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 the teams individual strengths, weaknesses, roster, and what prospects would fit in with the current and future plans.
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Since trading Dwight Howard two full seasons ago the team has won 43 total games, turned over the roster, and has a small army of under 25 year old athletes with loads of potential. Now, with two more picks in the lottery of a talent draft the Magic have the opportunity to find that star that they are missing or at the very least bring in two more young guns to the army of Under 25 in Orlando.
Here is the NBA Draft Fast Five.
ONE: 2014-2015 Potential Roster Review
This team is built around the “veteran” group of Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo with a barrage of young athletes around them. Nelson has an eight million dollar team option that may not be exercised and Afflalo is only around for another year if he chooses. Next year this team will look largely the same with a lot of good pieces looking for a centerpiece. Afflalo and rebounding machine Nikola Vucevic are the teams most consistent players while Victor Oladipo, Moe Harkless, and Tobias Harris all showed flashes. Aside from a centerpiece this team needs an engine (point guard), position stability, and more consistent outside shooting.
The future can be very bight again, soon, in Orlando as soon as they figure out how to turn a bunch of good young assets into a good young team.
TWO: Biggest Strengths
So much youth and athletic versatility… As mentioned above Oladipo has shown flashes of being a good combo guard that can score, defend, and make plays for others. Harkless is a long, smooth athlete that can play both forward spots with relative ease. Then Harris has the ability to rebound despite his size and move around on the perimeter just as well. These three are all 21 and under with worlds of potential. Plus, they already have their anchor in the middle with Vucevic rebounding and scoring inside.
THREE: Biggest Weaknesses
So much youth and athletic versatility… Versatility can also be a weakness when you have a bunch of athletes on the court with little direction or established roles. Right now the Magic are unsure if Oladipo is a point guard, the second unit leader, or a combo guard. They cannot play Harris, Harkless, and Vucevic together because of the height and size issues on defense. Some of the worst defensive five man units last season involved those three as the front-court. This roster has the feel of a cast of Pro Bowl wide receivers without a quarterback to get them the ball.
FOUR: Odds In The 2014 NBA Draft Lottery
The Magic traded their superstar Dwight Howard and one of the returns was a complex first round pick. In the current pre-Draft Lottery standings the Magic would retain the Knicks pick (No. 12 Overall), the Denver Nuggets would keep their own pick (No. 11), and the New York Knicks have Carmelo Anthony. Got it? The No. 11 Pick has a 0.8% chance of winning the lottery while the No. 12 pick has a 0.7% chance. The Magic will select from one of those two spots for their second lottery pick.
FIVE: Recent History of the No. 11/12 Pick(s)
In recent years this has been a nice spot to get a steal in the draft. In fact, two of the better overall players in last years draft including the Rookie of the Year came from the 11/12 picks in Michael Carter-Williams and Steven Adams. Klay Thompson, J.J. Redick, Thaddeus Young, and Gerald Henderson also came from these spots. Someone has to fall and generally they get caught up around here.
Five Prospects That Make Sense For The Orlando Magic At No. 11/12 Overall
1. Marcus Smart: 6-3.25, 227 pounds – G, Oklahoma State
Stats: (In 32.7 MPG) 18.0 PPG 4.8 APG 29.9 percent 3PT
Last year Smart might have gone here instead of Oladipo and this year he has the chance to go here still, but in the late lottery. A big, strong defensive point guard next to Oladipo could make for a fearsome back-court.
2. Tyler Ennis: 6-2.5, 181 pounds – PG, Syracuse
Stats: (In 35.7 MPG) 12.9 PPG 5.5 APG 35.3 percent 3PT
The counter argument to Smart is Ennis who brings calm, poise, and purity to the position. He would be able to provide an engine and quarterback for the cast of athletes looking for someone to throw them the ball.
3. Dario Saric: 6-10, 223 pounds – F, Croatia
Stats: (In 46 Games) PPG 15.7 RPG 3.4 APG 33.6 pecent 3PT
Taking this in a different direction and drafting a potential stash prospect to come over in a few years once the rest of the roster is established is another idea. Saric can be a point forward capable of making plays for others.
4. James Young: 6-6, 213 pounds – G/F, Kentucky
Stats: (In 32.4 MPG) 14.3 PPG 4.3 RPG 34.9 percent 3PT
Another versatile piece, but one that will play the two or the three and provides shooting, which is a major weakness for the Magic. A bench group of Oladipo-Young-Harkless is not a bad one.
5. Nik Stauskas: 6-6.5, 207 pounds – SG, Michigan
Stats: (In 32.3 MPG) 17.5 PPG 3.3 APG 44.2 percent 3PT
He won’t be able to guard the three at the NBA level, but he has the size to play both the two and the three with his shooting, ball-handling, and basketball IQ.
?Positional stability at the one, two, and three are all major needs for the Magic. Targeting a pure point guard, shooting on the perimeter, or more traditional players to fill in the gaps on the roster caused by versatility is an approach that could benefit the Magic long-term.
Who should the Magic take this year?
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