Tag Archives: NBA Draft

The Worse Draft Picks & Draft Night Moves In Magic History

The NBA Draft is a time of hope for struggling franchises and their fans bases.

The hope is that with one pick, or many, fortunes will change and fans can expect their team to be one of the sixteen competing for the Larry O’Brien Trophy next spring.

The Orlando Magic has had impressive luck in the lottery in terms of getting the top pick (1992, 1993, 2004). Those picks allowed them to draft Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber and flip him for Penny Hardaway as well as three first round picks, and Dwight Howard.

Those players have defined the Magic franchise in their 28-year history. But outside of those three, they haven’t been nearly as magical with their other picks.

With the draft finally here, I looked back at the worse picks and draft night moves in franchise history …


You can’t call Hezonja a bust, yet. So I’m not saying he’s a bad pick like the others on this list. Orlando drafted him because they believe he can be a knock down shooter with the versatility to play three positions. Draft experts said he’s the one guy in the class that could win a dunk contest and the 3-point shootout. In his two-year career he’s only averaging 16.5 minutes player per game. As far as his shooting, he was eleventh on the team in 3-point percentage (.29%) in 2016-2017.

Hezonja hasn’t lived up to being a top 6 overall draft pick. Photo Credit: ESPN.com

What hurts Hezonja is he went one pick after Kristaps Porzingis. Boy, if only the New York Knicks and Phil Jackson would’ve made skipping him one of their many mistakes. But, what also hurts the Magic is Devin Booker went 13th to the Phoenix Suns after he openly campaigned to be selected by the Magic. Booker looks primed to be an All-Star after ascending to be the Suns best player in only his second season.

I get that the Magic already had Victor Oladipo at shooting-guard, but considering the ill-advised move to trade him to the Oklahoma City Thunder, it would’ve lessened the blow if Booker was on the roster. Orlando SORELY needs Booker’s shooting ability.


Double-0 AG has shown flashes in his time in central Florida. He’s also a fan favorite for his dunking exploits. The upcoming 2017-18 season is going to be a make or break for him. I think it’s a bad pick because who was selected after him. Zach Levine went number 13 to the Minnesota T-Wolves. Dario Saric, who Orlando selected with their second pick (14th overall) before trading him to Philadelphia for Elfrid Payton, is a combo SF/PF and a better shooter than Gordon. He is also more athletic than some “experts” thought entering the draft process. Saric is a key cog in the 76ers “process” and likely could be the 2016-2017 NBA Rookie of the Year.


Orton, a 6’10” center out of Kentucky, played in sixteen games in his one season with the Magic. He only lasted three seasons in the Association. Much like Gordon, the selection of Orton is a bad move because who Orlando could have selected.

Hassan Whiteside went four picks later (33rd overall) to the Sacramento Kings. Coming into the draft, Whiteside was said to be immature, which led to him being bounced around and out of the league before catching on with the Miami Heat. Of course Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat were still on the roster, but Whiteside would’ve benefit from playing for Stan Van Gundy and a team fresh off of back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances and an NBA Final.

Clearly depth at that position was a focus, this would’ve solidified that need, especially when you look at how they moved Gortat later that year.

On the other hand they could have selected a playmaking wing. Lance Stephenson should have been considered, especially with the loss of Hedu Turkoglu to free agency the previous summer. The Indiana Pacers drafted Stephenson with the fortieth pick.


This may be the worse overall pick in team history. There’s not much to say about him since he never played an NBA game. The power forward/center combo choose the Spanish league over playing in the Association.

Danny Granger went six picks later to the Indiana Pacers. He became an All-Star.  If you wanted a post player, you could have chosen David Lee, out of the University of Florida. Lee went thirtieth to the New York. He also became an All-Star and NBA Champion.


