We are one week away from the NBA Draft. Now that we have studied the prospects more, let’s reset the Orlando Magic’s big board and who they are looking at.
For the longest time, the NBA’s 2021 season felt illusory. It was a mirage. Something far off in the distance that would never actually arrive. It was hypothetical.
Now it is real.
The Draft is Nov. 18. Free agency begins Nov. 20. Training camp opens Dec. 1. And the season begins Dec. 22.
The calendar is laid out in front of the Magic and the rest of the league. The 2021 season is on the horizon.
Now it feels like a complete sprint. The unending void of this offseason has given way to the inevitability that the season will begin. And the fact there is not a lot of time to prepare for it.
It is probably best to take everything in turn — even with free agency happening so soon after the Draft and hanging like a specter over everything else. And so we start with the Draft.
Nearly a month ago, we put out our Orlando Magic-specific big board to try to get a sense of who the Orlando Magic are looking at or what the Magic should be looking for in this Draft. We will reserve a final mock draft for next week right before the Draft takes place.
It feels like now is a good time to reassess what the Magic should value and what they should be looking for when it comes to this draft. It is time again to put out a rank ordering of the prospects the Magic should be looking at seriously.
This list is not a prediction of the Draft order. This is not a prediction of which teams will pick who. This is an evaluation of players based on who the Magic would pick. It is meant to be an evaluation of if these players were left on the board when the Magic pick, this is who the team would take if they were taking best player available.
Need is considered here, but only lightly. Essentially a better, more talented player will rise above the team’s need or lack of need. But at the end of the day, the Magic are more likely to take the best player available rather than focus solely on need.
Whereas our first big board looked at the pros and cons of each player, this big board will focus on the level of interest the Magic would really have on the player and a bit more on his fit with the team.
The Magic are in a position where they have to consider everybody. Even if it is not a player who necessarily makes sense with the current roster. After all, the Magic are still in need of top-end talent, wherever they can find it.
They need to be prepared for all levels of this draft.
The top of the Draft
LaMelo Ball G
My position on LaMelo Ball has not changed. He is probably the most talented and most dynamic offensive player in the Draft. He was a solid scorer at the professional level already and has a great dynamic scoring ability.
But the question facing the Orlando Magic is whether they would be willing to pay the cost to get there. To me, that answer remains no, even if I have Ball as the top player on my board. Ball’s likelihood of becoming a star is greater than any player in this Draft. But he could easily bust too. This is not a guy to build around.
The fact he is at the top of the Draft has left a lot of questions for teams at the top trying to trade down and teams trying to trade up.
Anthony Edwards G/F
Anthony Edwards faces many of the same problems as LaMelo Ball does. Edwards is a dynamic scorer and a great athlete. Edwards, probably more than Ball, can be a great scorer and primary option.
But he is probably not someone I would bank my franchise on. He is a poor 3-point shooter (poorer than Ball, who is at least a bit closer to average) and not a great or engaged defender. Maybe that was because he had to carry the entire load for Georgia last year. But Edwards is also not a player to build a roster around, despite his immense talent.