I wonder what Hennigan's strategy will be if Cleveland doesn't pick Nerlens Noel. Here are three possibilities that might make sense for the Magic. I am putting this out to the OPP community so we can debate what to do in hopes that we can hammer out a solid OPP contingency plan.
Option 1) Pick Noel and keep him. Option 1 recommended sequel: Trade for a young, offensive-minded distributor type PG with average or greater defensive skills.
If we draft Noel to keep him, then I would feel better with eventually pairing him up with an offensive minded PG distributor, someone with similar qualities to Trey Burke, in order to provide some balance to the team. Also, I believe a paint defender like Noel can balance out a roughly average man-to-man PG perimeter defender (assuming that our team defense improves in the near future). I don't, however, think that Burke himself would be available if we decide to keep Noel, since I think Burke will be drafted early to mid lottery. I also think the asking asking price to trade for Burke in the mid lottery would be steeper than what we should be willing to pay.
One possibility for a PG trade that we have already discussed would be to trade for a young veteran such as Bledsoe, who is criticized by some here on OPP for his perceived subpar offensive efficiency and playmaking ability, but lauded for his defensive prowess. Or we could trade for some other as-of-yet-unknown veteran using our TPE asset, as we have also already previously discussed here on OPP.
My favorite PG trade possibility, as of right now, would be to trade our TPE to Dallas in exchange for the #13 pick (also previously discussed here on OPP). Then we select (hopefully) Schroeder with #13 pick. Schroeder looks like a tantalizing PG prospect from the limited scouting videos that I have seen of him (could also be fool's gold though). I think it would be an interesting experiment to pair Schroeder up with Noel and the rest of our current team. If we could somehow snag Burke at the right price, I think that would be cool too.
A potential disadvantage of drafting and keeping Noel is that it will create a glut at the PF position. That glut, however, would not begin until Noel returns from injury. I realistically expect Noel to return around February to March, given Jacque's conservative attitude towards bringing players back from injury. The Magic could also use next year to further assess the progress that our stable of young power forwards have made with their games.
I have previously offered Nicholson as trade bait in some of my earlier posts, because honestly, I wish he could help us defend our paint better. But if I were the Magic, I wouldn't trade any of our PFs until at least summer 2014. This way we can ascertain who the weakest prospect is in our crop of PFs, and trade that guy for a usable asset. Right now, I believe that each of our power forwards have potential to be solid contributors for the Magic's team of the future.
They all have potential:
BBD: Magic's post defender, rebounder, & energy blue collar guy. Slightly older than the rest and tends to chuck up inefficient shots and shots that get blocked. His value here is primarily for his post D and as somewhat of a leader for our team.
Harris: solid scorer, rebounder, and can block shots/garner steals at a decent clip. Still many Magic fans continue to question his game, mainly what position he will play.
Noel: wait & see, hopefully a solid paint defender, help defender, and rebounder. Extremely raw offensively, injury concerns, skinny as a toothpick as of right now.
Nicholson: good offensive moves for a PF. I think that if he can work with JJ Redick's trainer to improve his slow footed-ness, and add some strength (to help with his interior defense), I think he may have a solid upside in the NBA. With his height and his 7'4" wingspan and his above average shotblocking instincts, I am confident that he should be able to be a much more assertive help defender if he really works at it...
I also think Nicholson & Vaughn would be smart to explore Nicholson's value as a stretch 4. Nicholson showed flashes of promise as a somewhat efficient stretch 4 in college, albeit at a relatively LOW VOLUME in a weak conference. I think it would be wise to explore this because long range 2's are highly inefficient shots, and the Magic take too many of them. If anything, adding a 3 point shot to Nicholson's arsenal may further increase Nicholson's value. We might be able to trade him for a better asset (if we decide to trade him) if he shows that he has legitimate NBA 3 point range.
Option 2) Pick Noel and trade him down in the draft for any of the other draft prospects we like in order to milk an additional asset from the team we trade with in the process.
Such as Noel for Burke + future 1st round pick or Noel for McLemore (or Oladipo) + another diamond in the rough player who Hennigan has his eye on.... Or any other variation of trading down.
Option 3) Pass on Noel, and stick with our original plan of drafting McLemore, Oladipo, Burke, or whoever else Hennigan's deems our BPA, and stay put.
I posted this, because I wanted to spark discussion on the possibility of Noel falling to us. I know that as a community, we haven't discussed what would we do if Noel slipped to us very much at all...and we need some form of a contingency plan.