Orlando Magic Draft Board: Post-Lottery Edition
The Orlando Magic have to be especially excited about the 2014 NBA draft, seeing as they'll have two picks in the books by the time the first dozen prospects are off the board. Thanks to the trade that sent Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers before the 2012-13 season, they're picking up that extra selection.
As a result, Orlando will be taking its first high-upside rookie at No. 4, then waiting eight picks before taking another one. Quite a few teams are sure to be jealous of that ability.
Orlando isn't guaranteed to use either of those picks. Trades are certainly possible, especially if the team decides it already has enough young talent and wants a veteran standout on the roster.
But if it does decide to use them, it'll have plenty of options. It's hard to pinpoint one biggest need for the Magic, simply because there are so many of them.
Adding a point guard would be beneficial, especially since Jameer Nelson won't be around forever. Shooting guard is an option as well, seeing as Victor Oladipo can play at either spot in the backcourt. The forward positions could use improvement, and center is really the only spot with someone absolutely locked into the lineup (Nikola Vucevic).
So, who's it going to be?
12. Nik Stauskas
Vitals: 6'7", 207 pounds
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 17.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.3 blocks, 0.6 steals
Even though Nik Stauskas is one of the better shooting guard prospects in this draft class, the Magic would have to be slightly disappointed if he was the only elite one left on the board for their second lottery selection.
Stauskas is a great athlete and even better shooter, allowing him to put up points from all over the court. That's obviously a huge asset for a team that struggled to score on a consistent basis during the 2013-14 season.
However, he's not much of a defender and doesn't display a great deal of positional versatility. If any 2-guard is locked into that position, and that position alone, it's Stauskas.
11. Gary Harris
School: Michigan State
Vitals: 6'5", 205 pounds
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.4 blocks, 1.8 steals
Can you imagine the defensive potential of a backcourt featuring Victor Oladipo and Gary Harris?
Harris isn't huge for a shooting guard, but he has more than enough physical tools to carry his weight at that spot in the lineup, which is a positive since he's used to playing off the ball. Though he wouldn't bring as much offense as other 2-guards in this draft class, the defensive ability alone makes him quite valuable to the Orlando cause.
As ESPN's Chad Ford wrote (subscription required):
Harris is one of the few two-way players in the draft; he is equally effective offensively and defensively. He can score both off the bounce and from beyond the arc, and he can guard both 1s and 2s. Some scouts and GMs even believe he can play some point guard at the next level, much like Victor Oladipo did for the Magic this season.
Again, can you imagine him and Dipo playing together?
10. James Young
Vitals: 6'7", 213 pounds
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 14.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.8 steals
James Young gains an advantage over the other elite shooting guards in this draft class, simply because of his height. At 6'7", especially when coupled with an impressive set of hops, Young is more than capable of lining up at the 3 in smaller lineups.
And since that's one of the true needs for this Orlando squad, well, you can connect the dots for yourself.
Young has also displayed signs of a burgeoning three-point stroke, though he was inconsistent during his sole season in Lexington. The form is a work in progress, and that expanding range always takes time, but don't be surprised when this 18-year-old becomes a solid perimeter marksman.
Defense is also a bit of a concern, but it's better to have physical tools and mental lapses than the other way around. Young is more than capable of turning that weakness into a strength.
9. Tyler Ennis
Vitals: 6'3", 182 pounds
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 12.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 0.2 blocks, 2.1 steals
Tyler Ennis is the best pure point guard in this draft, and he'll tell you that himself. In fact, he has, courtesy of Basketball Insider's Alex Kennedy, per Stephen Babb of Bleacher Report, when he was asked if he's the best 1-guard in the class:
Definitely. I think I have the ability to lead a team, I think I have the ability to make others better and I think I’m able to put those together into a true point guard, who is also able to score when my team needs me.
There are a lot of guys who can really score the ball, maybe some who can score better than me, but none that can put together the whole package as a point guard better than I can in this draft.
Well, there you have it.
Ennis, if drafted by Orlando, would play a fairly limited role during his rookie season, learning behind Jameer Nelson as he made the transition from being a first-year college player to a first-year NBA player.
Then he'd be ready to go.
8. Aaron Gordon
Vitals: 6'9", 220 pounds
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 12.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 blocks, 0.9 steals
No position gave the Magic more trouble than power forward during the 2013-14 season.
According to 82games.com, Orlando's power forwards produced a player efficiency rating of 14.4. That's not too egregious, especially since it was the second-best mark on the team, trailing only centers. However, defense is where the 4s reared their ugly heads.
The PER against the Magic's power forwards was 18.0, giving the position by far the worst net PER of any.
See how Aaron Gordon could help?
He was one of the best defenders in college basketball during his freshman season at Arizona, and he'd immediately bring a new level of defensive intensity (and ability) to these particular Florida residents.
7. Julius Randle
Vitals: 6'9", 250 pounds
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 15.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.8 blocks, 0.5 steals
If Julius Randle is still on the board for the Magic's second pick (which we're focusing on now since we're still not to No. 4), there's no chance they could pass him up.
