I’ve been a die hard Orlando Magic fan my entire life. I’ve felt the growing pains of the early days, embraced Shaq and Penny Hardaway with open arms, shed a tear when both left, enjoyed the “Heart & Hustle” years, cheered the coming of Dwight, gave him the middle finger when he left, and finally am awaiting the next coming of our team.
We just completed the second year of our post-Dwight rebuilding process. While there were a ton of losses and lots of bad basketball, there still are some things to be excited about. Nik Vucevic, Tobias Harris, & Victor Oladipo appear to be a great core group. Three guys that all do different things. Victor is a great energy player and supplies very good perimeter defense. Tobias is a strong offensive player that has a good mid range shot coupled with the ability to finish at the rim. Nik is a world class rebounder with good pick-n-roll instincts. Maurice Harkless and Kyle O’Quinn are also two very solid bench players that seem to know their role and perform them well.
We are missing one thing that all NBA Title contending teams need and that is a goto offensive weapon. Aaron Affalo tried to play that role this past season, but that is a stretch for his skill set. He’s a very solid player but for a young team needing a dynamic player, he’s just not it. Aaron and Jameer Nelson are quality, high character veterans that have been great tutors to our young players, but we are at an impasse. Their roster spots are now needed for younger more dynamic players and our current young players are needed to take on the veteran roles that will be vacated. Whether one of our current players (Victor or Tobias) or this year’s draft selection will become that “goto player” is the big question.
The Magic were the third worst team in the NBA this past year and were poised to get a top selection in this year’s draft which is being described as one of the best draft classes in many years. However, we found a little bit of misfortune and landed in the #4 spot. We also received the #12 selection from Denver which is the first of 3 1st round picks we will be receiving from the Dwight Howard trade.
This draft has a clear top 3 athletes at the moment in Kansas’s Joel Embiid & Andrew Wiggins and Duke’s Jabari Parker. The Magic have the tough job of trying to find that high impact player among the rest of this draft class at the #4 spot. We have clear needs at PG, SG, and PF so being about to solidify 2 of those spots with our two first round selections will be an extremely important task.
The NBA Draft will be held on Thursday, June 26th. In subsequent posts I’ll break down my rankings of all the top prospects in this year’s draft. I’ll also include a detailed player analysis of players I feel will be in play for the Magic at their draft selection as well as mini-analysis of players that maybe targeted for their second selection at #12.