Way too early draft talk

Plot Twist: It's never too early to talk about the draft.

Well, it is somewhat early. But let's have some casual draft discussion anyway.

I don't think much is truly settled in 2013. There is no runaway consensus #1. We don't know exactly where the Magic's pick will fall. So feel free to just bring some players into the discussion that you like, let us know what you like about them and how they fit into what the Magic are doing.

We're still transitioning from the Howard era into Magic Nouveau. So I'm going to touch on that very briefly to set some needs and then talk more about position theory and maybe some prospects.

First off a little bit about which players I think have a place on the Magic Nouveau squad and what that role might be (literally this could be its own FanPost so I am going to have to sell the reasoning and discourse short here, for the sake of time)

Nikola Vucevic: Starting Center

I think Nik can be slotted in for "center of the future", I'm not saying star or whatever but he could very likely start for the Magic for the next 10 years.

Andrew Nicholson: Bench Weapon

I think this where the most disagreements would come from. But I don't ever see Nicholson being the ideal starting power forward. Especially next to Vucevic. Scoring punch off the bench is the best way to utilize his talents, imo.

Maurice Harkless: Bench Defender

It's hard to predict the player Harkless will be. What I do like about Harkless already is I think he has the ability to guard three positions at a high level. Small Forward, obviously. He seems more than mobile enough to guard two-guards and bother with his length. And I think he rebounds well enough that in a couple years after he has filled out a bit he can spend time at power forward, especially in small line ups.

Etwaun Moore: Bench Combo Guard

Moore is a valuable shooter that should help keep the floor spaced. He seems very capable of giving you minutes at either guard spot so that flexibility is nice going forward.

Kyle O'quinn: Bench Muscle

I think Oquinn has a chance to evolve into a sort of throwback enforcer type big. And he has just enough of a jumpshot to keep defenses honest.


From this examination we can discern an excellent start to a deep rotation and a quality bench. But a dearth of stars and long term starters.

The Magic could use a high quality starter at any of four positions; power forward, small forward, shooting guard, and point guard.

I can think of several arguments for each position being both the biggest and smallest need. For right now I think that the "best player that isn't a center" is what the Magic should be aiming for.

But I have encountered a few people of the opinion that no big man should receive any consideration because the most promising player the Magic have in place is Vucevic. And the most of the young depth the Magic have is in the frontcourt.

There are aspects of that reasoning that I agree with. But I am not entirely in agreement with it to the point that it reaches the conclusion that a big man is not needed and should be passed up if at all possible.

I think that at this point, unavoidably, to make this counter argument requires a degree of dismantling of both Vucevic and Nicholson. I do not have any interest in really getting into that and having those arguments with fans of Nik and Drew.

So instead I just ask that for the sake of discussion we take two principles as true and save some debate for another time.

1.) That Vucevic and Nicholson are both flawed players.

2.) That ideally the Magic Nouveau team that theoretically would contend in the future would have a better starting power forward than Nicholson.


So the Vucevic paradox is this.

If he is going to be the center of the future and is flawed then his flaws must be accounted for and supplemented. To not do that is to under cut his ability to be the long term solution at center. So by filling the long term need at center with Vucevic the Magic create a need for a complimentary player that sets up Vucevic to be the most successful center possible.

Similarly to how the Magic always accounted for Nelson's shortcomings. Nelson is a fairly pedestrian playmaker so the Magic always kept auxiliary playmakers on the roster to take some of the distributing pressure off Nelson. Nelson is also undersized so the Magic have always tried to keep tall back up guards behind him so as to have defenders to ward off the league's taller lead guards.

Vucevic's weaknesses appear to be defensive presence and rim protection. Vucevic's strength is his rebounding.

That means the ideal complementary power forward would be able to block some shots, would be a good rebounder (so that Vucevic's strength becomes a team strength), and would have good offensive skills so as not to disrupt what the Magic are trying to do on that end.


The need at PF breaks down as this. The complimentary player previously mentioned OR a transcendent player that could be a star.

The next factor is philosophy.

Conventional wisdom holds that you more or less alternate trying to acquire interior and perimeter players.

There is a certain logic to it. But at the end of the day you need multiple guys at multiple positions to win and that isn't the only way to go about it.

Another thing to consider is that traditionally big men take longer to develop than perimeter guys.

So all things being equal and if that draft pool merits it. Why not draft your big men first and get them developing before you draft the perimeter stars of your team?

Again, that isn't the only way to go about it. I wouldn't say you have to approach the draft that way, nor that you should, but you can. And there's a certain logic to it.


Which leaves opportunity.

I don't think the Magic should pursue any draft strategy in a vacuum.

You have to take what the player pool gives you.

This draft is actually very size heavy. With five to seven (depending on your opinions of certain players) of the top ten prospects being power forwards or centers.

