After having losing seasons the past two years, the Orlando Magic will look to turn the ship in the right direction next year. To do so, the Magic will need to find good fits in the upcoming draft and further develop the young players on the roster now.
Unlike last year's draft, this one has many promising prospects, and with two first-round picks the Magic need to capitalize. Chances are Orlando will have a top-five pick and there is one player that it should select if he is available: Dante Exum.
Offensive production has been an area of concern for the Magic this season, as they were 24th in the NBA in points per game. Arron Afflalo has been great at times, but Orlando needs a more consistent scorer. Exum is an exciting point guard, who has the size and speed to play other positions also. He could provide the offensive explosion the Magic desperately need.
Getting a big man is an option for the Magic with the second first-round pick, and one that stands out is Noah Vonleh from Indiana. He would be a great addition defensively, but they would probably have to move up or trade for his draft rights, as he is expected to be a lottery pick.
Afflalo and Jameer Nelson would be trade options for getting Vonleh, but Orlando could also go with a different player. Aaron Gordon from Arizona and Doug McDermott are solid options for that pick.
Developing Young Players
Orlando has a few young guys that will be successful players in the league after more time for improvement. Last year's first-rounder Victor Oladipo looks poised to have a breakout season in 2014-15, and guys like Tobias Harris and Nik Vucevic have shown that they can be reliable players.
With two new first-round picks this year, this will once again be a young roster. To have a shot at making the playoffs, Orlando will need the young guys to keep improving.
Orlando's Chances Next Year
The Magic will still not be seen as a top contender in the East next season, but they should be contenders for that last spot into the playoffs. They have three more wins this season than last season, but there should be a bigger jump next year.
Vucevic and Harris will have another year's worth of improvement, and the rookies will likely provide the spark Orlando needs to be a contender in the East. With the opportunity to draft two very good players this year, Orlando's roster could fill out very nicely next season.
The Eastern Conference as a whole is not as strong as the West, so that also gives Orlando a better shot at making the playoffs next season.
This is a team that will only go as far as the player improvement does next season. None of the guys on the roster are standout guys yet, but if some young guys step up watch out for the Magic to crash the playoff picture.