With a final record of 23 wins and 59 losses, from the outside, it looks like the Orlando Magic have a long way to go to get back to prominence. However, by looking a little closer, you’ll see that they may not be as far off as you think.
The Magic have some solid pieces already in place with shooting guard Arron Afflalo, who put up all-star-type numbers this season, young and emerging center Nikola Vucevic and rookie combo guard Victor Oladipo.
Put those guys together with solid wing players in Tobias Harris and Maurice Harkless, along with two lottery picks in the 2014 NBA draft and the Magic don’t sound like they're too far off from getting back to the playoffs at all.
With this upcoming draft being regarded as one of the deepest in recent history, the Magic are set up nicely to land a couple of very good contributors for their roster.
According to draftexpress.com, the Magic currently have the No. 3 and No. 12 overall picks.
Although Orlando has some good players already in place, the team still needs help in several areas and more quality depth at almost every position on the court.
The Magic will end up with their first pick being no lower than No. 4 overall and depending on the lottery results, they could get lucky and end up selecting No. 1 overall.
With that in mind, Orlando should specifically be targeting Dante Exum, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker with that high pick to come in and be a star right away for the team.
However, the real question is who will they take with their second lottery pick?
If Orlando goes with a guard or wing player, as they should, with their first pick, then it is very reasonable to think that they will look very closely at selecting a big man with their second pick.
Vucevic is great for the Magic down low, but he’s not the best defender and besides him there’s no other player that really jumps out as a star or large contributor for the future.
There are two, lesser known, international prospects that have been climbing up draft boards in the recent months and the Orlando Magic should seriously take a hard look at both of them for their second lottery pick.
Let’s take a look at these two players so Magic fans can get to know a couple more of their options before draft day comes.
Clint Capela: Switzerland, 19-Year-Old Power Forward
Clint Capela is a young and athletic power forward out of Switzerland. In fact, he may be one of the most athletic players to ever come out of Europe.
At 6’11" and 225 pounds, Capela is super long, possessing a 7’5” wingspan. He is very quick for someone of his size and can get off the ground at the same pace.
He’s an excellent rebounder and finishes above the rim very well. Perhaps most of all, Capela is a tremendous defender. With his long arms and athleticism, it’s natural that he’s a very good shot-blocker.
All of this sounds fantastic, but Capela does have some flaws as well, the biggest one being that he is still very raw. This would be an upside-based pick, but if they guess correct, the Magic could reap the big rewards of that upside.
Capela is going to need to add strength and really improve his offensive game when he gets into the NBA but the talent and athleticism is there for NBA coaches to mold.
For the Magic specifically, Capela would immediately help on the defensive end protecting the rim, an area where Orlando desperately needs help. Without a true shot-blocker or defensive presence down low on the roster, Capela would come in and provide exactly that.
Over time, his offensive game will further develop and he can only get stronger. The potential is there for Capela to have great success, he’s just got to put it all together, but give the kid a little time, he is still only 19 years old.
Jusuf Nurkic: Bosnia, 19-Year-Old Center
Jusuf Nurkic is huge. At 6’11” and 280 pounds, it’s safe to say that Nurkic fills up space in the paint.
He’s a very strong big man that plays in the post very well. He is very skilled and possesses soft hands. He’s not the best athlete, but he can still rebound and defend quite well.
The Magic already have Nikola Vucevic at center, but Nurkic could provide an upgrade in depth and also has great potential to become a very good NBA player in his own right. Hey, maybe Nurkic and Vucevic could even play side by side, forming two towers down low.
Nurkic has been playing overseas in the well-respected Adriatic League and has been impressing in the process.
He only averages 16 minutes per game largely due to foul trouble and conditioning issues, but he’s making the most of it, posting 13 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks per game while shooting nearly 60 percent from the field.
In turn, his per-40 minute production has been ridiculous, putting him at 33 points 14 rebounds, 4.1 steals, 1.9 blocks and 11.7 free-throw attempts. He also, far and away, leads the Adriatic League in PER with an absurd 44.8 rating.
Although Nurkic doesn’t provide the dynamic, athletic upside that some players do, he provides a safer pick, as you know what he is going to be able to do and a team can build on and around that.
Nurkic could potentially thrive in Orlando as a quality big man off the bench or the second of two twin towers in Orlando’s starting lineup.
At the end of the day, there are several different players that Orlando is going to consider at this spot. Hopefully this will give Magic fans a little more insight into the two international big men that the Magic will most certainly be looking at.