The Kentucky standout is just too talented to drop far, especially after the combine helped people look favorably at both his wingspan and his athleticism. In many ways now, Randle looks like he could be a more athletic version of Zach Randolph, which is obviously a tremendous value at any point in the lottery.
While the Magic already have a relatively crowded frontcourt, Randle would immediately stand out as a starting-caliber power forward.
6. Noah Vonleh
Vitals: 6'10", 247 pounds
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 1.4 blocks, 0.9 steals
Though some members of the Orlando frontcourt are capable of stepping out and spacing the court via the threat of a solid jumper, none can do so quite as capably as Noah Vonleh.
The Indiana Hoosiers standout is by no means just a stretch 4, though. He's an athletic freak (in a good way), boasting plenty of athleticism and a ridiculous wingspan. At the NBA draft combine, Vonleh checked in with a fingertip-to-fingertip measurement of 7'4.25".
Only Isaiah Austin had a longer wingspan, just to put that number in perspective.
Between the rim protection and the jump-shooting ability, there shouldn't be much doubt that Vonleh qualifies as an elite prospect for the Magic.
5. Marcus Smart
School: Oklahoma State
Vitals: 6'3", 227 pounds
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 0.6 blocks, 2.9 steals
Marcus Smart might be a natural point guard, but he's built like a tank.
Given his weight and strength, he's more than capable of playing beyond his inches, lining up at the 2 in a set that uses multiple point guards. He and Oladipo are both able to play either floor general or shooting guard, which enables the Magic to employ plenty of flexibility in the backcourt.
Above all else, Smart is the No. 2 point guard in this draft class, which makes him plenty intriguing to the Magic. After all, Jameer Nelson isn't going to be around forever, and while Dipo's facilitating skills were impressive as a rookie, he's still best-suited for the 2-guard spot in the lineup.
4. Dante Exum
Vitals: 6'6", 196 pounds
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: N/A
"There shouldn't be much thought here—the Orlando Magic need a point guard and Dante Exum looks like the top prospect on the board," wrote B/R's Jonathan Wasserman while projecting the Australian combo guard to the Magic at No. 4 in his post-lottery mock draft.
Dante Exum might be a rather mysterious prospect, but it's easy to see the Magic falling in love with what he brings to the table. There's so much size and length here, and his incredible athleticism allows him to function as a scoring threat both with and without the ball.
The Magic might ultimately end up disavowing traditional positions in the backcourt. If Exum—who seems like the most likely pick at No. 4—is paired with Oladipo, expect switches galore.
3. Joel Embiid
Vitals: 7'0", 240 pounds
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 2.6 blocks, 0.9 steals
If Joel Embiid's back is healthy, he's the most talented player in this draft class, bar none.
As Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted, "Watching Joel Embiid in workout for league executives in Santa Monica. Impossible to imagine passing on him at No. 1."
He runs the floor remarkably well, showcases great rim-protecting instincts and has fancy enough footwork to boast quite a bit of potential on the offensive end of the court. In short, he's a complete package, though "short" probably shouldn't ever appear in a sentence about him.
The only reason Embiid doesn't come up at No. 1 on the Magic's big board is the presence of Nikola Vucevic. There's already an established center in the starting lineup, which makes the former Jayhawk slightly less desirable.
2. Andrew Wiggins
Vitals: 6'8", 197 pounds
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 blocks, 1.2 steals
This small forward out of Kansas has a ridiculous level of upside, which fits in rather perfectly with what general manager Rob Hennigan is trying to do with the Magic. He's been all about acquiring talented pieces before putting them together into an established product, and it's hard to imagine one much better than Andrew Wiggins.
Though the 19-year-old would be unable to make an immediate impact as a go-to scorer, unlike his positional counterpart just ahead of him on this big board, he's a tremendous two-way presence. The defensive boost he'd provide Orlando would be immense...and immediate.
It's highly, highly unlikely Wiggins gets past the Philadelphia 76ers, who are drafting one spot ahead of Orlando. But if he does, there will be parties throughout the city.
1. Jabari Parker
Vitals: 6'8", 241 pounds
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 blocks, 1.1 steals
Is Tobias Harris already filling the "tweener" spot on the Orlando Magic roster?
Sure, but that doesn't mean you avoid taking such a talented player if he somehow falls to the No. 4 spot in the 2014 NBA draft proceedings. Such is the case for Jabari Parker, who fills a massive need for the Magic.
In one word, that would be "scoring."
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Orlando scored only 101.7 points per 100 possessions during the 2013-14 campaign, a mark that pushed it ahead of only the Philadelphia 76ers. This team desperately needs a go-to scorer, and it's hard to find one much better than Parker, even in such a stacked draft class.
Note: All combine stats and measurements come from NBA.com's data when available, rounded to the nearest inch and pound. Any others are from Draft Express. Unless otherwise indicated, per-game stats are sourced from ESPN.com.