Sasser, a 6’6″ shooting-guard from SMU, played eighty-two games in his two-year NBA career. Orlando desperately needed backcourt help at both positions. Darrell Armstrong, Dee Brown and Jaren Jackson, in their seventh and eleventh seasons respectively, were their key rotational players. Six picks after the Magic selected Sasser, the San Antonio Spurs drafted Tony Parker, three picks after that, the Golden State Warriors picked Gilbert Arenas.


Who? Exactly!

The seven-foot center was traded to the Utah Jazz for power forward Ryan Humphrey out of Notre Dame. Humphrey played thirty-five games for Orlando before he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies along with Mike Miller. He was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies along with Mike Miller after only playing thirty-five games. Giving up Miller was a terrible move by itself, especially since he just won Rookie of the Year in 2001. In return the Magic received Drew Gooden and Gordon Giricek. Orlando also gave Memphis a 2003 first round pick, and a second round rick in 2004.

As with most of these draft mistakes, it’s amplified by whom they could have drafted. Tayshaun Prince went twenty-third to the Detroit Pistons. Carlos Boozer went in the second round with the thirty-fifth pick. Both became All-Stars, either of those would have improved the Magic drastically.

KEON CLARK (C), 13th PICK IN 1998

The Magic won’t get killed for this pick because the LA Clippers selected Michael Olawakandi first overall. Many call him the biggest number one overall bust in league history.

Nevertheless, Orlando still blew this pick. Nazr Mohammed would have been a better choice. He went 29th overall to the Utah Jazz.

Orlando should’ve selected two power forwards who eventually spent significant time in a Magic uniform in Pat Garrity (19th overall) and Rashard Lewis (32nd overall). Al Harrington, the prep star out of St. Patrick’s high school in New Jersey, was also available. Harrington went twenty-fifth to the Indiana Pacers and played in 981 games in his sixteen-year career.


Taylor played only seventeen games with the Magic. He was traded to the Denver Nuggets in 1999, and back to Orlando in 2000.


Roberts was the man in the middle before Shaq came along the following draft. Roberts played only one of his eight seasons in central Florida, appearing in only fifty-five games. However his and the team’s overall poor play is how the franchise ended up with enough Ping-Pong balls to win the draft lottery and select Shaq the following draft.

So as you can see, Magic management has been consistent at one thing, getting this draft thing wrong. Hopefully new General Manager John Hammond and President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman can bring some of the fortune they’ve had in their others stops to the 407.

Remember, as important as it is whom you pick, it’s going to be exacerbated by whom you could’ve or didn’t select.



Orlando Will Pick at the Dreadful Sixth Spot

The NBA Draft lottery provides new hope for struggling franchises. Photo Credit: NBA.com

The NBA draft lottery was held Wednesday night and the Orlando Magic will pick sixth in the 2017 Draft on June 26th. That collective groan you heard around 8:50 pm was from the central Florida area.

The disappointment is from early projections coming into the lottery expecting the Magic would get the fifth pick, where they’ve had some past success.

The sixth pick may have some Orlando fans doubting if a transformative player will be available. But with “experts” saying this is the deepest draft in several seasons, and the Magic having several needs–most notable an efficient shooting small forward that can be a versatile defender–hopefully there will be one available that can change the fortunes of the franchise.

For those fans that don’t think this 2017 pick will do much to help end the worst period in Orlando Magic basketball, I’ll be honest, I don’t blame them. There’s a dramatic difference, historically, in the one pick between fifth and sixth.

If you need evidence, here’s a look at some of the all-time greats, All-Stars, All-NBA performers and Champions that have been chosen fifth overall in the past thirty years.

  • 1987 – Scottie Pippen (Seattle Sonics; traded to Chicago Bulls)
  • 1988 – Mitch Richmond (Golden State Warriors)
  • 1991 – Steve Smith (Miami Heat)
  • 1995 – Kevin Garnett (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • 1996 – Ray Allen (Minnesota Timberwolves; traded to the Milwaukee Bucks)
  • 1998 – Vince Carter (Golden State Warriors; traded to the Toronto Raptors)
  • 2003 – Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat)
  • 2008 – Kevin Love (Memphis Grizzlies; traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • 2010 – DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)

Now look at the notables that were selected sixth overall in that span of time.

