The Orlando Magic dealt away their first-round pick this year as part of the multi-player trade with the Phoenix Suns. While the pick would have been in the latter third of the first round, it has handicapped the Magic a little moving forward.
There's a good crop of power forwards that could add another dimension to the lineup than what Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson bring. Bass and Anderson are both good players, but there are players in the draft that excel in areas that Bass and Anderson do not.
This slideshow takes a realistic look at players that the Magic could trade up to obtain.
With few valuable trade chips on the team, the best the Magic could probably do is move up into the middle of the first round, and even doing that would probably take dealing J.J. Redick, who Otis Smith already designated as the shooting guard of the future, by matching a lucrative contract last summer, thwarting the Chicago Bulls' plans to acquire the guard.
Brandon Bass has some value as a trade chip, as well, but often he was the only player with anything going in weak stretches during the Magic's playoff run, making trading him a very unlikely proposition.
The Magic, should they move up, will not be looking to draft a project player. They already have Earl "Don't Call Me Keon" Clark to bring along, as well as possibly Daniel Orton, who may or may not ever pan out, whether his knee is injured or not.
That said, let's briefly examine some of the prospects the Magic could obtain if they moved up.
The only things keeping Matthew Bryan Amaning from being a lottery pick are his age, 23, and his lack of skill on the inside. He's still pretty raw, but has all the physical tools that would enable him to shine along Dwight Howard given time.
While he won't offer much offensively, Bryan-Amaning is mature and has a good handle of how to play the game, something that will translate to success on any level. His status as a starter in the NBA is doubtful, but he could be a nice piece off the bench to bring fire to the second unit.
Greg Smith has a lot of athletic ability and if that alone were the basis from which players were picked, he would be a lottery pick. However, his lack of offensive polish and low basketball IQ seem to form the basis for Smith falling deep into the second round.
Still, he has a great NBA body and the Magic desperately need a backup center for Dwight Howard. Smith would be great learning along side Howard as they compare physically (yes, I know no one actually physically compares to Howard realistically) and will utilize many of the same tools on both offense and defense.
Lucas Noguiera is just the next in a line of Brazilian players that have experienced success in the NBA. Following on the heels of Leandro Barbosa, Nene Hilario and Tiago Splitter, Noguiera exhibits the traditionally solid footwork of many Brazilian bigs.
Realistically, I expect Noguiera's potential to catapult him up the draft board as more and more NBA scouts see the physical gifts he brings to the table. He has a 7'6" wingspan to go with his 6'11" frame, and he's still growing.
Again, like Smith, Noguiera could step in and fill a backup center role for the Magic. He might get pushed around a little, but his length makes him a better option than any one else the Magic have at this point (Brandon Bass playing center? Really, Otis?).
Markieff Morris is the less talented of the two Morris brothers, but he is the more realistic target for the Magic than his brother, which may be a good thing since Markieff is slightly taller than Marcus.
While Morris is more of a power forward than a center, he could reasonably play center against most second units because he is strong enough and smart enough defensively to cover for his slightly lacking height.
It would be greatly beneficial to the Magic if Morris obtained a jumpshot to help spread the floor a little and keep the post less congested for Howard, but he would be more relied upon for the six to eight minutes Howard is on the bench, until he developed into a viable starter.
Faried takes the court
Kenneth Faried has been favorably compared to Dennis Rodman by many coaches and scouts. Why do the Magic need Faried to rebound when they already have the league's best (sorry, Kevin Love and your inflated stats) rebounder?
They don't, but Howard would love to have some help on the glass and it would save his legs for other things since he wouldn't have to pull down nearly as many rebounds. Faried is very raw offensively, but the Magic have enough firepower in both the first and second units that it isn't a concern.
Faried is currently projected as a late lottery pick in many mock drafts and though there are a number of teams that desire his services (the Knicks made it pretty publicly known actually), he will likely fall in the latter part of the lottery.
If the Magic were to make a deal to trade up for Faried, they would likely have to give up J.J. Redick, as he is the only player with sufficient trade value to net such a pick.