guide to the upcoming draft from the Orlando Magic's perspective.
The Orlando Magic own the 19th and 49th picks in the 2012 draft. This piece will focus only on the first round selection.
Taking many expert opinions, mock drafts, and articles into consideration I tried to identify as many prospects as I could that seem to be likely candidates for the Magic to choose with the 19th pick.
The following are the top 11 by my estimation.(all stats are per 40 minutes pace adjusted)
|PG/SG||6'5"||180 lbs||6'8"||(19 Years Old) 04/14/1993||Washington||Pac-12|
Strengths: Fantastic size/length and strength coupled with very good speed and quickness, Wroten is an elite level athlete. Wroten plays with a very aggressive offensive mentality attacking the basket off the dribble, both in the half-court and in transition. He finishes well in traffic with either hand and has the ability to rise up and finish above the rim. Tony Wroten has superb court vision and ball-handling skills showing the ability to find open teammates anywhere on the floor. With his length and physical tools he has the potential to be a spectacular defender and is already very good when focused.
Weaknesses: Shooting. His biggest and most glaring weakness is his shooting. Wroten shot terribly from the perimeter in his first and only season at Washington. Once opponents learned to back off of Wroten his overall effectiveness was greatly diminished and it might have cost him Pac-12 Player of the Year honors.The other part of his game that he really needs to improve is limiting his turnovers. He averaged 0.22 turnovers per possession and has not shown the ability to consistently lead a balanced and steady offense.
Magic Outlook: Wroten would probably slide right into the back-up PG role for the Magic. There are a lot of positives for the Magic as he would instantly become the Magic's fastest player, quickest player, best one-on-one player, best slasher, best penetrator, best finisher (not counting Dwight Howard), and best perimeter defender. There are a few negatives, the most obvious being the risk that he never improves his jumpshot and never reaches his potential. A more short term concern is his turnovers may hurt the team and his playing time while he learns the NBA game.
My odd stream of consciousness association: Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols keeps popping into my head when reading up on him.
|SF||6'7"||226 lbs||6' 6"||(22 Years Old) 05/23/1989||Vanderbilt||SEC|
Strengths: One of the most fundamentally sound players in the draft. Possibly the most ready to contribute right away player available. Has become an outstanding outside shooter. Possesses lightning quick agility and great strength and leaping ability. Tenacious defender, should be able to guard 3 positions in the NBA immediately.
Weaknesses: Short arms. Does not have the perimeter skills, ball-handling, or passing that you would like to see in a SF. Would be best suited to playing with a ball-dominate star or pure point guard. He will be 23 by the time the season starts and has only had one really good season offensively.
Magic Outlook: Taylor wouldn't be a bad pick for the Magic. He fits into the Pietrus/Lee mold of strong defenders with good 3-pt shots and few other tools.
|SF/PF||6' 8"||265 lbs||???||(21 Years Old) 04/10/1991||Iowa State||Big 12|
Strengths: White has a powerful frame and is an aggressive athlete that likes to attack the rim. Can pull down a defensive rebound and then leading the fast-break himself due to remarkable ball-handling skills. Has a sharp crisp dribble and a deadly crossover that he can use at speed. Passing ability rivals a lot of point guards. Good awareness of where his teammates are on the court and skilled at delivering the ball to them in a position to score. Strong rebounder, boxes out well. With his size and skill set he should be an incredibly difficult player to matchup against.
Weaknesses: Serious concerns about weight and conditioning. Too turnover prone. Needs to improve as a jumpshooter. White has an anxiety disorder that has caused some concern.
Magic Outlook: White is a fascinating prospect with amazing tools. The downside for the Magic is that he would best fit them as a SF that could (in time) replace Turkoglu's point forward role. And while he has the passing skills and natural mobility for the job. It would require him to dramatically improve his conditioning and probably drop about 20 lbs for White to play SF at the NBA level. The likelihood of which there are serious questions about.
My odd stream of consciousness association: "Royce White" sounds to me like a Sherlock Holmes villain and you won't convince me otherwise.
|PG||6' 2"||179 lbs||6' 6"||(19 Years Old) 02/28/1993||Kentucky||SEC|
Strengths: Speed, speed, speed, and quickness. Teague is a lightning fast player with good size and a great wingspan. He is dangerous in transition, and can both finish himself and also find his teammates. Teague is a fierce competitor who has shown some promise as a vocal leader.
Weaknesses: Teague is a bad outside shooter. He struggles in the half-court and has shown a tendency to pound the ball at the top of the key and wait for something to happen. He has problems with turnovers and decision making often trying to force things. He is a scoring point guard but only averaged 12.3 points per game (per 40 min pace adjusted) with a lackluster 49% true shooting percentage and a poor 1.06 points per shot (according to Synergy Sports).