  • 1987 – Kenny Smith (Sacramento Kings)
  • 1993 – Calbert Cheney (Washington Bullets)
  • 1996 – Antoine Walker (Boston Celtics)
  • 1999 – Wally Szczerbiak (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • 2001 – Shane Battier (Memphis Grizzlies)
  • 2003 – Chris Kaman (LA Clippers)
  • 2006 – Brandon Roy (Portland Trailblazers)
  • 2008 – Danilo Gallinari (New York Knicks)
  • 2012 – Damian Lillard (Portland Trailblazers)
  • 2014 – Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics)

See the difference?

Outside of Antoine Walker, Brandon Roy and presently Damian Lillard, those other sixth overall picks didn’t achieve their peak success with the team that drafted them. Majority of the players selected sixth in the last thirty years didn’t have more than a cup of coffee in the league and were nothing more than role players or all out busts. Remember these names?

  • 1988 – Hersey Hawkins (LA Clippers; traded to the Philadelphia 76ers)
  • 1989 – Stacey King (Chicago Bulls)
  • 1990 – Felton Spencer (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • 1991 – Doug Smith (Dallas Mavericks)
  • 1994 – Sharon Wright (Philadelphia 76ers)
  • 1995 – Bryant Reeves (Vancouver Grizzlies)

I think you get my point. You can see how falling that one spot can set a franchise back even longer or propel it to greatness.

The Magic really needed to get the fifth pick, which they had two other times. In 2015, they selected guard/forward Mario Hezonja out of Croatia. In 2000, they selected Florida University guard/forward Mike Miller, who eventually went on to win NBA Rookie of the Year.

While the jury is still out on Hezonja’s career, Miller made an immediate impact helping the Tracy Mac-led Magic get back into the playoffs before being traded to the Grizzlies in his third season. Miller is still thriving in the Association in his eighteenth season.

Orlando hopes they can get some Magic and a reversal of fortune with the 2017 number six selection, and turn this franchise around to end its longest playoff drought in team history. Otherwise, this night will be remembered for sinking the franchise into a deeper sea of despair.

NBA Should Drop the Age Limit, Send Prep Prospects to The D-League

It's time for the NBA to make the D-League a more useful farm system.

It’s time for the NBA to make the D-League a more useful farm system.

2016 number one overall NBA draft pick Ben Simmons said in his Showtime documentary One & Done, “I’m here to play…. I’m not here to go to school” when speaking about his one year in Baton Rouge at LSU.

That sentiment is one that many Division I freshman college basketball players from Lexington Kentucky, to Durham North Carolina, all the way to Los Angeles California share. Simmons went on to say “he felt like he was wasting his time.” It was clear to anyone with any basketball knowledge that he was going forego his college illegibility to enter the NBA draft immediately following his freshman season, seeing how he was projected to be the number one overall pick back when he was playing prep ball at Montverde Academy in Florida.

He is the first one and done player to openly defy the rule implemented in the collective bargaining agreement in 2005.

The NBA age limit, where a player must be one year removed from graduating high school or 19 years old before being allowed to enter the NBA draft, has been under attack since its inception.  It’s a joke, and needs to be abolished. It clearly isn’t good for the players, Association or college basketball.

My suggestion to fix all three, the NBA should let high school seniors enter the draft, but the teams that draft them have to send them to their D-League affiliate. But if prospects do go to college, they should have to stay for at least two years.

Commissioner Adam Silver and the 30 NBA owners have recently showed they’re serious about making their Minor League a more valuable asset. On Valentine’s Day, the NBA and Gatorade announced their multi-million dollar union with Gatorade.

