March Madness provides fans with three weeks of the year's most exciting basketball. On top of that, it provides NBA teams like the Orlando Magic an opportunity to view some of college basketball's best talent in hopes of landing them in this summer's draft.
With just seven games left on the schedule and the Magic not surprisingly out of the playoff picture, attention begins turning towards the offseason.
In a draft that lacks a standout star according to at least one executive, making a pick that can help change the future might prove to be difficult.
With a first-round pick that's likely going to be near the top of the draft in addition to a second rounder, which sensations from March could end up stepping onto the court at Amway Arena next season?
Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
In one season with the Jayhawks, McLemore was able to compile some impressive stats in an always tough Big 12.
Averaging 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and two assists per game while shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range, McLemore was a big factor in Kansas earning a No. 1 seed in the tournament.
After not making a single field goal and scoring just two points in a third-round game against North Carolina, McLemore composed himself and stepped it up in the Sweet 16 versus Michigan.
In that overtime loss, McLemore scored 20 points on 8-for-15 shooting, including four from downtown.
Bouncing back and scoring that well after struggling the game prior shows the composure McLemore is building at his young age.
Plenty of freshman would become dejected after such a performance and let it impact their mindset. The fact that he didn't let it get to him and put forth an effort that should have—if it weren't for the team's defensive collapse—led Kansas to a win is impressive.
Obviously the Magic are still in contention for that top pick and assuming McLemore declares for the draft, he could end up in Orlando if management decides to go with the best overall talent—which he is.
While he's not a guaranteed superstar, he's a great scorer with plenty of potential and at 6'5" has excellent size for a shooting guard. Drafting him would also allow the team to pursue trades for Arron Afflalo in an effort to free cap space.
Should the Magic obtain the first-overall pick and McLemore does declare, they'll take him unless they decide to trade down.
Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
If anyone can be called a superstar of March Madness, it's Trey Burke.
Burke has been the main catalyst behind Michigan's return to the Final Four, averaging 15.5 points, 7.7 assists and three rebounds per game during the tournament.
Despite being undersized, his quickness combined with a relentless pursuit of getting to the rim have made him a nightmare for defenders. Not only that, but his vision and ability to find the open man make Michigan a tough out.
As Burke showed against Kansas, he doesn't mind stepping up when the clock is ticking down either.
The three-point bomb he hit to send the game into overtime showed that he's cold blooded. Having that kind of confidence will be beneficial at the next level.
And while Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart might be a safer bet in terms of an NBA point guard, Burke shouldn't be overlooked. As Allen Iverson proved throughout his career, size isn't the deciding factor when determining how successful a player will be.
Interestingly enough, Magic point guard Jameer Nelson is—by listing anyway—identical in stature to Burke at 6'0", 190 pounds. While the Michigan standout has more upside, learning the ins and outs of NBA basketball from someone of similar size isn't a bad notion.
If Burke declares—and goes where some mocks predict he will—Orlando should be able to trade down to grab him instead of simply picking the best talent, regardless of position and team needs.
Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Sticking with the theme of Orlando taking a point guard, Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams is another player having an excellent tournament that the Magic might consider drafting.
At 6'6", 185 pounds, Carter-Williams has tremendous size for a point guard. While there's room for improvement in the strength department, his height and length will provide him with distinct advantages on both sides of the ball at the NBA level.
Plagued by relatively inconsistent play all season, Carter-Williams' tournament has been anything but.
Averaging 13.0 points, 4.7 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game, Carter-Williams has been a big contributor in Syracuse's unexpected run to the Final Four.
More impressive than those numbers though is the fact that he's shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range.
Those tournament percentages are up from season averages of 39.7 percent and 29.7 percent.
Finally, Carter-Williams is scoring with the efficiency he should be scoring with.
And while he won't shoot anywhere close to 50 percent for a season when it comes to three-point percentage, showing consistency with his jump shot will make NBA franchises salivate even more at his potential.
Unlike other point guards the Magic could pursue—like Burke and Smart—he's more of a project.
There's no denying his physical assets, though, and if the team feels like they can develop him into a starting point guard, he could end up in Orlando.
Like Burke, they could also trade down to get him if they so desired.
Solomon Hill, SF, Arizona
There are several different directions Orlando could go with its one second-round pick, but exploring the idea of drafting Solomon Hill is one option.
Hill had a great year for the Wildcats and continued it during the tournament, averaging 12.6 points, 5.6 rebounds per game while shooting 60.8 percent from the field and 66.6 percent from three-point range.
As those numbers show, Hill can score with great efficiency and has really improved his jump shot throughout his time in Tucson. While he likely won't become a star at the next level, he can become a solid contributor.
In college, Hill spent most of his time playing power forward. His superior quickness allowed him to get by most defenders and finish at the time. Moving ahead, that might not be the case.
At 6'7", 220 pounds, Hill is pretty average in terms of size when it comes to small forwards. With quicker players defending him, the ease at which he scored in college will become more of a struggle.
That's not to say he can't succeed, though.
With development, Hill could be molded into a valuable role player. For someone that is likely to be taken in the second round, that's about all that can be asked.
Adding to depth at small forward might be something the Magic would be interested in doing and Hill is a decent option.
Seth Curry, SG, Duke
The evolution of Seth Curry's game from when he first stepped onto the court at Liberty to his final game with Duke was quite remarkable.
He went from a volume, catch-and-shoot player into a go-to scorer for one of the most prestigious basketball programs in the nation in a matter of four seasons.
Despite a nagging injury that kept him out of many practices, Curry managed to put together a great senior season.
Not surprisingly, that success spilled over into the tournament.
In Duke's four games, Curry averaged 21 points on 47.2 percent shooting, including connecting on 50 percent of his three-point attempts.
Given the success of his college career, one would think Curry might end up a first-round pick. However, according to most mock drafts, he'll be lucky to hear his name called at all on draft night.
Of the aforementioned mocks, only NBADraft.net has Curry being selected at all and they have him being taken second-to-last.
Curry's problem stems from the fact that at 6'2", he doesn't have the size to play shooting guard and on the contrary, doesn't have the ball-handling ability to adequately play point guard.
Still, Curry can shoot with the best of them.
This season, he showed the ability to score on his own with the emergence of a nice step-back crossover dribble and got by defenders with good hesitation moves. It's that crafty type of play that might make him valuable as a second-round pick.
Like J.J. Redick—and his brother Stephen—Curry has his doubters.
And while his upside isn't as high as those two, for a team that could use some shooting, the Magic would be smart to give him a look with their second pick.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!