The Orlando Magic have had players like Shaquille O'Neal and Tracy McGrady and Dwight Howard, who all were in the argument for first overall pick in fantasy basketball drafts.
Those days are long gone. In fact, the Magic are one of only six teams in the league who do not have a player being selected on average within the first five rounds of ESPN fantasy basketball leagues, according to ESPN's Average Draft Position. Joining them are the:
Brooklyn Nets – D’Angelo Russell, 52.0 ADP
Chicago Bulls -- Zach LaVine (coming off a torn ACL), 95.1 ADP
Dallas Mavericks -- Harrison Barnes, 64.2 ADP
Detroit Pistons -- Andre Drummond, 52.9 ADP
Sacramento Kings: George Hill, 87.2 ADP
But even NBA teams that aren’t expected to do too well in the standings usually possess some valuable commodities in fantasy basketball. So let’s take a look at where the core of the Magic is being drafted in ESPN leagues this season based on their ADP, which is perhaps the most telling measurement of a player's fantasy value (ADP and owned percentage as of Monday night).
Elfrid Payton (54.7 ADP, owned in 98.1 percent of leagues)
Fantasy owners have spoken and, in their eyes, the player on the Magic roster with the most value is Elfrid Payton. No big surprise given his ability to fill the stat sheet with his triple-double potential and contribute in a variety of categories. The downside, of course, is his free-throw shooting percentage and the lack of three-pointers he provides from a position that is traditionally one of a fantasy team’s main source of treys.
Nikola Vucevic (58.1 ADP, owned in 98.3 percent of leagues)
Vucevic’s value increased last season when Serge Ibaka was traded midseason, alleviating the frontcourt logjam. If your league rewards double-doubles as mine does, Vooch should be drafted a little earlier than the 58th pick. Should Vucevic continue to hoist more threes (as expected), and start making them with any consistency (not expected), that will add another dimension to his fantasy repertoire.
Evan Fournier (81.9 ADP, owned in 95.8 percent of leagues)
When it comes to bad teams in fantasy basketball, the old adage goes, “Well someone is going to have to score for them!” Many fantasy owners expect that responsibility again to fall mostly on Fournier, who led the team in points per game (17.2) and field goal attempts per game (13.7).
Aaron Gordon (85.3 ADP, owned in 85.3 percent of leagues)
Fantasy owners don’t seem to be buying into the notion that Gordon could be poised for a breakout season. Owners that are scooping him up in the ninth round could be getting a bargain given the fact that 1) Gordon is no longer playing out of position at small forward; 2) the Magic’s pace and space this season should benefit an uber-athletic talent like Gordon; 3) by creating mismatches against opposing power forwards and being surrounded by better shooters, Gordon should have more room to operate; 4) Gordon’s shot selection, and by association, his shooting percentage should improve…we hope. (Easy on those threes this year, AG! Though he did connect on four of nine attempts from downtown in the preseason); and 5) Gordon will be playing under those two magic words that fantasy owners love to hear so much: “Contract season.” After failing to reach an early extension with the Magic, Gordon is set to reach the end of his rookie contract and become a restricted free agent next summer. He’s gambling on himself and has plenty to prove. That could bode well for fantasy owners. Same goes for Payton. (File this under “Nobody cares about your fantasy team!” but I drafted Gordon in the seventh round with expectations of 20 points a game from him this season).
Jonathan Isaac (Owned in 9.8 percent of leagues)
Rookies are not usually a hot commodity in fantasy basketball, especially projects like Isaac. For keeper or dynasty leagues, Isaac has some added value. And since I knew you were going to ask, Dennis Smith Jr. has an ADP of 80.9 and is owned in 21.1 percent of leagues.
Terrence Ross (Owned in 3.9 percent of leagues)
Ross was owned in about 20 percent of leagues until the news of his hamstring injury landed him back in the fantasy free agent pool. A 3-and-D specialist, Ross is a decent source of threes and steals, but little else for fantasy purposes.
Bismack Biyombo, (Owned in 1.4 percent of leagues)
Pretty disappointing that the ink on Biyombo’s four-year, $72 million contract is barely dry and yet he can’t even crack the two-percent owned mark in fantasy. Block-hungry teams will pick him up at points throughout the season.
Jonathon Simmons (Owned in 1.3 percent of league)
Available in nearly all leagues, Simmons could be worth a speculative add. It’s hard to gauge what a player is capable of once he has transitions from being a role player on a successful team with established players like San Antonio. We’re in no way saying that this is the second-coming of Tracy McGrady going from the Raptors to the Magic. But with more opportunity comes more fantasy value. Expect Simmons to be owned in more than 1.3 percent of leagues by season’s end.
Mario Hezonja, (Owned in 0.7 percent of leagues)
And lastly, here’s a look at where some notable Magic alumni are being drafted this season:
Victor Oladipo, Indiana (64.7 ADP, 98.1% owned)
Tobias Harris, Detroit (73.6 ADP, 98.1% owned)
Dwight Howard, Charlotte (67.8 ADP, 98.7% owned)
Ryan Anderson, Houston (113.3 ADP, 16.3% owned)
JJ Redick, Philadelphia (109.4 ADP, 25.5% percent)
Serge Ibaka, Toronto (57.7 ADP, 99.1% owned)
Marcin Gortat, Washington (90.8 ADP, 97.8% owned)
Vince Carter, Sacramento (1.9% owned)