The popular sports drink will now sponsor the league and rename it the G-League. Their logo will be on everything from the jerseys, the court and to the game ball. That should boost some revenue for teams to use to sign players.

Some D-League salaries will double thanks to the new NBA collective bargaining agreement. Two players per team will make $50,000 to $75,000. The rest of the players in the minor league get paid between $19,500 and $26,000. Hopefully with the influx of money coming from the new sponsor, salaries will raise even more, making playing in the G-League more attractive to young prospects who usually bolt overseas for higher pay checks, and create a more competitive environment for players to get accustomed to the professional game.

But those are just the start of the benefits for the players, NBA, D-League, and even NCAA basketball. Here’s how sending top draft picks to the developmental league will benefit all parties involved.

  • Helps grow interest in the minor League system, better marketing of players, attendance boost and media coverage would sky rocket.

Sending top prospects to the D-League increases the visibility of the minor league. Now that each NBA franchise is making moves towards owning their own minor league franchise, currently 25 teams are single affiliated, this would give them the opportunity to market their “junior varsity” squad by getting fans in those mini-markets to support the future stars of tomorrow.

Fans currently aren’t attending or watching development league games because they don’t like basketball, they aren’t paying attention because they don’t want to invest their time and money-watching players they suspect they’ll never hear from or see again in two to three years.

If the NBA used their D-League teams like Major League Baseball teams use their farm system, fans would go watch. You can’t tell me that if Ben Simmons was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers straight out of high school and had to play a year for the Delaware 87ers, that fans wouldn’t pack the Bob Carpenter Center on the campus of the University of Delaware nightly to watch him play. Ben Simmons merchandise would be flying off the shelves upon his arrival as well.

This would also help with television deals. Currently NBA TV and ESPN air a couple D-League games a week on tape delay. Much like the NBA was back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. But only hardcore hoop fans – this author raises his hand – and scouts watch those games. I believe it would be as popular as the broadcast of NBA Summer Leagues have become in the last five years or so. Those games have to be drawing good enough ratings since they keep airing them each off-season. The D-League broadcasts would be more meaningful with many of the same players.

  • Better in helping players adjusting to the pro style on and off the court, and create an opportunity to better educate players on the importance of finances.

On the court players would immediately learn the rules of the pro game, which are drastically different from the college game. Prospects will also benefit from learning on the job in the system of their pro team. Development of top talent will likely be expedited since they’ll be taught by the best of the best.

Look at how effective the San Antonio Spurs use the Austin Toro’s to implement their sets and strategies. Greg Popovich and his staff have perfectly used to system to groom Jonathan Simmons, Danny Green and Kyle Anderson before getting their chance to make a championship impact on the big stage in San Antonio.

Off the court, the league can provide players with financial literacy courses and seminars to help them learn things like how to balance a checkbook, pay utility bills, and how to properly invest the millions of dollars they’ll eventually be earning. That may sound silly to some, but remember, we are talking about teenagers and early twenty-something’s. It also would be beneficial to help them learn the other perils of being a professional athlete like celebrity, drugs and alcohol.

Former players who have successfully navigated their careers and retired in great shape could construct the curriculum. You could also invite some who have failed to share their tales of mistakes not to make. The rookie symposium attempts to do this, but if we’re being honest, doing this type of stuff for a week in the summer isn’t going to really help. If you were able to make this a program they could go through over the course of their first season of professional ball, it would likely have more benefit.

  • College game improves because players will make the conscious decision to commit to being student-athletes.

There’s a lot that needs to be fixed in the college game that has nothing to do with players leaving early for the pro ranks. But one of the reasons fans don’t invest in the “amateur” game is because teams don’t stay together long enough to build on school tradition.

Before, players saw college basketball as a means to an end; they took pride in playing for their school and having success on the college level.

If prospects are allowed to enter the NBA via the D-league immediately after graduating high school, the players that do decide to attend college will be more likely to care about building something at their institution instead of having one eye on getting to the next level.

College coaches will be able to better recruit “their players” and put the best teams together because they’ll know the players they have WANT to be there, not FORCED to be there for one season. You could even make the age limit where if you choose college you’re choosing to be there at least three years like NCAA football.

I’m a die-hard basketball fan of all levels. I’d like to see all succeed. Something has to be done with this age limit because it’s hurting everyone. Even those collecting million dollar pay days.


D’Angelo Russell: The 1st Overall Pick in the Draft?

On June 25th, 2015, the first name commissioner Adam Silver should announce is Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell. Russell is currently a top five pick in the many mock drafts floating around the internet, with most have him being the third or fourth selection before the draft lottery slots teams in mid May. 

(Update: The Minnesota Timberwolves won the Draft lottery and will select first followed by the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks and the Orlando Magic at number five.)

I know it defies conventional wisdom to draft Russell over big men Jalil Okafor of Duke and Karl Anthony-Towns from Kentucky, but this isn’t the 1980s when dominant bigs controlled the balance of power in the NBA.

We are in the era of the playmaking guard. It’s like quarterback in the NFL, if you don’t have one, you’re probably not a good team. 

Russell is a 6’5″ guard in the mold of Houston Rockets MVP candidate James Harden; not simply because they’re both smooth lefties, but because they can efficiently get buckets for themselves and their teammates seemingly at ease. Russell also has superior court vision and passing ability that has many NBA executives and Analysts comparing him to future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd.

Russell averages 18.7 ppg while shooting 46 percent from two, 43 percent from three. He’s a stat sheet stuffer grabbing 5.7 rebounds and dishing out 5.4 assist in 33 minutes of play. He already has a triple double to his credit and had been close in a handful of other games. 

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson had a front row seat to Russell’s exploits Thursday night in Columbus. While Russell left the game with an injury, he showed flashes of what has helped him earn Big Ten freshman of the week six times and Player of the week twice and a spot on the Wooden Award list, the basketball version of the Heisman trophy. 

If you’re one of the teams with the best chances at landing the number one pick (Knicks, Lakers, Sixers) what good is it to have a big in Okafor or Towns if you don’t have any one to get him the ball? 

(UPDATE: Even with Ricky Rubio on the roster the T-Wolves should still consider drafting Russell. Rubio has been often injured—he has only played a full season in his career once—and when he has played he’s been very inconsistent. If Rubio were still to flourish, he along with Russell and Wiggins could provide the T-Wolves with a formidable trio.)

You need Russell to play against Westbrook, CP3, Harden, Wall, Lilliard, Parker, Irving, Teague and the list goes on. If you want to turn around your teams fortunes, Russell is a great start. That is assuming he enters the draft. (UPDATE: Russell declared for the draft in late April foregoing his final three years of NCAA eligibility.)


Fixing the NBA Draft Lottery Requires Rewarding Winning

If the NBA really wants to restructure the draft lottery process to eliminate tanking, the league should look to reward winning.


Time for the NBA to do away with this system.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about revising the NBA Draft lottery to avoid a team like Cleveland being able to win the number one pick three times in four years, and keep teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers from purposely losing 55 to 60 plus games in back to back seasons to get a top five pick.

Just within the last week, the NBA submitted an official proposal to the competition committee to reform the draft lottery. While no new plan has been chosen, one solution that has been tossed around is giving the four teams with the worse records an 11 percent chance to win the number one pick, with the fifth worse team getting a 10 percent chance. I believe this will still encourage tanking as more teams will dump salaries and quality players in an attempt to beat each other out to be in the bottom five in the overall standings.

Under the current system, the team with the worst record has a 25 percent chance at the top pick, the second-worst team has a 19.9 percent chance with the third-worst team having a 15.6 percent chance.

