The Magic have only three games remaining in their season and are locked into one of the two worst records in the league. Wednesday's win over the Bucks gave the Magic a two-game lead over the Bobcats for the coveted 29th spot in the NBA standings.
It is looking more and more like the standings are going to remain what they are and Orlando will end up with about a 20 percent chance at taking the top overall pick in this June's draft. There is still time for some jockeying.
As we all know, a bad record does not necessarily lead to the top pick. It is a lottery after all. The "tanking" and losing is all for a better chance at the No. 1 pick. The team with the worst record has not won the lottery since the Magic did so in 2004, and that actually came a year after the Cavaliers won the lottery with the worst record in the league in 2003.
Those really were lottery winners as Cleveland took LeBron James and Orlando took Dwight Howard. Unfortunately, it does not seem as though Ben McLemore and Nerlens Noel are quite on those players' level.
Once the season ends and as players begin coming to Orlando for their individual workouts, there will be time to break down the players the Magic will consider for whatever pick the lottery gives them on May 21.
The question posed here is going to be an existential one: How important is the No. 1 pick to the Magic for their development and rebuild this year? Does picking between Noel or McLemore, or wheover else the Magic are considering at this point, really that important?
Earlier this week, the crew over on NBA.com's Hang Time Blog debated who needed the top overall pick in this year's draft most. Many answered Charlotte because the franchise just needs a shot in the arm and something to sell those fans. The Magic were hardly mentioned. Fran Blinebury was the only writer to talk about the Magic:
Fran Blinebury: Oh, for sure the Bobcats need it the most. They’ve been living on the bottom so long they should be renamed “Flounders.” Of course, based on Michael Jordan‘s stewardship, they’ll be right back fishing for No. 1 again next season. Orlando probably deserves it after having Shaq and Dwight Howard walk out the door. But based on what’s already going on in Cleveland and the pieces that have already been put around Kyrie Irving, I believe the Cavs could take a big step forward with the No. 1 pick and make it more appealing for free agent LeBron James to return in 2014.
The Magic winning this year's lottery would certainly continue a three-year trend of teams winning the lottery after losing their franchise player — the Cavs got Kyrie Irving a year after losing LeBron James, the Hornets got Anthony Davis a year after losing Chris Paul.
For the Magic, this year the number on epick only means choice. And, as a general manager, choice is always a good thing. It allows Rob Hennigan to go through his process and make the best decision for the Magic rather than having someone else make the decision for him. The Magic want to have control over the decision for sure.
Orlando does not need the number one pick, not this year. The Magic are looking for a franchise cornerstone to begin moving forward. It does not appear there is one in this year's draft — the closest tore his ACL in February. For the Magic's rebuilding project, this year's Draft adds another piece but not the piece.
The top overall pick is a nice bonus but this is not the year to have it.