Recently, we announced plans to launch a new feature here at Orlando Pinstriped Post: a Mailbag that Evan and I will use to answer any and all Orlando Magic questions on a semi-regular basis. You can submit your questions to OPPMailbag@gmail.com.
Evan launched the first edition last Friday, discussing Tobias Harris, Eric Bledsoe and poker. So without further adieu, let's get to your questions.
Do you think there's any interest from the Magic in acquiring the Mavs #13 pick? If we did hypothetically acquire the #13 pick (without forfeiting the #2 pick), who do you think we'd try and get? A PG most likely, right? A lot of Magic fans (myself included) really like Dennis Schroeder.
Orlando should be interested in any chance to attain assets. The Magic are in an interesting situation with the capability to use the Dwight Howard TPE in fielding a trade with a team looking to shed contracts. The Dallas Mavericks are looking to add Howard and Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul to their roster and would need to shed money in order to be ability to do that. The irony in the Magic helping a team land D12 is a little too much to handle but if the situation arises and Orlando can snag the No. 13 pick while taking on an expiring contract, then it's probably worth it. I don't really want to get into trade details because those can be nasty, miserable things that will put you (and me) to sleep. But let's say a trade goes through and the Magic are on the clock at No. 13, who do they take a look at?
Dennis Schroeder - point guard - Germany
The 6-foot-2 point guard is one of the most enigmatic prospects in the class. His draft stock really spiked with an impressive performance in the Nike Hoop Summit. Some mock drafts projected him as a lottery pick and apparently he received confirmation from a team that he's a sure-fire first rounder. But his stock has since declined after a series of disappointing workouts. According to reports, he struggled against physical defense. One NBA scout said he looked "frustrated."
It looks like at this point, he's fallen off behind Larkin on most big boards. ESPN's Chad Ford wrote on June 18 that he may be available as far back as No. 21 when the Utah Jazz make their second selection. But he's still an interesting option for the Magic, especially if the Eric Bledsoe deal falls through.
Shane Larkin - point guard - University of Miami
Larkin will most likely be available at No. 13 and he would probably become a Magic fan favorite immediately. The former Hurricane played high-school basketball at Dr. Phillips in Orlando before playing his college ball in Miami. Larkin is a speedy guard who can shoot from deep and run a pick-and-roll. Most mock drafts have him either going to the Jazz at No. 14 or the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 15 so it's reasonable to accept that he should be available were the Magic on deck at the No. 13 pick.
I have my reservations with Larkin as a prospect. I fear that he will struggle to score at the rim in the NBA. Nate Robinson is a better athlete and he has a longer wingspan, even though Larkin is three inches taller. I like Larkin and rooted for him this year (I really liked that Miami team) but I do have my doubts about his upside in the NBA. If he proves me wrong, then that's awesome and all the congratulations to him.
I do think he's probably the most comfortable in this draft class at running a pick-and-roll. That was basically Miami's entire offense. They spread the floor with shooting and pick-and-rolled teams to death. Larkin should be able to come in and comfortably run an offense immediately.
If we pull off the Bledsoe trade and get the #13 pick, who are we looking at in that situation?
I'm not sure if drafting Bledsoe would have any impact on who the Magic would pick should they, hypothetically, receive the No. 13 pick in another trade. The Magic were the worst team in the NBA last year and aren't in any type of position to be picky with positions. In my opinion, selecting the best player available at every pick should be top priority. I've said it before and I'll say it again: having too much talent is a wonderful thing. And with Hennigan's crafty work as a deal maker, the Magic are in good hands with deciphering which players stay in Orlando for the long-term and who will be traded.
However, this hypothetical situation is asking a lot. If Orlando pulls off a trade for Eric Bledsoe, retains the No. 2 pick AND receives the No. 13 pick in a different trade with Dallas, then I'll be shocked. Bledsoe coming to Orlando doesn't neccessarily make him the point guard of the future. But the Magic would be able to take a cheap look at him before he hits restricted free agency and will be able to make that decision of whether he is the future or not. Along with Schroeder and Larkin, there's a slew of big men prospects that could be available at No. 13: Gorgui Dieng, Steven Adams, Kelly Olynyk, Mason Plumlee and Rudy Gobert.
Of those, Dieng, Plumlee and Olynyk are the best players right now. It's no coincidence that they are the three oldest of those five big men. But as far as "upside" goes, Adams and Gobert are the more interesting prospects. I have my doubts that Orlando is the best spot for Adams to develop as a professional, but his combination of size and athleticism make him intriguing and he would probably hold value as a trade chip immediately. Gobert has a standing reach of nine-foot-seven (not a typo) and could develop into a game-changer on the defensive end.