Magic Outlook: Marquis Teague is best served on an uptempo team and the Magic certainly aren't that. There are a lot of concerns here, the biggest of which is that Teague really doesn't project to be "the PG of the future". The Magic would more be drafting him to replace Duhon as back-up PG. And he might fail.
|SF/PF||6' 9"||249 lbs||7' 2"||(20 Years Old) 01/09/1992||Kentucky||SEC|
Strengths: Size, wingspan, athleticism. Jones was a good defender and a good shot blocker in college and projects to be a good defender at the NBA level. Elite level finisher who plays above the rim. Good handles, can drive it to the basket. Match-up problem because he's too big for most SFs and too fast for most PFs.
Weaknesses: Tweener forward that lacks a natural position. Not a good shooter. Lack of improvement from freshman to sophomore season has some people questioning his work ethic. Had some problems with attitude and body language last year.
Magic Outlook: Listen. This is my problem with the Magic drafting Terrence Jones: He is Earl Clark. You can read the pre-draft breakdowns of the two players and it is practically copy/paste. Jones: Tweener forward Clark: Tweener forward, Jones: 6'9" Clark: 6'10.5", Jones: 7'2" wingspan Clark: 7'2.5" wingspan, college 3pt% Jones: 32.7% Clark: 32.6%. It's ridiculous. Points, rebounds, all the same. So drafting Jones is basically drafting Baby Clark in the hopes that this version is better able to develop a jumpshot. It doesn't sound worth using the 19th pick to run that experiment to me.
|PF||6' 6"||235 lbs||???||(22 Years Old) 03/04/1990||Michigan State||Big Ten|
Strengths: Draymond Green can do just about anything that you can ask a basketball player to do on a basketball court.
Weaknesses: Green is 6'6" and is a PF with little to no ability to play any other position. Even at 6'6" some scouts question if Green has the quickness and agility to guard power forwards. So you can kind of think of Green as Barkley with Glen Davis' vertical, Yao Ming's running speed, and Arvydas Sabonis' agility.
Magic Outlook: Green has so many skills that he is going to get a look from an NBA team. I think that 19 is way way too early for Green to go. If somehow he is acquirable in the second round at low cost he becomes a good risk/reward player.
My odd stream of consciousness association: He looks like Brandon Bass. (don't you think?)
|PF||6' 9"||220 lbs||???||(22 Years Old) 12/08/1989||St. Bonaventure||A-10|
Strengths: Nicholson is a strong offensive PF with multiple skills. And a very good shot blocker his entire career. He shot an impressive 43.4% from the college three last season. Nicholson has the jumpshot to be a stretch 4 while having the post skills to punish any teams that try to counter by going small.
Weaknesses: A little under-sized at 6'9". Nicholson is too thin and has a weak base, needs to put on weight and lower body strength to guard and rebound in the NBA. Very turnover prone for a player that doesn't handle the ball much and he doesn't get any assists. Has never shown a consistent effort on either side of the ball. His 3-pt percentage is good but he didn't shoot that many and his shot is still considered a work in progress (he does have very good mechanics and fluidity).
Magic Outlook: If the Magic intend to continue the 4-1 offense Nicholson has the potential to be the perfect piece. He could play a stretch 4 with good shot-fake ability to gain an advantage against defenders closing out, he has a good shot off the dribble, and can post-up smaller players. Defensively he is an excellent shot blocker which could help shrink the floor and give help in the paint by someone other than Howard. Having a shot blocker on either side of the floor would really close off dribble drives and return the Magic to elite level defense.
That being said there are multiple factors working against Nicholson. The first of which is an over abundance of depth at PF. The Magic having Anderson as the starter, Davis & Clark as back-ups, and having just drafted Harper as a stretch 4 last year, they just don't have room for another PF.
Also, Nicholson, while being an intriguing prospect is still mostly just potential. And he has questions about his work ethic and his motor which could hurt him ever actually achieving his full potential.
|SG||6' 7"||197 lbs||6' 7"||(21 Years Old) 02/05/1991||Washington||Pac-12|
Strengths: Ross is a good athlete and has good size for the SG position. He has a good outside jumpshot, moves without the ball well, and has shown promise shooting the ball on the move coming off screens. He also plays well on and off the ball defensively, doing a good job of staying with his man, denying passes, and hedging screens. An explosive leaper Ross finishes aggressively at the rim but struggles sometimes when he can't dunk and has to lay the ball up.
Weaknesses: Loses his aggression and focus at times. Can have poor shot selection. Has but an average basketball IQ. Doesn't have the best handle and is not much of a threat taking the ball to the basket in the half-court.
Magic Outlook: Ross is a pretty solid all-around SG prospect. He's not really a specialist and so doesn't fit acutely into a specific roleplayer's niche. I think that with Richardson under long-term contract and with Redick, Richardson, Wafer, and Liggins behind him SG is so far from a need for the Magic, that at this point, they can't take a SG even if he is the best player available. Because Jrich isn't going anywhere and there are more pressing needs than another capable back-up.
|SG||6' 4"||200 lbs||6' 7"||(20 Years Old) 11/06/1991||Kentucky||SEC|
Strengths: Shooting. Shooting with a capital SHwish. Lamb also is a capable (but not spectacular) ball-handler who rarely turns the ball over.
