Trae Young or Collin Sexton?
The Orlando Magic head into the offseason with several key decisions that will dictate the fate of a franchise that hasn’t seen the postseason in six years.
The Magic fell again in the draft for the fourth time in six years, and yet they find themselves in a pretty good spot heading into the NBA Draft on Thursday, June 21st.
As projections go, the first five selections are set to go big with some form of Mo Bamba, Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, and Jarren Jackson Jr., following the predictive selection of Luka Doncic.
This bodes well for a Magic squad who find themselves desperate for a floor general. The Elfrid Payton experiment didn’t go quite as planned in his stint at primary ball handler, and while D.J. Augustin makes for a solid stop gap solution, the Magic will ultimately need more from its initiator to continue the development of Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac. Make no mistake, the Magic will still consider the best talent available, and should a team in the top five selections upset the apple cart, the Magic may have an interesting dilemma at the sixth overall selection.
However, as it stands now, most fingers point to Trae Young, the freshmen from Oklahoma. His scoring and passing ability mirror those of young Steph Curry, though he prefers the Steve Nash comparison. At 27 points and eight assists per game, Young produces the eye-popping numbers sure to seduce members of the Magic front office.
His lack of size and defensive prowess make for a debate in an age where superstars like Damian Lilliard and Kemba Walker have been nullified in postseason time, but if he can grow his game on both ends of the court, he promises to be one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft.
Collin Sexton provides tenacity where he lacks in numbers. Dubbed “Little Bull,” Sexton plays downhill at a Westbrook type level. The infamous “3 on 5” performance against Minnesota coupled with his promising tournament play reveals a competitiveness that could see Sexton as the next Donovan Mitchell.
Michael Porter Jr. remains a sleeper candidate as well, after joining Alonzo Mourning, Chris Webber, Lebron James and Dwight Howard as the only player in history to win the Naismith, Gatorade Boys National Player of the Year Awards as well as the MVP to the McDonald’s All American Game. A back injury robbed him of his freshmen season as Missouri, but he still believes himself to be the best player of this draft.
While Magic fans mull over their favorite selection, President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman and General Manager John Hammond continue the coaching search.
Marc Stein of The New York Times pointed to Kelvin Sampson, Head Coach of the University of Houston as a potential target.
Sampson, 62, worked with the two in his time in Milwaukee, and also enjoyed stints as an assistant with the Houston Rocks, and consultant with the San Antonio Spurs, to go along with his checkered history in Indiana and Oklahoma.
Sampson was cited with several violations, but it never seemed to keep teams from contacting him. He is clearly well respected in coaching circles and could be an intriguing candidate.
The Magic have kept quiet on there conversations, but other candidates are said to be Dwayne Casey, Jerry Stackhouse, and Nick Nurse.
Finally, the Magic face possibly their most offseason decision of all in the form of Aaron Gordon. Gordon finished his most successful season to date with stat lines of 18 and 8, to go along with 40 point performances and at times suffocating defense.
Gordon’s potential is undeniable. He possesses the length and athleticism reserved for the elite, and his shot (33%) continues to improve. Gordon is set to make a ransom this summer, but just what will he get, and which team will be the one to pull the trigger?
Join Aaron Goldstone and Will Ogburn as we answer these questions and more!
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