Three teams shared the best odds to land the top overall pick in the 2021 draft. Two of them got the first and second pick, repectively. The other dropped to fifth.
That, of course, being the Orlando Magic.
Even with the No. 5 pick and the No. 8 pick, acquired from the Chicago Bulls, it was a dissapointing result for a Magic team that did about all it could to pin their hopes on the lucky bounce of a ping pong ball. But, the ball took a bad bounce, as has been the case over the last decade.
With the Magic now all but certain to miss out on Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs, it was a near consensus in post-lottery mock drafts around the web that Orlando’s No. 5 pick will be used on G League forward Jonathan Kuminga.
Predictions for the No. 8 pick vary.
Here is a round-up of Orlando Magic mock drafts (click on each publication for the full draft)...
5. Jonathan Kuminga
In what’s considered by many to be a five-player draft, the Magic will surely be happy to add Kuminga, a big wing who can defend multiple positions and offer explosive ability and shot creation from the forward positions. Kuminga has one of the highest upsides of any prospect in the draft and is a strong positional fit here playing alongside Jonathan Isaac and Chuma Okeke.
8. Keon Johnson
The Magic struggled with wing depth all season and can afford to take a home run swing on a high-upside prospect like Johnson, who brings the type of playmaking and two-way versatility that is very hard to find. Johnson is a tenacious defender who showed enough promising glimpses of passing and shot-making to suggest outstanding things to come for a team that is willing to be patient with his development. — Jonathan Givony
5. Scottie Barnes
Barnes was considered a five-star prospect throughout his high school career who helped bring three gold medals to USA Basketball’s junior teams before arriving at Florida State. Barnes came off the bench for the Seminoles just like last year’s No. 4 overall pick Patrick Williams, but he remains one of the most intriguing prospects in the class after the top-four. Barnes is a huge forward at 6’9, nearly 230 pounds, and with a 7’2 wingspan, who combines an elite defensive motor with shockingly good playmaking for someone his size.
Barnes feels like a safe bet to be a very good NBA defender with terrific length, an impressive 3.4 percent steal rate, and the versatility to guard up to four positions. While Barnes doesn’t protect the rim defensively and has little vertical pop as a leaper, he does have all the makings of a change-of-pace small ball five who can play high against the pick-and-roll and switch most screens. Offensively, he finished with a 31.7 percent assist rate this season that led the ACC. Barnes always seems to know where his teammates are on the floor, and he finds a way to get them the ball. The question is how much of a benefit will his passing be if opposing NBA teams don’t respect his scoring ability. Barnes is a rough shooter — 27.5 percent from three on 40 attempts, 62.1 percent from the foul line on 66 attempts — and doesn’t yet have a ton of tricks around the rim to get a bucket in a pinch. While the scoring concerns are real, Barnes’ effort level, defense, and passing makes him the type of player you want on your side in a big game.
8. Keon Johnson
Along with Jalen Green, Tennessee freshman Keon Johnson has a case as the most explosive natural athlete in this draft class. The skinny 6’5 guard has been on a blistering developmental path since giving up baseball for basketball at the start of high school, blossoming into a no-brainer lottery pick whose ultimate outcome will likely be determined by how his dribble-pass-shoot skill set develops.
There were encouraging signs for the Vols this season, like mesmerizing defensive flashes (2.5 percent steal rate, two percent block rate) that contributed to a top-five defense in the country. Johnson also seemed to get more comfortable in his own scoring ability as the season went along, scoring 13 points or more in each of his last five games. Johnson needs to refine his three-point shot (27 percent on 48 attempts) and tighten his handle, but his ultra-quick first step and outstanding bounce around the rim can’t be taught. It would be nice if Johnson had a couple extra inches of height, or if he proved he could already thrive in transition instead of badly struggling (17 percentile, per Synergy Sports) in that area. He’ll need some time and training to develop, but Johnson’s rare gifts are worth taking a shot on for the Magic. — Ricky O’Donnell
5. Jonathan Kuminga
Once Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green and Jalen Suggs are off the board, the Orlando Magic will presumably looking at Jonathan Kuminga, Scottie Barnes, Jalen Johnson, Keon Johnson, Davion Mitchell, Franz Wagner. A perceived gap between No. 4 and No. 5 could also lead team Orlando to explore trade possibilities.
But sticking at No. 5 will most likely lead the Magic to Kuminga, whose mix of power, speed and perimeter skill at 6’8” creates mismatch scoring potential.
