Is McLemore Magic’s early favorite?

Earlier, I linked to a consensus mock draft big board as we begin the countdown to the NBA Draft Lottery. The Magic know only that they will have one of the top four picks. With the best odds at winning the lottery, Orlando should begin running the scenarios of what it would like to see happen should they end up with any of the top-4 picks. 

According to Joe Kotoch of, the best scenario ends with the Magic selecting Kansas sharpshooter Ben McLemore, and possibly trading the No. 1 pick to whoever wants Nerlens Noel most (h/t Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post):

The big news here is this: Sources around the NBA have told SheridanHoops that if the Orlando Magic or New Orleans Hornets win the lottery, they both would be strongly inclined to trade the pick to whichever fellow lottery team wants to pay the most for the right to draft Nerlens Noel.

The caveat for Orlando is that it does not want to lose out on Ben McLemore of Kansas, whom it covets the most, or Trey Burke/Victor Oladipo as a fallback. And it’s not that the Magic don’t like Noel. Rather, they don’t need him, already in possession of a top-tier NBA center on a rookie contract in two-year veteran Nikola Vucevic. Same with the Hornets and Anthony Davis.

To recap, if the Magic were to win the No. 1 pick, they would seek to trade it to whichever team wants Nerlens Noel the most, so long as the Magic trade back high enough to take Ben McLemore or get Trey Burke or Victor Oladipo. If this report is true, then it seems the Magic are looking to Draft a guard, seemingly satisfied with the frontcourt depth with Nikola Vucevic, Andrew Nicholson, Glen Davis and Tobias Harris on the roster.

That certainly makes sense. My opinion, as I stated on the ELOOnline podcast last week, is the Magic are not yet in the position to draft need and need to continue collecting assets and talent. I happen to have Ben McLemore as the top player in the Draft. If the Magic get the No. 1 pick, I doubt they will find a deal that allows them to keep within McLemore's range and they should probably just take McLemore with the top pick overall.

Perhaps this is a bit of a smokescreen and the guy the Magic are really after is one of those "fallback" players. Magic fans really like the idea of bringing Trey Burke in to apprentice under Jameer Nelson for a year before becoming the starting point guard.

There is a long way to go before these scenarios come into play. It appears this is just food for thought to pass the time.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily