Eyeing for trades
Tyrese Haliburton G
I will move Tyrese Haliburton up a few spots in this big board as it is becoming clear the Orlando Magic have a very big need at point guard and this draft is chock full of guards who could help the team, playing alongside or backing up Markelle Fultz. The Magic very well could come out of this Draft with their replacement for D.J. Augustin.
So I think the place to start is with Haliburton. I have him as the top guard in this draft because of his balance of driving and shooting. He was a 41.9-percent shooter from deep in averaging 15.2 points per game. He dished out 6.2 assists per game.
What is impressive about Haliburton is how he uses his speed well and controls the pace of the game. His ability to shoot — despite some concerns about a slow release and gather — separates himself from the pack. If barely.
Killian Hayes PG
I have Tyrese Haliburton edging out Killian Hayes by a hair. I think both Hayes and Haliburton would provide the Orlando Magic with skills they absolutely need at the point guard position.
Hayes is probably a more dynamic and skilled driver. He has good athleticism to get to the basket and finish when he gets there. Hayes has the size the Magic like as a 6-foot-8 point guard. He will attack the basket. He is still just very raw. So Haliburton’s overall development gives him an edge in my book.
James Wiseman C
James Wiseman is probably still the top big man in the Draft. He is a big low-post force who plays a more traditional back to the basket game and a strong pick-and-roll game. He is a great athlete for a big man. That was evident even in the short time he played at Memphis before he was deemed ineligible.
Wiseman though is slipping in my mind. The next center on this list, Onyeka Okongwu, does a lot more things modern NBA centers need to do. Wiseman still has a lot of development and awareness to go defensively. this just is not a league for centers with a little bit of versatility and guard skill. At least not to build around.
Deni Avdija G/F
Every year around the Draft, I try to tell myself to focus on what draft prospects can do instead of what they cannot do. It is easy to fall into the trap of doubting players with clear skills because they do not fit exactly what you think the team needs. It is easy to forget these are incomplete pictures — really they are just starting.
I will admit that perhaps I have done this with a few prospects — and most of all, Deni Avdija. I have often described Avdija as someone who is good at a lot of things but not elite at any of them. So I do not know if the Magic should trade up to get him.
But he is a really capable player who will fill in gaps and help whatever team drafts him. He is a great passer for a player of his size and experience. And he is a capable offensive player, even if he is not destined to be a dominant scorer.
Onyeka Okongwu C
Onyeka Okongwu could quietly be the biggest riser at the top of this draft. His skill set is exactly what a lot of teams look for in centers. Or at least centers who cannot shoot.
Okongwu is a classic rim protector and rebounder, averaging 8.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. Despite being listed at 6-foot-9, Okongwu knows how to position himself defensively and make an impact on that side of the ball.
He does not have a lot of offensive skills besides simple moves and putbacks. But that may not be what teams need that draft him. He would slide into any of the contending teams at the top of the Draft and is a real option much higher than his draft position might suggest.