He’ll require some patience with his shooting development and decision-making, but he’s still loaded with shot-making ability, and he figures to receive enough early reps from age 19 to strengthen his feel for the game and shot selection. Orlando could see a force in peak Kuminga with his physicality, athleticism, face-up package and post game.
8. Davion Mitchell
After taking frontcourt scorer Jonathan Kuminga, the Orlando Magic can use the Chicago Bulls’ pick to strengthen their backcourt with Davion Mitchell.
Fear over his age (22) should start to fade later in the lottery. His blow-by explosiveness, defensive quickness and intensity, and improved shot-making have become too convincing.
He made significant progress this season as a self-creator, playmaker and shooter off the dribble and catch. Having seen his comfort level sharing the ball at Baylor with Jared Butler, Orlando should see an easy fit, whether it’s at point guard or in a combo role. — Jonathan Wasserman
5. Jonathan Kuminga
The player: Kuminga had an up-and-down experience with the G League Ignite this year. He’s an athletic wing with real shot-creation potential due to his body control and power. He’s a terrific driver who gets into the paint, and he plays really hard. He cuts well, and while he didn’t shoot it well this past season, I don’t think his shot off the catch is broken by any stretch. Still, he shot 25 percent from 3 this year. He also struggled a bit on defense within the construct of what the Ignite wanted to do as a team, but he has all of the tools you look for with a 7-foot-plus wingspan and real athleticism and strength. He averaged 16 points and seven rebounds in his first professional experience and profiles well as a starting wing with real All-Star upside if the shot comes around.
The fit: The Magic have an interesting backcourt combination with Cole Anthony, R.J. Hampton and Markelle Fultz returning from injury. They also have a fun frontcourt pairing long term with Jonathan Isaac and Wendell Carter. What’s missing is a scoring wing. Kuminga fits that bill. He also fits a lot of what the Magic has looked for under this front office: a long, athletic wing that plays aggressively. He, Isaac and Chuma Okeke would be fun, complementary frontcourt pieces.
8. Josh Giddey
The player: Giddey had a terrific season in Australia, averaging 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. leading the league in helpers and finishing sixth in rebounding as an 18-year-old. He needs to tighten up his handle a bit and keep improving as a shooter, but the skillset here is perfect for that of a secondary playmaker at the next level due to how quickly he processes the game. Giddey should be a very high-level role player who starts, with some upside for more if the jumper gets figured out.
The fit: Giddey would give the Magic a bit more size and unselfishness in the backcourt. Anthony, Kuminga (the pick above) and Hampton are more scoring guards. Giddey’s a terrific rebounder who gets out on the break and makes high-level passing reads. He has a case as the most creative passer and playmaker in the draft. A perimeter player group of Fultz, Anthony, Hampton, Giddey, Kuminga and Okeke would be a really fun core to build around moving forward with a lot of skills that work well in conjunction with one another. — Sam Vecenie
5. Jonathan Kuminga
Orlando will draft fifth and eighth, receiving Chicago’s pick at No. 8, which isn’t a bad outcome for the Magic, all things considered. Kuminga looks like a strong match on the board here, with some of the best physical tools in the draft and all the ability to be a starting-caliber forward in time. The Magic are rebuilding and can give him some freedom to make mistakes and expand his game. Kuminga’s combination of improving skills and athletic gifts still set him apart from the vast majority of his peers, and if he shoots it better and becomes a more disciplined defender, there’s real ceiling. That said, he remains somewhat wild and unpolished as a decision-maker and it may be an uphill climb toward optimal efficiency as a scorer. Still, this is the type of chance the Magic ought to take, and Kuminga should be available to them here.
8. James Bouknight
With two top 10 picks, the Magic should be in position to take big swings, and Bouknight has as much long-term potential as anyone on the board at this stage. Arguably the draft’s most creative scorer, Bouknight brings an advanced set of skills off the dribble and a knack for getting into the paint and finishing. He’s a good bet to land somewhere in the lottery, given how few players in the draft can match his ability to create for himself. He’ll need to expand his game as a playmaker to maximize his value in a high-usage role, but he’s a pretty intriguing upside bet in an offensive-minded league largely driven by perimeter creators. — Jeremy Woo
5. Jonathan Kuminga
Most believe there’s a clear top-five in this draft with Jonathan Kuminga being the fifth-best of those five prospects. So assuming he’s available here, the Magic would be wise to select him and add an offensively gifted athletic wing to a young core of R.J. Hampton and Cole Anthony.
8. Moses Moody
Moses Moody was the leading scorer and second-leading rebounder for Arkansas — and one of the biggest reasons the Razorbacks made the Elite Eight for the first time since 1995. — Gary Parrish