The Orlando Magic tore themselves apart. Now, they're in the midst of a multiyear repair plan.
After sending off Dwight Howard a couple offseasons ago, Orlando has found itself at the bottom of a struggling Eastern Conference, winning a total of just 43 games over the previous two years. But the Magic have a plan...we think.
Orlando did compile assets. Guys like Maurice Harkless, Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Kyle O'Quinn and Andrew Nicholson are all young and with upside, but the team is still missing some potential star power. Vucevic could be an All-Star in a weak East and Oladipo has "defensive stopper" written all over him, but that's probably it. The rest of those guys are simply nice role players.
That's why having Arron Afflalo as an asset was so important for the Magic. He was a chance to garner another first-round pick or young guy to help mold the future. But when Orlando traded Afflalo for Evan Fournier and the No. 56 pick in this year's draft right before selection Thursday, it lost that opportunity.
Reaching for Aaron Gordon at No. 4 wasn't that much of a stretch, and trading the No 12 pick for Elfrid Payton could help the team down the road, but Orlando seems like it's going to be in for another long season in 2014-15.
Update: No. 56 pick, Second Round, 11:55 p.m. (ET)
Orlando Magic select Roy Devyn Marble, SG, Iowa (6'6", 192 pounds)
Technically, this pick belongs to the Denver Nuggets, but the Nugs were selecting for the Magic, who will receive Marble after the Afflalo trade becomes official.
Marble is a shooting guard who is still learning to make his threes. He averaged 17.0 points, 3.6 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game as a senior last season, but sunk just 34.9 percent of his long balls. As a junior, he wasn't any better, hitting just 32.7 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
He is, however, a guy who can create off the dribble. He's a decent facilitator and knows how to find the open man within the Iowa offense. He was arguably the best player on a team that found a way to sneak into the NCAA Tournament, falling in the first round to Tennessee.
Marble probably won't be able to come in and make much of an impact right off the bat. He's not the direct replacement for Afflalo, and he won't challenge the newly acquired Evan Fournier's spot in the rotation. It's hard to expect that from an end-of-the-second-round pick, but at 21 years old, he's young for a senior and could still have some maturing to do.
Update: No. 12 pick, First Round, 8:50 p.m. (ET)
Orlando Magic select Dario Saric, PF, Croatia
Update: Trade, 8:50 p.m. (ET)
Orlando Magic receive Elfrid Payton
Philadelphia 76ers receive Dario Saric
The Philadelphia 76ers are getting creative. From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
As part of the deal, the Magic and 76ers will swap future first-round picks, including a first-round selection in 2017, according to Zach Lowe of Grantland. Wojnarowski also reports the Magic will send a 2015 second-round pick to Philly.
Payton is a point guard from Louisiana-Lafayette, and though he came from a small school, most consider him to be one of the more exciting point guards in the draft. The 20-year-old averaged 19.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game this year.
Though he is still developing a shot and drained only 25.9 percent of his threes this past season, he is a pest in the paint. He has one of the best handles in the draft and can filter into the lane with ease.
Once he is in the paint, Payton tends to finish nicely. He was a Tony Parker-type of scorer as a collegian. Now, he needs to see if that sort of efficiency can translate to the NBA.
If Payton can score in the paint with the same capabilities, Orlando has itself a nice point guard to pair next to Victor Oladipo in the future. Finally, Orlando has its 1-guard to take over for Jameer Nelson, but at what cost?
Orlando gave away a lot to get a couple of young guys who have proven nothing. They better hope Payton and Evan Fournier work out in the future.
Update: No. 4 pick, First Round, 8 p.m. (ET)
Orlando Magic select Aaron Gordon, SF/PF, Arizona, (6'9", 220 pounds)
Gordon wasn't necessarily expecting to hear his name called this early, but the former Arizona forward can boast himself as arguably the best athlete in this year's draft.
With a 39-inch vertical and a body that gives him above-average size on the wing, Gordon can defend with the best of them, but his offensive game is still relatively raw. He needs to work on his shooting, especially from the line, where he sunk just 42 percent of his free throws.
Though Gordon struggles to get in the lane on his own, he can finish at the rim with the best of them. He made a name for himself finishing alley-oops from Nick Johnson and getting slams off dump-offs and cuts.
Where Gordon truly excels, though, is on the defensive end of the floor. He spent this season guarding 3s, 4s and 5s, and meanwhile, the kid is still only 18 years old.
He is already disciplined defending the pick-and-roll. He has skill both as an on-ball stopper and as a helper. We saw it all at Arizona.
Even though he may have been a reach by a pick or two, Gordon slots nicely into Orlando's lineup, where he can play the 3 or 4 with Tobias Harris and Andrew Nicholson. The Magic have yet another young forward with which to move forward.
That they didn't go for Dante Exum with this pick could mean a few things.
Maybe Orlando is happy using Victor Oladipo as a point guard in the future. Or maybe it's not high on the Australian at all. More realistically, the Magic liked Gordon and knew they could use their 12th pick on a point guard, figuring Elfrid Payton or Tyler Ennis would be available at that slot.
Update: Trade—Noon (ET)
Orlando Magic receive Evan Fournier and the No. 56 pick in the 2014 NBA draft
Denver Nuggets receive Arron Afflalo
Maybe the market for Arron Afflalo was worse than we thought it was all along.
Afflalo has been on the market seemingly ever since the Magic acquired him a couple of years back in the Dwight Howard deal, but the Magic still didn't get much of a haul for him.
Fournier is a quality shooting guard, but still somewhat of an unknown. The 21-year-old averaged just 19.8 minutes a night this past season in Denver, but he has proven himself to be a shooter, draining 38.1 percent of his threes over his first two NBA seasons.
He's a capable defender and can run a little pick-and-roll. At least from what we've seen, Fournier can become a solid NBA shooting guard, but that's exactly what Orlando already had in Afflalo.
When looking at this trade, you have to think about opportunity cost. It's not about what the Magic got for Afflalo; it's about what they could have gotten.
It's hard to believe the Oklahoma City Thunder wouldn't have been willing to part with Jeremy Lamb and/or one of their two first-round picks to acquire a 2-guard who just barely missed making the All-Star team this past season. Why wouldn't the Charlotte Hornets give up their No. 24 pick to snatch up a decent defender, who drained a career-high 42.7 percent of his threes this year?
It seems like Orlando sold low on Afflalo, but maybe the market wasn't that high for him at the start. Maybe we just misread everything.
Fred Katz averaged almost one point per game in fifth grade, but he maintains that his per-36-minute numbers were astonishing. Find more of his work at RotoWire.com, WashingtonPost.com or on ESPN's TrueHoop Network at ClipperBlog.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FredKatz.
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