Leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft – in the stretch run now — we are going to preview each team in the lottery for their needs. Taking a look at each team’s individual strengths, weaknesses, roster, and what prospects would fit in with their current and future plans.
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Those double-dipping Orlando Magic are back in the lottery preview for the second time with the same team, same needs, and now a higher pick to try to improve. This is only the second top-5 pick for the Magic during their rebuild and they have built up quite the collection of talent already. Will this be the piece to put them over the top?
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Here is the NBA Draft Fast Five.
ONE: 2014-2015 Potential Roster Review
Of all the “bad” teams in the NBA, the Magic seem to have the deepest collection of quality talent. No stars, but depth that could end up blossoming into a better team or manifest itself into a trade down the line for a star. The nucleus of Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic are not the next Kobe and Shaq, but as individual talents do a lot of things really well. Sprinkle in veterans like Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo, young athletes like Maurice Harkless and Tobias Harris, and a young coach in Jacque Vaughn to form a team primed for a jump in the coming years.
TWO: Biggest Strengths
There was not a lot to be impressed with this team on the court this season, but they showed good depth at the two-guard position. They have an asset in Afflalo who can be dangled out for more youth in the draft or an impact veteran at a different position. Overall, the teams’ biggest strength at this point in the draft is their collection of assets. With Afflalo, two lottery picks, and a few other similar parts on the roster, they could make a blockbuster trade if one comes to them.
THREE: Biggest Weaknesses
Point guard has been a position of need for this team since Nelson hit his glass ceiling and began to regress. He is a quality point guard and leader, but the team needs to find a dynamic athlete at the one like most teams in the league have to run the offense. Last year they wanted Marcus Smart and instead got Oladipo. This year they have two more opportunities to select a point guard for the future.
FOUR: Odds In The 2014 NBA Draft Lottery
The Magic were sitting pretty with the chance to draft in the Top 3 or potentially move up higher. In fact there was a 46.9 percent chance they stayed in the Top 3 in some capacity, but slid down to the No. 4 slot, which was just a 22.6 percent chance. Now they have to alter their thinking.
FIVE: Recent History of the No. 4 Pick
Well, if you reach a lot of times you get burned and that has been the case for most teams with this pick over the past nine years. Sure, Tyreke Evans, Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley, and Chris Paul have all been great in their own right here, but then there have been a string of duds. Cody Zeller, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Wesley Johnson, and Tyrus Thomas have all been reaches at this slot. Orlando should just take the best available player.
Five Prospects That Make Sense For The Orlando Magic At No. 4 Overall
1. Andrew Wiggins: 6-8, 200 pounds – G/F, Kansas
Stats: (In 32.8 MPG) 17.1 PPG 5.9 RPG 34.1 percent 3PT
You can never have too many athletes and with the pair of Oladipo and Wiggins on the wing, opposing scorers would have a tough night against the Magic. Wiggins has the most potential to be a star in this league with his athleticism, defensive ability, and steady improvement on the offensive end.
2. Jabari Parker: 6-8, 235 pounds – F, Duke
Stats: (In 30.7 MPG) 19.1 PPG 8.7 RPG 35.8 percent 3PT
A natural scorer that can play two positions and take over games in the final five minutes is something the Magic did not have last year. Parker does not fit an immediate need, but would be a go-to weapon for the team for years.
3. Joel Embiid: 7-0, 250 pounds – C, Kansas
Stats: (In 23.1 MPG) 11.2 PPG 8.1 RPG 2.6 BPG 62.6 percent FG
Center is not a position of need, but if the big man slides from No. 1 to the Magic here then you have to consider it. Embiid is a game changer on both ends and could ease into the NBA behind Vucevic for a few years.
4. Dante Exum: 6-6, 196 pounds – G, Australia
Stats: (2013 FIBA U19 Championships) 18.2 PPG 3.8 APG 33.3 percent 3PT
It is going to take a full season or longer for Exum to get on the same physical level as NBA guards and maybe longer to develop his point guard skills. Right now he is more of a two guard and has the potential to develop into a lead guard with his size, athleticism, and vision.
5. Marcus Smart: 6-3.75, 227 pounds – G, Oklahoma State
Stats: (In 32.7 MPG) 18.0 PPG 4.8 APG 29.9 percent 3PT
In all likelihood Smart was the guy last year and in a perfect world they get him this year to round things out. He is a tough two-way player that can step in right away running a team with his physicality, leadership, and basketball IQ.
Normally I would write “best available player” here in the Top 5 no matter the position, but after the Big Three of this years draft the Magic can get picky with a point guard. If they step up to the podium and Wiggins, Parker, and Embiid are all gone a selection of either Smart or Exum makes a lot of long-term sense.
What do you think?
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