As the Orlando Magic continue their post-Dwight Howard rebuilding effort, they have two major assets on their side: high-value Draft picks and the ability to spend. That's the conclusion that ESPN's expert panel reached in the latest edition of the Future Power Rankings.
The Magic finished 20th in the new installment, released Monday and available to ESPN Insider subscribers. That's a two-spot bump from the May edition. Kevin Pelton praises the Magic's young frontcourt and the addition of rookie guard Victor Oladipo, but says there's another need for Orlando to address.
"Point guard is the one spot the Magic are lacking young talent," Pelton writes, "though help might be on the way in the 2014 draft in the form of Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart or Kentucky's Andrew Harrison."
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Pelton estimates that Orlando "should have $15 million to spend" in either of the next two free-agent periods, allowing Rob Hennigan to add a top-dollar veteran to his young core.
For the Future Power Rankings, an ESPN panel graded every team based on the strength of its current roster, team management, financial assets, market size, and Draft considerations. The current roster accounts for half of the grade, a factor which hurts the talent-deficient Magic; in this instance, only seven teams finished with a worse players grade than Orlando.
Overall, Orlando rated ninth among Eastern Conference teams.