Small forward and point guard prospects of quality are hard to come by. With Otto Porter being the main SF of note and Marcus Smart filling a similar position among point guards.

There are two dominant shooting guards that are clearly battling for position at the very top of the draft in Muhammad and McLemore.

I do think that when you look at the player pool that makes up this draft that if you are the Magic you have to consider drafting a big.


Right now my draft board for the Magic is pretty darn simple and it looks like this:

1.) Nerlens Noel

2.) Ben McLemore

3.) Shabazz Muhammad

4.) Isaiah Austin

That's it.

I think that Marcus Smart would be worth drafting if the Magic were drafting 7th or later. I just don't think they will be drafting that late and I wouldn't trade down for him, honestly.

Trey Burke I think the Magic should try and steal from a team picking in the teens sort of like how they did with Jameer Nelson.(it's worth it) (I'd even throw in one of the future picks we got from the Dwight deal) (Burke never turns the ball over) (never) (I can't not love that no matter how hard I try to talk myself out of it)

But as far as who the Magic should select with their (most likely) top four draft pick those are the only names on my list. (honorable mention to Anthony Bennett)


Let's pull back and go even more meta-big picture.

It's never too early for draft talk, remember?


2014 is dominated by world class future all-star small forwards.(Wiggins, Parker, Vonleh)

In addition to the small forwards there is one SG, James Young; and one PG, Andrew Harrison. Those player make up the top of the class of 2014.

So, here is a question. With the knowledge that the Magic are probably going perimeter and probably going wing player in the superstar draft of 2014 does it make it less imperative that the Magic grab up one of the SGs available in 2013?


Let's go applied sciences now.

(this is going to get very specific. way more specific than you can realistically speculate. but it's just an exercise so try and take it with a grain of salt.)

2013 Draft: Magic draft Isaiah Austin (my favorite) and trade future Lakers pick and cash for Trey Burke and select Carrick Felix in the second round.

2013-2014 line up and rotation looks vaguely like this: (SF rotation too murky to call minutes on)

Center Nikola Vucevic – 35mpg Isaiah Austin – 13mpg Kyle O'Quinn
Power Forward Isaiah Austin – 22mpg Andrew Nicholson – 26mpg
Small forward Hedo Turkoglu Moe Harkless Carrick Felix
Shooting Guard Arron Afflalo – 35mpg EtWaun Moore – 13mpg
Point Guard Jameer Nelson – 35mpg Trey Burke – 13mpg EtWaun Moore

Vucevic, Austin, and Nicholson are the frontcourt rotation.

Austin and Vucevic combine for roughly 18'8" of aggregate standing reach. This makes the Magic amazingly long up front. They are both high level rebounders so the Magic become incredibly dominant on the boards. Probably the best in the league.

This twin towers line up is also uniquely interesting because Vucevic is a competent jump shooter and Austin is very good. So you have the unique situation where you are huge up front, you can take smaller frontlines into the post, but you are also keeping the floor well spaced for slashers and penetrators with the shooting ability of your bigs. You add to that great offensive rebounding ability. It's a really dynamic combination.

You rotate Nicholson in for Vucevic and move Austin over to center when the back ups come in. Giving a high octane offensive unit to take advantage of the less athletic bench defenders that will have a hard to matching Nicholson and Austin's skill level.

Burke gets the reserve PG minutes while being mentored by Nelson.

2014 Draft!

My good friend leBigMac recently advised me to shoot for the moon.

The Magic draft Andrew Wiggins. (keep in mind that Jabari Parker or most any of the others are basically just as good)

The core team created looks like this:

Center Nikola Vucevic – 35mpg Isaiah Austin – 13mpg Kyle O'Quinn
Power Foward Isaiah Austin – 22mpg Andrew Nicholson – 26mpg
Small forward Andrew Wiggins – 35mpg Moe Harkless – 13mpg Carrick Felix
Shooting Guard Arron Afflalo – 35mpg EtWaun Moore – 13mpg
Point Guard Trey Burke – 35mpg Jameer Nelson – 13mpg EtWaun Moore

This should in theory be a very successful team. The way this team produces wins is efficiency. Efficient shooting from all of the role players with Wiggins probably being the only moderately efficient high volume shooter.

Burke's hyper-elite ball protection means that there are next to no turnovers. Combined with the excellent offensive rebounding from Vucevic and Austin create a possession discrepancy.

More possessions and better points per possession versus opponent leads to wins.

That is one scenario I've sketched out so far.


So there you have a lot of thoughts on the upcoming draft. The validity of selecting another big man in this draft and how it could effect future drafts and future potentially contending teams.

tl;dr: I like words.

This FanPost was made by a member of the Orlando Pinstriped Post community, and is to be treated as the opinions and views of its author, not that of the blogger or blog community as a whole.

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