Chad Ford: Magic take Smart with top pick

Joe Robbins/Getty Images/ZimbioIt is getting to be that time of the year for the teams at the bottom of the standings. The NCAA Tournament is set to start in three weeks and the basketball world will be turning toward one of the more intriguing and wide open college basketball races in recent memory.

When you look at it through the draft's eyes, the draft is wide open too.

There is no runaway player for the top overall pick. Whoever wins the lottery is going to have some interesting options with that first pick.

With the season winding down, Orlando will be making its draft preparations. Currently, the Magic have the second best odds at winning the lottery. More than any other year however, the difference between drafting first and fifth might be minimal.

Chad Ford of ESPN unveiled the Draft Lottery Machine on Thursday for your fun and enjoyment. It is his foray into the world of mock drafts (an exercise that is probably a bit too early to do).

Still, it is good to know who Magic fans should be watching as the tournament approaches. I will be doing that through Magic Wands in the coming days.

Ford though puts his thought into who the Magic should draft. And he believes the Magic should draft Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart if they get the number one pick in June:

The Magic could also use help everywhere on the floor, but with young players in place at center (Nikola Vucevic), power forward (Andrew Nicholson) and small forward (Moe Harkless and Tobias Harris) look for the team to try to juice up the backcourt.

While McLemore might be an option to replace Arron Afflalo, the money is on Smart. The Magic need a leader and a potential star, and while Smart's numbers won't always wow you, his leadership on the court and his power taking the ball to the basket could make him an All-Star someday.

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The Magic are probably not going to be drafting on need in this year's Draft. They do not have that luxury. Orlando should be looking at taking the best player available. The college scouting is ongoing and the Magic still have a lot of time before they have to make a decision of any kind.

The NCAA Tournament is part of that process. So too will be individual workouts and interviews as the draft gets closer.

The other candidates to be the top pick in this draft include Kansas forward Ben McLemore, Kentucky center Nerlens Noel and UNLV Anthony Bennett. Indiana's Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller also are considered possibilities at the top of the draft.

Again, there is still a long way to go before any decision has to be made.

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

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