Ben McLemore, a candidate to be the first player selected in the 2013 NBA draft, could help strengthen the Orlando Magic's backcourt and become a star in the league.
In the upcoming NBA draft, the Orlando Magic possess two picks, their own first-round selection (guaranteed to be in the top-four overall) and the Golden State Warriors' second-rounder (51st overall) (via basketball.realgm.com).
So which players should the club target in order to continue their rebuilding effort? We'll determine the top-two candidates for each pick, ranking the prospects based on: overall talent, by virtue of nbadraft.net's top 100 prospect big bWoard and positional need (a figure we'll establish soon).
By taking the numbers from prospect rank and positional need, while also using the "x-factor" of scheme fit, we'll be able to evaluate the Magic's favorite prospects.
To best project the Magic's top targets by position, we'll look at a hypothetical team depth chart (not taking into account free-agent signings or draft picks, and assuming they part ways with Hedo Turkoglu, Al Harrington and DeQuan Jones).
Projected Depth Chart (secondary positions in parentheses)
1 Point Guard: 1. Jameer Nelson 2. E'Twaun Moore (2)
2 Shooting Guard: 1. Arron Afflalo (3) 2. Doron Lamb
3 Small Forward: 1. Moe Harkless
4 Power Forward: 1. Tobias Harris (3) 2. Glen Davis (5) 3. Andrew Nicholson
5 Center: 1. Nikola Vucevic 2. Kyle O'Quinn (4)
After examining this roster, and level of talent at each spot, the positional need rankings are (in order from highest to lowest): point guard, shooting guard, small forward, center and power forward.
Now, because we currently don't know what spot Orlando's will be making their first selection until the NBA draft lottery, nor which players will be available when they pick, we will use nbadraft.net's 2013 mock draft as our template.
Because the Magic finished the season with the worst overall record in the league, the organization has the highest odds of winning the first-overall selection (via usatoday.com). For the purposes of this article, we'll pretend that Orlando wins the lottery and the number one pick.
First Pick (first overall)
Top Target: Kansas SG Ben McLemore (big board ranking: 1, positional need: 2)
McLemore is not only considered to be one of the best shooting guards this year's class, but a top-three prospect overall.
With prototypical height (6'5"), extreme athletic ability, excellent shooting skills and defensive potential, it's not a surprise to see him skyrocketing to the top of every scout's list.
Because of his talent and potential (sky-high) and the Magic's need for talent at shooting guard, it shouldn't shock anybody if Orlando picks McLemore first-overall. What might catch some people off-guard is if the team selects their backup target instead.
Backup Target: Michigan PG Trey Burke (big board ranking 10, positional need: 1)
With the announcement that Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart would be forgoing the NBA draft (via espn.com), Burke has emerged as the top prospect at the point guard position.
Despite being undersized, listed at 6'0", Burke has demonstrated elite leadership skills, superb passing and decision-making, top-notch perimeter shooting and the ability to score in a variety of ways.
Burke is not, however, a perfect prospect. Besides his aforementioned lack of height, his work on the defensive side was not great, and he will likely be a liability on that end of the floor.
Ultimately, the Magic will have to decide between talent and positional need, and I believe they'll take McLemore.
Second Pick (51st overall):
Top Target: Detroit Mercy PG Ray McCallum (big board ranking 44, positional need: 1)
Assuming the Magic take McLemore with the top pick, point guard becomes the team's primary focus for their second-round selection.
Who better than Ray McCallum?
A solid athlete and excellent ball-handler, McCallum continues to become a more dangerous factor offensively as his perimeter shooting numbers have increased (hitting 33 percent of his three this past season after shooting only 24 percent the year before, via draftexpress.com).
He'll need to continue improving his shooting percentages and defensive skills, but at the 51st pick, McCallum could be a steal.
Backup Target: Baylor PG Pierre Jackson (big board ranking: 52, positional need: 1)
If the Magic decide they aren't big fans of McCallum, they should take a long look at Pierre Jackson.
A senior who can pile up assists (7.1 per game this past season), drill outside shots (making 35.9 percent of his three point shots, which accounted for nearly half his field goal attempts) and wreck havoc with the pick and roll.
The last point is especially important, as the Orlando Magic loved running the pick-and-roll this past season.
However, Jackson is even shorter than Burke, listed at 5'10", and struggled with turnovers (3.4 per game) and defense.
In the end, the Magic will have to decide which type of player best fits the style of team they've envisioned throughout the rebuilding process before making their selection.
All the statistics used in this article are used courtesy of draftexpress.com.