Orlando Magic NBA Draft Preview: 5 Players to Watch at the NBA Draft Combine

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 30: Nickeil Alexander-Walker #4 of the Virginia Tech Hokies in action against the Miami Hurricanes at Watsco Center on January 30, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 30: Nickeil Alexander-Walker #4 of the Virginia Tech Hokies in action against the Miami Hurricanes at Watsco Center on January 30, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Jeff Weltman, Orlando Magic
ORLANDO, FL – JUNE 22: Orlando Magic president Jeff Weltman speaks at the Orlando Magic Draft Press Conference , on June 22, 2018 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Gary Bassing/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The NBA Draft Combine takes place this week and will allow teams to meet with many of the top players. Picking at 16, the Orlando Magic have work to do.

The NBA is gathering in Chicago this week to begin to look more formally ahead to the 2020 season. The league’s first official event that looks ahead to next season takes place.

The teams that missed the playoffs gathered for the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday. And for the first time in seven years, the Orlando Magic will not have a representative in the room.

Their draft strategy this year will be a little different. They are not looking to stockpile the top-end talent and pick the best player available. Instead, they are going to look for a player who fills a need to help keep them in the playoff picture. . . and probably still the best player available.

The Magic made the playoffs at 42-40 but are still considered a fairly young team that needs development and growth. They are not at the end of their road and have to continue adding talent to keep pace and keep growing.

Not to mention they have big questions about free agents in Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross.

No matter what the Magic plan to do on draft night, they have to get this right. Whether that is selecting their picks or looking to move around the draft or acquire a veteran.

Orlando’s pickings at No. 16 will be relatively slim. No one should expect elite talent or for the team to select a future All-Star (although that is certainly within the realm of possibility). The team’s goal at a very baseline is to find a player who can contribute and play a role on the roster and then grow into something bigger and better as he develops and grows.

The old debate about selecting best player over need never dies at any point in the draft. The Magic should probably still look to take the best player available. But as they shape and form the roster they want, they will need to find players who can fit into roles around the key players.

Orlando is obviously still figuring out the latter part too. So the team is still searching for anything. But most importantly, the focus is they want to find people that fit the team’s culture and ethos as much as they have a skill that fits the roster.

The No. 16 pick can yield a solid player. At the very least, the Magic should be looking for a player who can contribute at some level fairly quickly. They can find that at No. 16 in the draft.

A lot of the work for the team is already done. They have watched film of the prospects and started doing their research on the players they really like. The NBA Draft Combine will fill in some of the raw athletic stats and measurements they want.

But most importantly, this is the first time the teams will be able to sit down and talk one-on-one (or group-on-one) with the prospects. Even in the short time they have, this is the basis for a lot of their conversations and understanding of who prospects are as people.

They can schedule follow-ups and workouts from there. But the final leg of that work begins at the Combine. The final piece to the puzzle.

Considering how much the Magic need to continue finding players who can contribute. The work certainly still has some urgency, even picking 16th.