Andre Miller was traded, but not to the Magic. It has been a relatively quiet night for the Magic after a few days of running rumors about what the Magic will do to begin this quick rebuilding project. That might disappoint some fans. Likely though, this was not the night for anything major to happen.
Instead Orlando hung tough and waited for the players they liked to fall to them. Entering the Draft with just the 53rd pick in the draft, Orlando was frustratingly patient.
The Magic ended up acquiring one more pick, trading two future second round picks to the Cavaliers for the draft rights to the 32nd pick in the draft, Justin Harper.
Harper a 6-foot-10 forward out of Richmond. Harper averaged 17.9 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game and is more of a stretch four than a tradtiional power forward. He finished ranked fifth in Richmond history in 3-point field goals made. I do not think he is as good as Rashard Lewis, but remember Lewis was also a second round pick. So there might be hope that he could match that effort.
More than anything, if the Magic really believe in Harper, it might mean that they expect to trade Ryan Anderson at some point in the near future and Harper can be someone to replace him. You do not trade into the second round like this unless you are specifically targeting someone. I am sure Otis Smith will say this was the guy they targeted all along and that is why they went after him.
Harper will get his chance (maybe) to prove himself in training camp.
With the 53rd pick in the Draft, the Magic selected Kentucky junior DeAndre Liggins. Liggins was not as well known as some of his Kentucky teammates like John Wall or Brandon Knight, but he was an important cog to their team’s success. Liggins made his name as a long-armed athletic defender. At 6-foot-6 he has some versatility in that he can play either the two or three.
There was some initial anger tha thte Magic did not jump on Ohio State’s David Lighty, Tennessee’s Scotty Hopson or Purdue’s E’Twaun Moore, but Liggins is the kind of athletic wing defender the Magic sorely lacked in the postseason. If he sticks to defense, he will have a chance to make it in the NBA.
This was a defense pick for the Magic and someone who is going to be able to fight for a roster spot.
Liggins scored 8.6 points per game and 4.0 rebounds per game for Kentucky last season. He was named to the All-SEC Defensive Team too. Again, defense was the key for the Magic with this pick.
In all, just taking a quick glance at what the Magic did in this draft, I feel like they addressed some needs. Orlando needed a young, rangy defender and got that in Liggins. Anticipating a need to trade Anderson, they picked up a shooting four in Harper. It is hard to expect much out of second round picks, but I believe both have a chance at making the roster. That is if they work hard and focus on what got them drafted in the first place.
Orlando Magic Daily will have a complete profile on Harper and Liggins tomorrow.