So here’s my thought, reward winning. I’m not talking where the rich get richer like in 1982 when the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Championship, then drafted James Worthy number one overall a couple weeks later. I propose the draft selection should start with the team with the best record to miss the playoffs and continue as followed until all thirty teams are slotted.

For Example, based on the 2013-2014 season, under my draft system the number one pick in this past June’s draft would’ve went to the 48-34 Phoenix Suns, followed by the Minnesota Timberwolves at 40-42. The third selection would’ve been made by the 36-46 Denver Nuggets, fourth would’ve been the New York Knicks at 37-45—their pick would’ve went to the Orlando Magic via the Denver Nuggets as a result of several past trades, since it was the lesser of Denver’s first round picks it goes to the Magic—and the fifth pick would’ve been made by the New Orleans Pelicans (34-48)—if it hadn’t been in the top 5 it would’ve went to Philadelphia as a result of the Jrue Holiday/Nerlens Noel trade from Draft night 2013—followed by the 33-49 Cleveland Cavaliers. The rest of the lottery would’ve played out as below:

7.) Detroit Pistons (29-53) which keeps it 1st round pick from the 2012 Corey Magette/Ben Gordon since it was in the top 8. Anything out of the top 8 would’ve went to Charlotte as it did under the current draft format when the Ping pong balls landed Detroit at number 9.

8.) Sacramento Kings (28-54)
9.) LA Lakers (27-55)
10.) Winner of coin flip or head to head matchup between Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz (25-57)
11.) Loser of coin flip or head to head matchup between Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz (25-57)
12.) Orlando Magic (23-59)
13.) Philadelphia 76ers (19-63)
14.) Milwaukee Bucks (15-67)

My reasoning is simple, force management to field competitive teams that when it comes draft time, the selection they make will actually make a difference in the up coming season. As is, teams draft the best player and it’s still three to four years before their impact is felt in the standings. But, if a team or two that just missed out on the playoffs can add a talent worthy of the number one pick or top five, that player could be the missing link to get them into the playoffs and build an instant contender. The goal is also to increase parity across the league.

Look at the Portland Trailblazers. They hit it big when they drafted Damian Lilliard at number 6 In 2012. The Blazers were 28-38 that season during the lockout shortened season. While they were fortunate Lilliard fell to them, being only 10 games under .500 shows management was focused on building a successful team, even though they missed the playoffs. It’s clear they were one player away, it happened to be Lillard, the eventual rookie of the year who became an All Star in his second season and teamed up with another All Star in LaMarcus Aldridge to make it to the second round of the playoff this past spring. I think we can all agree the Blazers are well on their way to being a staple in the Western Conference.

I’m thinking of the fans as well. Who wants to consistently pay top dollar to see a team of guys play who very well couldn’t make a D-League roster? Hell in the case of Philly fans, they’re not even getting a chance to see their top draft pick play because management is sitting their top prospects in hopes it will lead to another top pick—see Nerlens Noel in 2013, now Joel Embiid in 2014. They’ll use injuries as the reason, but we all know what they’re doing.

Everyone from commissioner Silver to the fans sitting in the nose bleed seats are in agreement it’s time to move away from the current process that’s been in place since 1985. I’m here today to throw my solution into the ring. I’m not saying it’s the best, but it’s a start.

JUST FOR FUN, below is a hypothetical look at the teams the top fourteen picks would’ve been on had my system been in place. This is assuming the players were picked in the same order as the real draft. I didn’t consider team need, which would drastically change these selection. Case in point, I don’t think the Pelicans or Cavs would’ve drafted a PG/SG considering they already have franchise players in those positions. Just as well, I don’t see the Nuggets drafting Embiid with their army of post players led by Kenneth Faried.

