4 early options for Orlando Magic’s pick from the Chicago Bulls

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Isaiah Jackson, Kentucky Wildcats
Isaiah Jackson proved to be a solid big-man option for the Kentucky Wildcats. Mandatory Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

Isaiah Jackson, Kentucky

This draft is packed with good guards and wings. But given the current lack of depth at the power forward spot, it is possible the Orlando Magic might look to address that using the draft.

Capable of playing at the power forward or center spot, Isaiah Jackson is a big man who is far more agile than he should be at 6-foo-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan. He is a menace on the defensive end of the court, averaging 2.6 blocks per game in just 20.7 minutes per game at Kentucky (go and watch some of his highlight blocks on YouTube, you will not regret it).

The Magic have prioritized length and defense when it comes to drafting players previously, Jonathan Isaac and Mohamed Bamba both being taken sixth in 2017 and 2018 respectively, and Isaiah Jackson adds to that philosophy. His combination of size and speed could allow him to be a very impactful defender at the next level.

Offensively he has shown promise too. His physical advantages over many at his position allow him to get out on the fastbreak for easy buckets at the other end and he is often seen blowing by opposition players to get to the rim with a frighteningly quick first step.

But his offensive game still needs plenty of development. Most of his baskets came from simple layups and dunks or putback opportunities. He showed potential as a mid-range scorer with some nice shots this season but overall, his range is very limited. A 70 percent free-throw rate offers a cause for optimism, though.

There’s also room for his post-game to grow. At 19 and with lots left to improve on, Jackson should almost certainly be viewed as a long-term project rather than someone that can be depended upon straight away.

The question is whether the Magic really want to take on another experimental big man. Bamba’s up and down spell with the franchise has been well documented, and Jackson is another player that needs time and patience to grow and learn to be disciplined so he does not hurt the team.

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But if he can add some of the above to his game, he could well become a very valuable player that closely matches the identity Orlando is trying to build.