In the NBA it is better to be awful than mediocre. As counter-intuitive as that may seem, it is true that average teams tend to remain average while bad teams have a chance to strike gold in the lottery. This year’s top draft selection, Anthony Davis, is currently averaging 15 points and 8 rebounds per game to go along with 2.1 blocks. The New Orleans Hornets acquired him with the 1st overall pick after winning only 21 games in last years shortened 66 game season. The Sacramento Kings won only 1 more games which translated into the 5th overall pick with which they selected Thomas Robinson. Robinson is currently averaging 4 points and 4 boards per game. So, the difference of just one game can be the difference between a solid NBA prospect and a franchise-altering future phenom.
The Orlando Magic are currently 8-13 while the Cleveland Cavaliers are 5-18. Neither team is likely to make the playoffs, so which team is really in a better position? The Cavaliers have incredible young prospects in Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, plus the league leading rebounder in Anderson Varejao. When Al Harrington and Hedo Turkoglu come back the Orlando Magic are likely going to win more games, which is a terrifying prospect. Rob Hennigan was brought in to rebuild this franchise for a reason and getting a 14th overall pick in next year’s draft is unlikely to fast-track that ambition.
The top prospects in next year’s draft offer some very intriguing prospects. Draft Express.com lists Shabazz Muhammad of UCLA as their number one choice. This kid has the potential to become a future NBA All-Star, if you don’t believe me YouTube his highlight reels. Nerlens Noel of the Kentucky Wildcats is listed as number two. He is a blocking phenom with a ridiculous motor in the same mold (albeit much more raw) of an Anthony Davis. These guys have more in common than strange first names; they are the kind of players that teams can build around.
Are the Orlando Magic too good? I believe it is quite possible that they are. You will likely see more trades from the Orlando Magic before February’s trade deadline. Proven talent like fan-favorite J.J. Redick and his expiring contract could bring in some decent prospects or picks from a team that is looking to add a deadly marksmen and shot creator. Any trades will likely be centered around sending out good players for future cap flexibility, young prospects, or future draft picks.
In just a few years the Oklahoma City Thunder went from being one of the worst teams in the entire league to being the reigning Western Conference Champions. Their team was built through the draft and on tempered front office decisions. Rob Hennigan has been recruited to lead Orlando in the same kind of process. Are the Orlando Magic too good? Right now they have a better record than the star-studded L.A. Lakers, which is both hilarious and worrisome.