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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Nico Mannion, Arizona Wildcats

The Arizona Wildcats had one of the best offenses in the nation this season. They had one of the most dynamic groups of players in the nation. They could hit from the outside and inside and run up and down the floor. It was actually a pretty modern NBA roster.

Nico Mannion was the point guard running the show for the Wildcats this year.

The 6-foot-3 freshman was dynamic off the dribble, able to score in a variety of ways. He could attack both on the ball and off the ball, in the half-court and in transition. Mannion is one of the really interesting and special prospects in the draft.

He averaged 14.0 points per game and 5.3 assists per game in his lone year at Arizona, posting a 46.5-percent effective field goal percentage. Among those were some real highlight-reel moments. He is a dynamic athlete who knows how to use space and creat angles.

His size is a big benefit for him and will get him plenty of looks when the draft comes around.

But the biggest thing plaguing Mannion throughout his freshman season was consistency. He just might not be ready to lead a NBA team quite yet. And Arizona struggled to find much traction despite all the various weapons and offensive explosion they had.

The Wildcats were just 21-11 and 10-8 in the Pac-12. With the talent on that roster, they expected a lot better. Even if they were all very young.

Mannion’s ability to run the point consistently was at least a part of that. He turned the ball over 2.6 times per game. And he shot just 32.7 percent from deep. Mannion, despite all his scoring ability, shot worse than 40 percent from the floor.

A lot of the tools for Mannion are all there. The talent is clearly there. And he is an energetic player.

Put him on the ball and he can create his own shot and create opportunities for himself. When he is in the open floor, he is a brilliant playmaker.

But his consistency is seemingly more than just his youth at the moment. He has to become a better spot-up shooter and improve his overall decisionmaking. As well as his attention to detail defensively. But that is something every young player has to work on.