The Orlando Magic’s season has gone off the rails fairly quickly.
Injuries have turned a season of hope and potential into one where so many parts of the franchise are under question. and the entire project seems to be in jeopardy.
The Magic were at a point where they likely needed to make some transition. But they were hoping to do so from ahead, looking to build rather than from behind trying to reset.
Any time a team falls this hard, no matter the reason, the team has to reassess what it is doing and find a way to move forward again. That is not always the easiest thing to do.
The Magic likely feel they are still in a good position. The fall this year came because of an inordinate number of injuries. When fully healthy, they likely feel they have enough to make the playoffs and start pushing up the standings.
Bringing back a player of Nikola Vucevic’s caliber alongside the returns of Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz is certainly a promising beginning. Adding in the potential of a top pick is certainly enticing to that group. It might well be the thing that ties the whole project together.
The Orlando Magic are likely to have a top pick in the upcoming draft. So it is our turn to begin sorting out the players the Magic will be looking at come draft time.
The Magic currently hold the fourth-worst record in the league. They will play one of the hardest schedules by almost any statistical analysis in the second half of the season. Even with the impending returns of Cole Anthony and Aaron Gordon from injury — although it is not clear when either will return — it is hard to imagine the Magic climbing too far.
It is true, the Magic are still just 3.5 games out of the final play-in spot. The play-in tournament has had its intended effect and kept teams struggling at the bottom of the standings from being completely out of it. The team is right to push for wins still and try to make their run.
But very clearly, the team has lost an opportunity. Before the season began, everyone knew the Magic’s season would likely be cast by this midpoint of the year.
So here we are.
The college basketball season is rounding toward the conference tournaments and a unique NCAA Tournament after — the whole tournament will be played out at several sites in and around Indianapolis. And the G-League season is heading toward its postseason in the Gubble at Disney.
It is time to start examining the draft prospects with some level of seriousness. At least to introduce them to those who have yet to catch up on them.
What follows is our big board. A ranking of prospects taking into account the Magic’s needs first and foremost. It should be a good place to get things started as the draft becomes more of a reality and a bigger part of the Magic’s immediate and long-term future.