It’s time to watch the Orlando Magic make a potential franchise-altering decision.
Years of rebuilding, and weeks of post-lottery speculation, have led to this moment, with the Magic finally having their choice of any player in the draft. The decision, however, won’t be an easy one without a consensus top pick.
There are three primary candidates to be selected, each bringing a mix of tantalizing potential and some areas of concern whether it be an inability to create off the dribble, or a lanky frame, or liabilities on the defensive end.
Potential No. 1 Picks:
- Jabari Smith Jr. (Auburn)
- Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga)
- Paolo Banchero (Duke)
DraftKings had Smith as the favorite to be drafted by the Magic with the No. 1 pick at -380 odds as of Wednesday morning.
Smith has been a near consensus pick for the Magic in recent mock drafts. Others say the Magic would be crazy to pass on Holmgren. Some say Banchero has the most star potential in the draft.
Here’s a snippet of what our Aaron Goldstone had to say about each of those three players in his very thorough NBA Draft Scouting Reports, which you should click on and read in full ahead of the draft.
In Smith Jr., you have size, projectability, and plus-shooting. A prospect who will stretch defenses and create spacing on offense, while also playing with an abundant amount of hustle, athleticism, and intelligence on the defensive end of the floor. Some question whether the 6-10 forward will ever grow into something more than just an elite role-player, namely due to the fact that creating for himself and finishing in the painted area weren’t exactly strengths in his game this past season at Auburn.
Of the three presumed top-tier prospects in this class, Holmgren probably best profiles as the type of player that Orlando’s management group has salivated over in the past. The Gonzaga product boasts a 7-6 (+6) wingspan to go along with his wiry frame. Holmgren could theoretically offer the Magic significant positional-size on the perimeter, considering he will likely play a big forward position for the initial part of his career (until he possibly adds more bulk to his lower half). Magic executives are drawn to versatile prospects, and of the players who are likely to hear their names called early in this draft, none may be more versatile than Holmgren (perimeter skills, shooting acumen, pick-and-roll threat, switchable defender, rim protection, basketball instincts).
There does seem to be room for Banchero in both Orlando’s immediate as well as their long-term plans. And who knows, maybe the forward from the Pacific Northwest is exactly who the Magic need to help solve some of the offensive woes that have been plaguing the roster of late. His scoring ability would absolutely serve as a jolt to Orlando’s offensive attack, and his plus-vision would assuredly create opportunities for others on the roster to get better/easier offensive looks. But his tendency to fall asleep or seem disinterested at times on the defensive end of the floor is something that doesn’t seem to fit the identity of what Coach Jamahl Mosley and his staff are trying to develop.
Again, not an easy decision to make. Here’s how to watch what will be an important night for the Orlando Magic:
How to Watch the 2022 NBA Draft
When: June 23, 2022, 8:00 pm ET
Where: The Barclays Center - Brooklyn, New York
Watch: ESPN, ABC
1. Orlando Magic
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
3. Houston Rockets
4. Sacramento Kings
5. Detroit Pistons
6. Indiana Pacers
7. Portland Trail Blazers
8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Los Angeles Lakers)
9. San Antonio Spurs
10. Washington Wizards
11. New York Knicks
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Los Angeles Clippers)
13. Charlotte Hornets
14. Cleveland Cavaliers
15. Charlotte Hornets (from New Orleans)
16. Atlanta Hawks
17. Houston Rockets (from Brooklyn)
18. Chicago Bulls
19. Minnesota Timberwolves
20. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto)
21. Denver Nuggets
22. Memphis Grizzlies (from Utah)
23. Philadelphia 76ers
24. Milwaukee Bucks
25. San Antonio Spurs (from Boston)
26. Houston Rockets (from Dallas)
27. Miami Heat
28. Golden State Warriors
29. Memphis Grizzlies
30. Denver Nuggets (from Oklahoma City)