1.) Phoenix Suns: Andrew Wiggins
2.) Minnesota Timberwolves: Jabari Parker
3.) Denver Nuggets: Joel Embiid
4.) Orlando Magic (from Denver via New York): Aaron Gordon
5.) New Orleans Pelicans (protected top 5): Dante Exum
6.) Cleveland Cavaliers: Marcus Smart
7.) Detroit Pistons: Julius Randle
8.) Sacramento Kings: Nik Stauskas
9.) LA Lakers: Noah Vonleh
10.) Boston Celtics or Utah Jazz: Elfrid Payton
11.) Boston Celtics or Utah Jazz: Doug McDermott
12.) Orlando Magic: Dario Saric
13.) Philadelphia 76ers: Zach Levin
14.) Milwaukee Bucks: T.J. Warren

Could you imagine Andrew Wiggins on that young athletic Suns squad? Or the T-wolves with Jabari Parker, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio? Those teams would instantly be in the hunt to make the western conference playoffs in 2015 and isn’t that what the draft is meant for? To help teams gain a competitive boost, not languish in the lottery for half a decade like Cleveland and Philadelphia.

The Magic Follow the San Antonio–Oklahoma City Model to Success


Magic hoping to become the Oklahoma City Thunder

The Orlando Magic got a close up look at their possible future Sunday night. The Magic fell short 98-101 in Oklahoma City to the Thunder, but In defeat they saw what General Manager Rob Hennigan hopes and plans to turn them into.

The Magic’s rebuilding project is ahead of schedule, even though they are currently 7-17 and in 13th place out of 15 in the Eastern Conference. Orlando fans can thank the San Antonio Spurs & Thunder for that. Orlando has plenty of young talent with a nice mix of seasoned veterans, but it probably still won’t be enough to keep them from having one of the bottom three worst records this season, and that’s okay. That means they have a higher chance of earning one of the top three picks in the 2014 NBA Draft.

The 2014 Draft Class is projected to be loaded with franchise building and cornerstone players. Duke’s Jabari Parker, Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins, Kentucky’s Julius Randle and Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart to name a few. The Magic want to build a consistent championship contender thru the draft like fellow small market franchises, the Oklahoma City and San Antonio. The Thunder built their championship contending team based on the model of the San Antonio Spurs, where GM Sam Presti began his career. Presti was Magic GM Rob Hennigan’s tutor in OKC. Hennigan has already laid the down the Spurs/Thunder model in Orlando.

He first signed a former back up point guard and a former highly respected league veteran, to his first head coaching job in Jacque Vaughn. Presti did the same when he hired Scott Brooks, another former back up point guard with a championship pedigree from his time with the Hakeem Olajuwon led Houston Rockets.

Then he cut ties to the old regime by trading away Dwight Howard and using that trade to bring in young talent in Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless, and a seasoned veteran in Aaron Afflalo. Later, he traded away fan favorite and free agent to be JJ Redick to the Milwaukee Bucks for Tobias Harris, which may be his shrewdest move yet. Presti did the same in Seattle with the Sonics—before the move to OKC—when he traded franchise Star Ray Allen to Boston for the draft rights to Jeff Green and let Rashard Lewis walk and sign as a free agent with Orlando.

Then Hennigan added his first cornerstone piece in Victor Oladipo with the 2nd pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. In 2007, Presti helped his fortunes and the Sonic/Tunder franchise when he drafted Kevin Durant 2nd. Now I’m not saying Oladipo is the Magic’s Durant, but early in his rookie campaign he’s showing that he is prime to lead a revival of a franchise that was just competing for a World Title only four years ago.


Oladipo will lead the Magic’s resurgence into becoming one of the NBA’s elite.

In the coming years, Hennigan will be looking for a Russell Westbrook and James Harden to pair up with Oladipo. The 2014 NBA Draft will probably be his best bet to do so. It’s too early to say what additions the Magic are looking to make via the draft. Afflalo has been a pleasant surprise as a combo shooting guard/small forward. You have to guess he’s in the future plans. Plus you have Mo Harkless and Tobias Harris steadily improving at those positions, therefore do you need Wiggins or Parker? You don’t want a log jam at wing positions.

