Orlando Magic NBA Draft Preview: The dark horse prospects to watch

Tyrese Maxey of the Kentucky Wildcats is a promising point guard with lots of work to do. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)
Tyrese Maxey of the Kentucky Wildcats is a promising point guard with lots of work to do. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images) /
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Theo Maledon, France

The Orlando Magic have not really ever drafted on need. They have put their focus on finding the best players available and finding the players that fit their organizational culture and preferences. Yes, the Magic want long players who are willing to defend, believing they can teach shooting.

But at some point, the Magic have to consider themselves a playoff team and address their needs. Especially with the cap preparing to decrease. The draft will be a space they have to find players who fit their eye and can fill a need and play a role for a growing and promising young team.

Not to mention the Magic need to rebuild young assets to replace players they may one day trade or use to acquire a key player.

A look at the Magic’s depth chart reveals two glaring needs — aside from skill-based shooting. The Magic need to boost their depth at shooting guard with the uncertainty surrounding Evan Fournier. So most of our focus in these draft previews have focused on that.

The other need might be at point guard. The team has Markelle Fultz firmly entrenched as the starting point guard for the near future. Michael Carter-Williams has proven a reliable option off the bench. But his history of injury should mean the Magic need a security blanket.

D.J. Augustin is a free agent this offseason. And even he admitted in a piece with The Players Tribune his future is a bit uncertain.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

There is the chance to get a decent quality backup after the lottery to fill the need. And this ends up being a pretty decently rich class of point guards. Of course, quantity does not equal quality.

If you are looking for a player who fits the Magic’s style at point guard, then look no further than Theo Maledon of France.

The 6-foot-3 (or 6-foot-5, depending on which Web site you follow) point guard averaged 7.0 points and 2.5 assists per game in 16.7 minutes per game across 42 games for ASVEL in France’s Ligue 1 and EuroLeague. Like most young players in Europe, he is still coming off the bench a lot.

Maledon looks a little bit like Michael Carter-Williams when he is on the floor. He has long arms and uses it well defensively. He is adept at creating space in transition and has great vision on the run.

The one area where they differ is Maledon’s lack of explosiveness. He is not a great leaper or does more than quick bursts. He uses his positioning to score a lot.

That might work in Europe and in FIBA play, but not as much in the more athletic-based NBA. He will have to find his place within a role no matter where he ends up.

The Magic likely will love his length. But they will see a player who still needs some work with his technique defensively. And they will have to judge whether his physical limitations are something they can work with.