Orlando Magic NBA Draft Lottery: How I stopped worrying and learned to love my Draft position

The Orlando Magic await their fate at the NBA Draft Lottery. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
The Orlando Magic await their fate at the NBA Draft Lottery. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /

The NBA Draft Lottery is simultaneously the most exciting and most stress-inducing time period for organizations and their passionate fan bases.

The 14 ping pong balls used to select the winner tonight are a manifestation of a year of organizational futility. Yet on this night, this failure has a chance to be vindicated in the prize of a pristine generational talent for a lucky franchise (hopefully) to pin their hopes on for the next decade.

Every single franchise and their fans are yearning for a fortuitous stroke of luck tonight. The consensus line of thought being that a first overall selection is the key for floundering franchises to propel themselves above the chasms of dysfunction into the ranks of the NBA’s elite.

The Orlando Magic, in particular, are in the midst of their own draft lottery daydreams. With two picks projected in the top 8 and tied the best odds for the top overall pick, it is not surprising to already have the image of Cade Cunningham racing down the court in pinstripes at a capacity crowd in Amway Center during the closing moments of a high-intensity playoff game.

It all seems within reach.

The NBA Draft brings the hope of salvation for every franchise. But there is always opportunity for teams like the Orlando Magic no matter what happens.

But before we begin making our photoshopped pictures of Cunningham in a retro Magic jersey our Twitter profile pictures, let’s broaden our horizons a bit.

For some fans of every struggling franchise, the goal in the Draft Lottery is to secure the highest possible draft pick possible. For some organizations like the Process Philadelphia 76ers, the entire roster was constructed to maximize draft positioning in order to secure a franchise “savior,” or multiple high picks before moving forward.

Those 76ers, ironically, now sit on the same couch the Magic and other eliminated playoff teams are sitting on wondering if the crown jewel of the Process, Ben Simmons, can even be a starting option on a contending team.

Simmons was himself touted as a franchise savior merely a few years ago. Comparisons to LeBron James populated the NBA hot take machine that have been excavated as satire in the past 48 hours.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

The greatest irony of this season, in general, is that in a league fueled by franchise saviors, the majority of the superstars left standing were selected with later lottery picks.

The main stars of this Conference Finals are Giannis Antetokounmpo (selected 15th), Paul George (selected 10th) and Devin Booker (selected 11th). This is a testament to the power of scouting and player development. And perhaps the patience to let young players grow and develop.

The NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year and MVP were both selected in the latter half of the first round and into the middle of the second round. The reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat were headlined by a late first-round selection and had at least two undrafted guards who contributed significant offensive production in the playoffs.

The draft is an inexact science and for every “Franchise Savior” who is proclaimed, there are just as many draft busts and flops taken in the coveted draft positions.

So tonight, Magic Fans, enjoy the spectacle of the draft lottery.

This next month will be populated with mock drafts and player comparisons that would make even the most grizzled NBA scout blush. But remember that drafting a player is only a piece of a larger puzzle.

If the ping pong balls roll the Magic’s way and they have the opportunity to draft with the first overall pick, fantastic!

Jeff Weltman and his staff will have the world at their fingertips to define the roster as they see fit.

With that in mind, understand that even if the Magic do not get the best picks from this lottery, this is not an omen the team is fated for more mediocrity.

Trust in the player development and scouting, trust in a player who has the right work ethic and intangibles will be selected to help establish a culture that can allow for players to develop at their full potential.

Next. 2021 Evaluations: Jeff Weltman pushed his chips in. dark

Stop worrying about the draft position and focus on the environment that prospects will come to.