Word is the Magic brass want Oladipo to be more of a point guard in the mold of a Russell Westbrook. So does that rule out Marcus Smart? Julius Randle would be a nice power forward compliment to Vucevic. That selection would make great sense. Then, there is always the possibility Orlando misses out on a top pick by sliding into the 8th seed of the playoffs in an Eastern Conference where half the playoff teams could have losing records.

The next two years will be telling for the Magic. Here’s where patience will need to be a virtue. The Thunder were bad enough that they were able to draft Russell Westbrook going into Durant’s second season and then were futile enough to draft James Harden number three overall the following year. In the 2010 playoffs, the Thunder surprised many by pushing the defending Champion L.A. Lakers in the first round of the playoffs to six games. Three years is all it took. The Magic are technically in year two of rebuilding a team that was just in the NBA Championship race two season ago.

Magic fans should take a Que from the OKC fans and support this team now to give them the same “all in this together” feel Thunder players felt from their crowds. It’s only a matter of time before the Magic Kingdom is the center of the basketball universe again, then the stain of another goofy, misguided, arrogant 7 foot superstar will be wiped away.

Losing The #1 Pick is A Win for The Magic & Why They Should Draft Trey Burke


Courtesy: SB Nation

The Orland Magic had a 25 percent chance of winning the top pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. That was the highest percentage of amongst the other 13 lottery participants. The Magic fell short, earning the second pick in this June’s draft behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. That isn’t a big a loss.

The 2013 NBA Draft class doesn’t have a franchise changing player, deserving of the top pick. The current consensus top pick among draft gurus is Nerlens Noel, the freshman center out of the University of Kentucky. Noel’s only season at UK was cut short, when he tore his ACL on a freak play against the Florida Gators. While rehab is reportedly going well, he still isn’t projected to play in a game until December.

Which brings me to my point, losing the number one pick lets Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan and other franchise decision makers off the hook for having to draft the unproven big man in the top slot. Noel isn’t the caliber of big man the Magic selected when they won the lottery three others times, drafting Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber and Dwight Howard. Falling to number two opens up variety of options that can pay off huge for a franchise that’s fallen quickly since it’s 2009 NBA Finals appearance.

Which the second pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic (SHOULD)draft….. Trey Burke, point guard University Of Michigan.

Courtesy: Jornadadiaria

Courtesy: Jornadadiaria

Here are the reasons why the Magic should draft Burke:

Chris Paul
Tony Parker
Stephen Curry
Derrick Rose
Kyrie Irving
Deron Williams
Russell Westbrook
Rajon Rondo
Damian Lilliard
Mike Conley Junior
Should I go on?……

The NBA is point guard dominated. In order to compete in today’s game you MUST have one. It’s like the NFL with elite quarterbacks, if you don’t have one you can not win.

Burke, the 2013 consensus National College Player of the year is an unselfish Allen Iverson. His speed, shooting ability, passing skills along with a high basketball IQ is what all the players I listed above have. He also excels in the pick in roll, the NBA’s most used offense. You connect him with steadily improving big man Nikola Vučević, athletic wingmen Maurice Harkless and Tobias Harris, and you have a attractive nucleus that can grow together over the next 4-5 years. You mix this youth with the veteran leadership of Jameer Nelson, Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis and it could quickly payoff into a return to the playoffs. Add to that the importance of continuing to excite the central Florida fan base and keep the nearly three year old Amway Center seats filled, this is a win win.

In my observation, this new regime headed by GM Rob Hennigan has already made several smart moves. Just look at the Dwightmare going on in Hollywood that they’ve avoided this summer. Adding Burke to this roster and community would be another smart move. I hope they and Magic fans are listening, just in case they aren’t…. just watch.

Michigan Vs. Kansas 2013 NCAA Tournament, Courtesy: Lodzio20 & CBS Sports

2013 NBA Draft Scouting Report Video, Courtesy: DraftExpress

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