Options abound for Magic at No. 2


One question has been answered now that the NBA Draft Lottery has passed. The Magic will have the second selection in the NBA Draft. That means one player is off the board. It does not change much of Orlando's preparations. Just about every player on their Draft board is still going to be around. Unless the Magic plan on honing in on one player and hope that the Cavaliers do not draft him, nothing has changed.

That kind of honing does not seem in Rob Hennigan's persona.

Orlando's reported interest in Ben McLemore or Trey Burke or Victor Oladipo or any other player in the Draft they might be targeting. Prospects will begin making their way into Orlando for workouts and interviews as the Magic complete their scouting and Draft preparations.

The Magic should be weighing all options with the pick. And there are plenty of options. Here is a brief review of where the Magic should go:

Keep the Pick and Draft Best Player Available

This is the position that I strongly advocate for the Magic right now.

Orlando is not quite in a position to build a team that is capable of winning now. Right now, the Magic appear still to be in collecting assets that they can use in building the team of the future. That could mean a whole lot of different things. Ultimately it means judging what you think of Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris and Maurice Harkless, as well as veterans like Jameer Nelson, Glen Davis and Arron Afflalo, as future building blocks for this team.

There is no slam-dunk superstar prospect in this Draft. Even if the Magic had the top pick in the Draft, there would be this debate about what kind of player the Magic should go after. Would drafting a player like Nerlens Noel (injured though he may be) and adding him to an already deep group of forwards be the right move for Vucevic's development? Would drafting a player like Otto Porter hold back Harkless or Harris' development?

These are legitimate questions. They should be within Orlando's considerations as Rob Hennigan and his staff sit down to make decisions and review their notes on these guys taken from this past season, the Draft Combine and the workouts and interviews ahead.

Who is the best player available in the Draft? It feels that Ben McLemore and Nerlens Noel have separated themselves from the rest of the class as the candidates fo the top pick. I have McLemore as my best player in this year's Draft, but an argument certainly could be made for Noel.

If Noel is available at No. 2 and the Magic believe he is the best player in the Draft, they should pick him. The magic should be thinking about collecting the most talent and figuring out what to do with it as the team develops and grows. Options are still most important for Orlando.

Keep the Pick and Draft for Need

The great part about where the Magic are is that often drafting the best player will satisfy a need on the roster. If the Magic draft Ben McLemore, it is only looking to fill a shooting guard need for the future when Arron Afflalo is likely moved on. He does not figure (at least at this point) to be part of the Magic's final rebuild.

However, most Magic fans have singled out point guard as the team's biggest need. Whether that is faith in Jameer Nelson or seeing that his contract will expire very quickly, leaving the Magic without a point guard or a backup point guard, this need has become somewhat alarming.

Trey Burke is the top point guard in this Draft and several Mock Drafts have Orlando bypassing McLemore to take Burke. It is a very real possibility that this is where the Magic want to go. There were reports earlier that the Magic had their eyes on Marcus Smart before he decided to stay in school another year.

When looking at the current young foundations for the Magic roster, the team seems set at the front court positions and could use the guard help. If Orlando is drafting for need, it likely does not want a center who would take minutes away from Nikola Vucevic, a power forward who would take minutes away from Tobias Harris and Andrew Nicholson or a small forward who would take minutes away from Maurice Harkless.

Afflalo, Nelson and Davis likely have to figure in there somewhere too, at least to be showcased for potential trades during this season or in the offseason. That does leave a guard position as a clear need for the Magic in building the team back up. And this year's draft is full of comparable players that could help the Magic solidify themselves in the backcourt.

An observer could disagree over whether Burke is better than Victor Oladipo quite easily. Neither would be reaches at the second pick either.

Trade the Pick

There does not seem to be a lot of talk about many teams wanting to trade up in this Draft — there seems to be more talk about teams looking to trade down and out of the top picks. Expect Orlando to listen to and possibly be involved in these trade rumors.

The Magic spent a good amount of their time at the Draft Combine interviewing several prospects who are expected to get picked much lower in the Draft. This could be part of the due diligence and the thought the team is expected at least to listen to trade offers.

Likely if the Magic move down, they will be targeting a need — such as point guard — as the second pick would get you the second best player (in theory).

If Orlando is in asset collection mode, then trading down could be a good way to turn one draft pick into two or possibly a pick in next year's Draft. If the Magic see the talent in the middle of the Draft as comparable to the talent at the top, it is also an easy way to save some money.

This Draft is quickly becoming about options. These are only a basic outline of where the Magic can go now that they know what pick they have.