I'm curious who your personal favorite player is in the draft this year. This isn't considering who you think will have the best NBA career or who you think is the best fit with a team. I just want to know who you are rooting for the most. Like you're thinking, "I really like the cut of that guy's gib and I hope his game translates to the NBA."
This is easy for me: CJ McCollum. There's a few reasons for this.
1. He single-handedly knocked out Duke in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, which represents all that is good in the world.
2. He has a degree in journalism. As a guy pursuing the same degree, this connects me to McCollum on another level. Anyone crazy enough to get a degree in journalism while newspapers around the country continue to plummet is my kind of guy and a guy I can definitely root for.
3. He seems to know basketball and think about basketball in a way that's different than his peers. As "basketball writing" and understanding the game of basketball has developed over the past few years (through outlets like MySynergySports), there seems to be an appreciation for smart basketball. Teams are beginning to look at things more analytically and it seems like McCollum is doing that while playing the game, which is a cool thing to see.
4. He's from a mid-major. It's easy to root for mid-majors during the NCAA Tournament and it's easy to root for those players in the NBA. I loved watching Damian Lillard transition from Weber State to the NBA. I'm going to enjoy watching McCollum do the same. NOTE: I'm not comparing the two or holding McCollum to the level of play that Lillard achieved. I'm just appreciating their routes to the NBA.
5. McCollum talked to me on Twitter. I'm a nerd and still get giddy when players reply to me. So interacting with him gave me more incentive to root for him. He's a good follow, too, so you should follow him at @CJMcCollum.
In your opinion, does [Maurice] Harkless have a future in the NBA and if so, the magic. What player and/or style do you feel like he will most resemble.
Here's a list of 1st rounders in this draft class that Harkless is younger than: Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, Alex Len, Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, CJ McCollum, Anthony Bennett, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Cody Zeller, Kelly Olynyk, Michael Carter-Williams, Mason Plumlee, Shabazz Muhammad, Shane Larkin, Reggie Bullock, Tim Hardaway Jr., Gorgui Dieng, Rudy Gobert, Jamaal Franklin and Allen Crabbe.
Harkless may never be a superstar but he has the potential to be an All-Star and All-Defense NBA player. As far as player comps go, I think he's a little like Andre Iguodala. Iguodala is a much better playmaker for his teammates, though, and can handle the ball better. A raw Rudy Gay with better shot selection is another comparison that comes to mind. I don't think anyone on Orlando's roster is untouchable, but it'd be easier to part with Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic than it would be with Harkless at this point. My favorite thing about Harkless: 79.97 percent of his shots come from either the corner-3 or less than 8 feet away from the basket, per NBA.com. He doesn't force stupid shots and, as the season went on, he looked great in picking his spots to be aggressive to score.
These next two seasons will go along way in picturing Harkless' career arc but he did enough in his first season to be Orlando's best young asset moving forward. He needs to work on things: his jumper still isn't league-average and he gets to the free throw line at an alarmingly low rate (2.3 per 36 minutes). But he did enough in his rookie campaign to suggest that he could, one day, become the third option on a solid NBA team.
(continued) What about [Doron] Lamb?
You're not going to find a bigger Doron Lamb fan than me. As a Kentucky Wildcat guy, nothing pleased me more than having Lamb thrown in the J.J. Redick/Harris trade, if for nothing else, so that I could at least watch his professional career a lot closer.
He's an excellent shooter but he doesn't really shoot enough 3-pointers. The guy shot 49 and 47 percent from range at UK respectively in his two seasons, but averaged only 2.5 attempts per 36 minutes, according to basketball-reference. One could speculate that the distance on NBA 3-pointers might hinder his shooting ability, as he tends to shoot a little flat, but his 47 percent clip with the Magic would suggest otherwise.
He's got a nice mid-range game and has an array of weird flip shots and floaters he showcased at Kentucky that I didn't see a lot of in his first season in the NBA. I'd like to see him become more of a threat to score because I think he has the talent to do it. A lot of people wondered if he could become a point guard but I don't see that happening. He can handle the ball enough to get into scoring position but he isn't going to run an offense. I think his career with the Magic (and the NBA) is dependent on his ability to provide scoring off the bench.
Thanks for reading and thanks for submitting your questions. We've gotten a lot over the past week or so and will try to get to all of those that we can. In the meantime, keep e-mailing those questions to OPPMailbag@gmail.com