Weaknesses: Lamb lacks ideal SG size, he needs to get stronger, and is not blessed with great lateral quickness or explosion. Only a so-so defender in college he will struggle against both taller players and quicker players at the NBA level.
Magic Outlook: Doron Lamb as maybe the premiere outside shooter in the draft certainly fits the Magic's MO. If the Magic take a "throw another 3-pt shooter on the pile" philosophy this year Lamb is a strong possibility. He is however, like Terrence Ross, hurt by the Magic's glut of SGs.
|SF||6' 8"||208 lbs||???||(19 Years Old) 05/11/1993||St. John's||Big East|
Strengths: Good size for a SF. Amazing athlete with a lot of potential. Harkless projects as a solid defender and a good rebounder.
Weaknesses: Very raw offensive game, Harkless needs to improve his shooting and most every other aspect of scoring, dribbling, passing, etc.
Magic Outlook: Harkless is a long-term "potential pick". He has a lot of promise as a defender but it will be a couple of seasons before he is ready to contribute to a playoff team. The Magic I don't think have need for this kind of raw athlete so i don't see him getting much consideration. To me he makes more sense for a team like the Celtics who will be looking to reload in a few years.
|SG||6' 3.5"||201 lbs||6' 6.5"||(20 Years Old) 12/01/1991||Syracuse||Big East|
Strengths: A good scorer especially in transition. Good ballhandler and passes well out of pick and rolls. Has a strong body and wide frame that helps him overpower people. Very good jumpshooter. Protects the ball well committing very few turnovers. Aggressive defender that really tries to cause havoc for enemy offenses.
Weaknesses: PG size but a SGs game. Does not possess elite quickness. Inconsistent offensively his entire career. Struggles in the half-court. Bad shot selection. Has never had to play man defense and has not had to guard many highly talented players in general.
Magic Outlook: Talented but risky pick. I think his inability to play PG consistently hurts him as that is where there are minutes available in the Magic rotation. If the Magic decide to go for a SG I don't see them taking Waiters over Ross/Lamb/Taylor (and while one or two of those player might be already gone by the time the Magic select there is no way that all three of them are).
My odd stream of consciousness association: His name makes me think of Di from Clueless serving tables at a restaurant.
The Best Pick: Tony Wroten
In my opinion the Magic have three major needs that they could hope to fill with the 19th pick; back-up center, back-up point guard, and I think they could use another small forward.
One of those (center) can't be addressed in this draft due to lack of quality big men.
Of the other two I find PG to be the more urgent.
This really narrows it down to two players. Marquis Teague and Tony Wroten.
Teague is the better shooter (while still not being a good enough shooter to have to guard behind the three point line). Wroten is the better athlete, scorer, one-on-one player, defender, playmaker, passer, and has the higher ceiling.
Wroten actually fits uncannily well (in some ways). The Magic have the advantage of having veteran guard Jameer Nelson to start in front of and mentor a young player. They also have a full-time shooting coach on staff.
Wroten is a young player that would benefit from mentoring and needs to work on his shooting.
The Magic are in desperate need of a somewhat effective second string PG. Wroten who is considered a very good defender has a better chance of usurping Chris Duhon's role than does Teague.
Another benefit of drafting Wroten is he works equally well whether Dwight Howard stays or leaves. If Howard stays he fits into the lineup as mentioned above and has the potential to become a future star alongside Howard. If Howard leaves he becomes a part of the resulting youth movement and joins a young core of players more his age.
Wroten is far from a perfect player. But for the 19th pick and taking into consideration the Magic's needs he fits the biggest hole with the most potential and with relatively the same risk as any of the other players.
The Avant-Garde Pick: Royce White
Royce White has numerous talents and an equal number of red flags.
Kind of a project he would be maybe the riskiest pick but also one of the most rewarding.
I actually wouldn't mind seeing the Magic pick Royce White because it would show some imagination and flair.
The Dark Horse Pick: Andrew Nicholson
His skills just fit the Magic too perfectly for them not to consider Nicholson. Even having picked Harper just last year.
The Safe Pick: Marquis Teague
Kentucky just won the championship and Teague did play well in the tourney. Everyone knows the Magic need a PG and if they chose Teague no one could really fault them for it. Which is sometimes the desired result of a draft for an embattled front office.
The Likely Pick: Jeffrey Taylor
The Magic sometimes are like a child that makes a joke that makes everybody laugh and then the child keeps telling the same joke again immediately and can't understand why it isn't as funny 10 seconds later.
Which is to say if you give them positive feedback they tend to try and do the same things over and over again to the point that you have to tell them to stop.
I don't see them changing what is kind of working. So I think the player they would definitely pick if he was still available is Jeff Taylor. With the dark horse senior being (again) Andrew Nicholson.
Taylor wouldn't be a bad pick at all. It just creates a bit of redundancy with all of the other three point shooters that need someone else to create looks for them that are currently on the Magic's roster.