Orlando Magic weighing options, but comfortable with spot in NBA Draft

Mar 13, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) dunks the ball over Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein (00) during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2017; Sacramento, CA, USA; Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) dunks the ball over Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein (00) during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic have a few short days to make their final preparations for the NBA Draft. But as things stand, the team is comfortable with what’s ahead.

The Orlando Magic are roughly 72 hours away from the NBA Draft. It may be one of the biggest decisions the new front office team has to make. The sixth pick in the Draft presents a massive opportunity for the team to improve itself and begin building in a better direction.

With all the rumors flying around the NBA these days, it might be hard to keep everything under control. The pressure for a first-time decision maker can only grow. This is a pick the Magic have to get right.

Yet, president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and general manager John Hammond were at ease Monday as they addressed the media before the 2017 NBA Draft. The usual draft storm is swirling around them. But they seemed to have a good handle on where they are at and what is ahead of them.

In short words, the Magic seem pleased with the options they have at No. 6 and the opportunity with their three other picks this Thursday. There is no urgency to do anything but let the draft play out.

"“I do think we’re in a very good position at six where you can make a good case that six is going to be as good as one,” Weltman told Orlando Magic Daily. “I think the way the draft is viewed right now, six is a pretty good spot to be in. We’ve talked to everybody. I don’t think we’re working in overdrive to get to a certain part of the draft. We’re very content at six.”"

Weltman said the team has talked to teams both above and below them in the Draft to get a sense of what might be available in a trade. And, it is true, these discussions might eventually lead to a trade before Thursday. Things change quickly in the NBA — remember the Serge IbakaVictor Oladipo deal really came together a few hours before the Draft began.

But the public stance, for now, seems to be the team is happy to take a player with the sixth pick.

Considering who might be available, it is hard to blame them. While Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson seem to be a surefire top three at this point, Jayson Tatum, Jonathan Isaac, Dennis Smith, De’Aaron Fox or Malik Monk do not seem like terrible consolation prizes. This is widely considered a top-heavy and strong draft.

The Magic fairly expect the player they take with that sixth overall pick to be someone who can contribute and develop into a star. Weltman said trading to the sixth pick is a vastly different conversation than trading for the seventh pick. The Magic have a pick that holds value around the league — and to them.

The other picks — the 25th, 33rd and 35th pick — are “high-value” picks as Weltman describes them. While it is unclear exactly how the Magic want to use these picks or whether the team will be looking to trade them to move up or for future assets, the Magic definitely see the potential to add value.

Weltman said adding four rookies to the roster is not ideal, despite the ability to draft good players in the first 35 picks. But the team is not going to force a trade just to avoid this question. It does not appear the Magic are going to make a deal just to make a deal.

But like everything else, Weltman seemed content that if bringing in four rookies is what happens, that is not a bad thing. Option A, he said, might be not to bring in four rookies. But sometimes he said you have to make Option B work.

And that is what the Magic have in this Draft. A lot of options. And, seemingly, a lot of good options.

The top pick presents the opportunity to bring in a star. And the three other picks present the opportunity to trade up for more talent in this Draft or the opportunity to draft quality players with first-round talent, at the very least.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

There is simply the chance to add talent to a roster that has hit something of a rut and needs a refresh.

The Magic’s approach to selecting these players is not to address needs. Weltman said it is still early in the process for the Magic to be drafting on need. They are looking at ways to add talent through this draft. For now, the Magic want to add a player with talent and someone the team can really grow with.

What kind of player is that? That is a little harder to define.

"“That’s the nature of the draft,” Weltman told Orlando Magic Daily. “We all have these paradigms. We’re going to draft this type of person and this type of player. We’re dealing with human beings. It’s never going to be just the way you want it. We want talented players who play for each other. That’s where we start the conversation. From there, we go into different layers of their personality and their skill sets. But that’s at the core of what we try to do.”"

Hammond has been on record stating the team is looking for versatility and length as qualities that seem to have value in the NBA. Weltman repeated that. He said versatility is certainly a skill that has value in the NBA along with shooting and being able to make reads. It is hard to find everything in one player.

The team is still holding its values and its preferences close to the vest as the draft gets nearer.

Weltman said the Magic have been in overdrive to catch the new staff up on the draft prospects as they get settled in with Orlando. Assistant general manager Matt Lloyd and his staff have taken the lead in many of these meetings to provide information on the prospects.

The team is still getting its work in before the Draft begins. The Magic are doing their due diligence to understand all their options.

Next: Previewing the offseason with the NBA Front Office Show

As the Draft comes closer, the Magic feel comfortable with the options ahead of them.