Find somewhere in front of a TV to settle in tomorrow night Magic Fans! I'm of course a life-long Magic fan, but a huge college hoops follower as well. I've had the 12th of November circled on my calendar all pre-season, what we'll see tomorrow night is a scheduling dream matching up 4 of the 5 top (pre-season) ranked teams in the country. What does any of this have to do with the Orlando Magic? Owning 2 picks in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft, there is a very good chance someone on the floor tomorrow night in Chicago (State Farm Champions Classic) could be wearing pinstripes in 2014. According to Nbadraft.net and other various scouting sites, here are the projected 1st rounder’s that will be on display...
Julius Randle, PF (Fr.) - Randle will likely be drafted in the Top 3-5, depending on how the lottery plays out. Early on in 2013-14, Randle has been "as advertised". I will look forward to seeing him match-up against the strength and size of MSU's interior bigs. I can easily forsee a scenario where Orlando selects Randle, allowing either Harkless or Harris to come off the bench as a back-up SF/6th man in the future, along with Nicholson serving as the back-up 4.
James Young, SG (Fr.) - I haven't seen Young play much; he certainly has struggled with his shot in the first couple Wildcat games. Young is a volume shooter, but may struggle to get his shots on this talented Kentucky team. From what I've read, James is a lefty shooter who reminds some of Michael Redd. He is a projected 1st rd. pick.
Andrew Harrison, G (Fr.) - Harrison's twin brother Aaron also plays for Kentucky. Andrew has great size for a PG (6-5, 215) and could be in line to be the next Calipari lottery-selected PG. From what I've seen of Harrison on film, he is a capable player with skill and room to grow. He needs to show throughout the season that he can run an offense effectively, but almost surely will be a 1st round selection in June. If Orlando were to improve this season and land in the 30-35 win range, Andrew Harrison could be a possible selection in the middle to late lottery.
Willie Cauley-Stein, C (So.) - Excellent athlete, we all saw what Cauley-Stein could do last year, especially after Noel went down. Cauley-Stein has a long way to go, but strictly because of size and upside, Willie will surely be a 1st rounder in 2014.
Alex Poythress, SF/PF (So.) – Even though he was nowhere near ready, probably should have declared last year. With Kentucky’s recruitment class in 2013, Poythress may get left behind if he doesn’t improve markedly. Has shown strides so far this year, could be a tweener in the NBA. Was once considered a lottery pick, now is a borderline 1st rd. pick.
Gary Harris, SG (So.) – Excellent pure scorer, but also plays very well in Izzo’s team system. Comparable game to Shannon Brown with more upside, more of a natural scorer, maybe not quite the athlete Shannon was. Should contend for Big 10 Player of the Year, will be a late lotto selection in 2014.
Adrian Payne, PF (Sr.) – Great inside/outside game. Will translate well in the NBA. Projects as a mid to late 1st rounder in 2014. I will be excited to see Payne matched up with Julius Randle.
Jabari Parker, F (Fr.) – A proven winner in high school, very high pedigree. Maybe not the upside of a Wiggins or Randle, but very steady. Parker is one of the top recruits that Coach K has ever brought in to Cameron. The matchup of Parker vs. Wiggins is "Must-See TV". Will be interesting to see how much time Parker and Wiggins will actually be guarding each other. I have to evaluate throughout the year if Parker is more of a NBA 3 or 4. Game is very similar to Carmelo Anthony. Parker plays the same type of position/role as Tobias Harris. Unless another move would be made, I think other players in the lottery are more likely to be selected by Orlando than Jabari.
Andrew Wiggins, SF (Fr.) – Wiggins has been the presumed #1 pick in 2014 for some time. That is a lot of pressure to live up to, but Andrew if a very polished young man. His progress and production throughout the year will be fascinating to watch. Tuesday night in Chicago will be his stage, let’s see what he can do. If Orlando happens to win the lottery, I don’t see the Magic passing on this type of talent, need or otherwise.
Wayne Selden, SG (Fr.) – Excellent athlete. Again, I haven’t seen much of Selden. Will be overshadowed all year by the play of Andrew Wiggins, could be a steal for an NBA team in the 2014 draft. Projected to be a lottery pick.
Joel Embiid, C (Fr.) – What a haul for Bill Self, one of the best recruiting classes in KU history. Embiid is very raw, but will certainly pose a problem for Duke, who has talent, but is smallish on the interior. Embiid is a legit 7-0 (250), has tons of upside, and is a sure-fire lottery pick.
Others to keep an eye on – Keith Appling (MSU), Rodney Hood (Duke), Perry Ellis (Kansas)
A lot of games will be played between now and June 2014. But for Magic fans, this could be a rare night early in the season where all sorts of potential Orlando selections are on stage at the same time. Set the DVR, I am excited! Thoughts about any potential selections or any other comments? I’ll look forward to your comments Magic fans!