Ryan Anderson being a free agent and Dwight Howard desiring a trade, the franchise obtained two players who may find a role in the rotation next season.
Both selections, though, were low-risk, low-reward picks. Neither Nicholson or O'Quinn will develop into anything more than a mere role player. Both, however, may be valuable pieces to what could be the final playoff run in the Dwight Howard era for Orlando.
Many came into the draft wondering if Howard would be dealt. Most of these rumors stemmed from the Houston Rockets' decision to acquire draft picks. However, Orlando, led by new GM Rob Hennigan, decided to keep their All-NBA talent.
In the end, it was a pretty uneventful night for the NBA in general compared to last year's drama.