At 22-50, the Orlando Magic currently have the fifth-worst record in the NBA, meaning the team is headed for the NBA lottery yet again. Despite the team's poor record, the Magic have some quality young players in Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton, and Nikola Vucevic, and another top-5 pick may give the team the infusion of talent needed to break out of the NBA cellar next season.
The team will surely be watching the remainder of the NCAA tournament closely, as the Sweet 16 showcases some of the Draft's top prospects in some marquee games. Here are a few of the names to keep an eye on for the remainder of the tournament.
Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke
Okafor is solidifying himself as the crown jewel of this year's Draft class. The freshman center has been sensational in his two tournament games so far, going 21-27 from the field and showcasing some new wrinkles to his already impressive offensive repertoire. At 6-foot-11, 270, Okafor has elite size and he knows how to use his body to establish strong post position. He has quick feet, excellent touch and can finish with a variety of post moves.
If Okafor can keep beating defenders off the dribble like he did against San Diego State, he could become virtually unstoppable. He's a very polished offensive player for his age, and he's starting to make some strides on the defensive end as well. The Magic would likely have to land the number-one pick to have a chance at Okafor, but stranger things have happened. He may not be a perfect fit next to Vucevic, but if they could make it work, the duo could grow into a devastating one-two punch in the post.
Karl-Anthony Towns, F, Kentucky
Towns won't blow you away with his stats, and Kentucky is so deep that he won't play a ton of minutes, but he's shown flashes of brilliance this season. He's a strong defender and rim protector with great size, length, and athleticism, and he's an improving jump shooter with nice range and a handful of effective post moves, especially his hook shot.
Towns may be the best fit of any prospect for the Magic. He's a defensive menace, and if his offensive game continues to improve, he can become a two-way force. He'd work well next to Vucevic; he can space the floor a bit, he doesn't have to sit in the post on offense, and he'll have the ability to guard athletic fours and fives that Vucevic may struggle to defend. Towns isn't a finished product, but he may have the most upside of any draft prospect.
Stanley Johnson, F, Arizona
If the Magic end up picking fifth overall, which they would if the Draft order matches the standings, Johnson is the player many mock drafts have the Magic selecting. At 6-foot-8, 245, Johnson is a physical specimen who has drawn comparisons to Ron Artest, and he may develop into a lockdown perimeter defender.
He has an incomplete offensive game and his jumper needs a bit of work, but he did lead Arizona in scoring with 14 points per game on 37 percent three-point shooting. He projects as a physical, athletic 3-and-D guy, and he could potentially form one-third of a three-headed monster on defense with Payton and Oladipo.
Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
Cauley-Stein, Towns' Kentucky teammate, is proof that returning to school can help your Draft status. Cauley-Stein has cemented himself as a lottery pick this season, and he may have more defensive potential than anyone in the draft. A seven-footer blessed with a guard's athleticism and instincts, Cauley-Stein can rebound, block shots, protect the rim, and even defend wings on the perimeter if needed. His offensive game is a bit limited, but he could develop into a Tyson Chandler type if everything breaks right. He probably can't play alongside Vucevic, but nevertheless he'd be a nice defensive piece to add to the Magic's collection of young talent.
Justise Winslow, F, Duke
Like Johnson, Winslow is a strong, athletic defender. His offensive game could use some polish, but he's been very productive in the tournament so far, averaging 9.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks in two games. He's a jack-of-all-trades type who can defend and shoot the three, and while he may not be a superstar, he's a very good complementary player who can help a team in a lot of ways.
Kevon Looney, F, UCLA
Looney may not be the biggest name on the board, but he's a great rebounder and he plays with a lot of effort on defense. He's a bit of a tweener who floats between the three and the four, and he doesn't offer much on defense, but he's versatile and he can make a difference on the other end of the court. At worst he should be a decent rotation guy with some upside; the Magic could do a lot worse if the lottery doesn't break their way and they fall down the draft order.