Orlando Magic Daily Mailbag Volume 24: One Draft to rule them all

Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Aaron Gordon (Arizona) shakes hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number four overall pick to the Orlando Magic in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Aaron Gordon (Arizona) shakes hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number four overall pick to the Orlando Magic in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Malik Monk, Kentucky Wildcats, Ole Miss Rebels
Jan 17, 2017; Starkville, MS, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Malik Monk (5) brings the ball up court against Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Quinndary Weatherspoon (11) during the first half at Humphrey Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports /

From Yuval Baneth via e-mail

"1. What is the plan for the magic? How can this struggling team become a contender without tanking? Do they settle for mediocrity? 2. Who is the third best point guard in the draft in your opinion? Can Malik monk become a point guard? 3. Out Of the three late first to early second round draft picks the magic have, how many do you think should be raw, high ceiling- low floor prospects, and how many should be more proven and immediate contributors with a low ceiling? Looking forward to your answer"

I think the first question cuts to the very heart of what the Orlando Magic will try to do this year. How Jeff Weltman answers it will set the franchise’s direction.

There is still undeniable pressure to win sooner than later. I do not believe Weltman came in with a multi-year rebuild plan in place like Rob Hennigan likely he did. He is not going to handicap himself to a timeline. He likely recognized the Magic want to win and win now. And he will look to take steps to get the Magic to that point.

Becoming a contender and becoming a winning team are two different things. And, perhaps, one of the problems of the Hennigan era was putting the cart before the horse and talking about winning a championship when the team had nothing in place. Championship teams and windows are rare. You have to strike when the window opens though.

If the Magic’s lone goal was to win a championship at all costs, it would never have spent all it did in free agency and would have kept playing the Lottery until they won — and likely even beyond that.

The franchise is not about to go that route. I think the organization views the roster it has — with Aaron Gordon as its primary player and Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross as quality young veterans and Elfrid Payton as a bit of a wild card — as capable of taking the next step. It just needs that last little push — the star player.

Orlando certainly views the players available to it at the sixth pick as that missing piece. And they are going to be willing to take a few lumps in the short term to let that player blossom next to Gordon. The next step is about fitting role players around their proposed core.

It will not be easy. I do not think the Magic are likely to be Playoff ready in 2018. But by 2019, the team should have a better idea of what it is and be able to find those players to make it a Playoff team.

From there, a team that makes the Playoffs has the ability to go out and find free agents. They suddenly become more attractive situations to players looking to leave.

The mistake of the last rebuild was believing the team was ready for big-name free agents before the Playoffs. the best players in the league — or even mid-tier free agents — were not going to consider the Magic yet. And that has Orlando where it is now.

So that gets us to the sixth pick.

The instinct the Magic will take a point guard feels right. But really that is more a product of this being a point guard-heavy draft and the Magic needing to take the best player available.

As I said earlier, I am firmly in the Dennis Smith camp. I think he is the fourth-best point guard in the Draft, but better than tweener forwards like Jayson Tatum and Jonathan Isaac. And certainly a better fit.

I might even be willing to argue taking Smith over De’Aaron Fox. But the Magic likely will not have that choice.

Malik Monk is an interesting player because he is the best shooter in this Draft. And everyone wants to make the comparisons with Devin Booker with his playmaking ability. I do not believe he is that good.

Monk can shoot the ball. But I do not believe he can downshift to point guard. I do not think he is comfortable driving — or that he particularly wants to — and that will limit his ability as a passer. As a shooting guard too, his lack of size and length will hurt him defensively.

Essentially, I believe Monk can be very good. But I think there is a ceiling on him for a team looking for a star player with the sixth pick.

Finally, I think the Magic are approaching those three later picks with the same mentality. There is not a lot of difference between 25 and 35 in this Draft. They are all potentially quality players.

I think it would be smart for the Magic to use one of these picks on someone who has a high-upside and needs some development. But it is important they actually invest in this player and they truly believe in him. It cannot be a risk just to take a risk. The Magic need at least two of these three players to contribute to the team next year.

Next: Fastbreak Breakfast: Orlando Magic's blank slate

Thank you, everyone, for your questions! Remember, you can always ask me questions in the comment section below each article and online at our Facebook page on Twitter @omagicdaily. Until next time . . . happy drafting!