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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Jordan Nwora, Louisville Cardinals
Jordan Nwora is an ace shooter and has the physical build to score for the Louisville Cardinals. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Jordan Nwora, Louisville Cardinals

Jordan Nwora’s freshman year for the Louisville Cardinals in 2017 was nothing special. He was a freshman who played some meaningful minutes off the bench. But perhaps that was nothing special.

Then he burst onto the scene as a sophomore, averaging 17.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game on 44.6-percent shooting. He managed to match that and increase his efficiency as a junior — averaging 18.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He shot 40.2 percent from beyond the arc and a 52.8-percent effective field goal percentage.

There were plenty of games where Nwora simply took over and dominated for Louisville.

The 6-foot-7 forward was good at using his large frame to overpower smaller defenders. For someone his size, he showed adeptness at finishing around the basket.

On top of that, Nwora shows good timing and anticipation on defense. He never really gives up big plays and he has the size and skill to chase down blocks and challenge players at the rim.

Being a junior, his body is fairly mature and it showed in how he could attack defenses at the collegiate level. He could move players around and wedge himself into defenses.

But he is not particularly quick on that front. He is not going to blow by anybody and get all the way to the basket. He has to use his positioning and driving moves to get past others.

That lack of speed and burst is ultimately what has him struggling to get into the draft picture. The way he scores at the college level is based on brute force. And he is not enough of a physical specimen to get away with that in the NBA.

That lack of speed also holds him back defensively. He can size up players coming at him, but he is not going to keep speedier players in front of him. Nwora likely remains a change-of-pace small forward or more of a stretch-4.

His shooting ability is likely his saving grace. He is a really gifted shooter. Whether that gift extends to NBA range is another question, of course.

The Magic absolutely need shooting and so Nwora should be on their radar, especially in the second round. He fits a lot of things they like too if he can keep his strength coming off the bench.