5 best NBA Draft fits for the Orlando Magic

Arkansas guard Moses Moody is an impressive prospect who feels like a perfect fit. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Arkansas guard Moses Moody is an impressive prospect who feels like a perfect fit. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Scottie Barnes, Florida State Seminoles, Colorado Buffaloes
Florida State forward Scottie Barnes’ unique ability as a ball-handling forward makes him one of the top prospects in this Draft class. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports /

Orlando Magic Draft Fits: The Unicorns

Scottie Barnes, Florida State

What the Orlando Magic have often sought with their draft picks is versatility. And while some of that search for versatility has resulted in some negligence when it comes to hunting for skills, it still has value. Especially when a team is looking for a sort of foundational star.

Yes, everyone is looking for their “unicorn.”

The “unicorn” term has been overused at this point. It seemingly best describes a center who playes like a guard — Kristaps Porzingis made it famous but Nikola Jokic seems to be the ideal for the term now. But that does not quite get there. Ben Simmons, or what he was supposed to be, is something of a unicorn as a 6-foot-10 point guard.

And there are some of those in this draft.

If the Magic are trying to make a splash, they need to find someone with unique skills. And if that unique skill gives them an advantage, they should press it.

Whether it is draft narrative fatigue or something else, Scottie Barnes has started to get some push to creep into the top-5 and beyond. His solid testing at the NBA Draft Combine might have a little to do with that too.

Everyone needs some buzz to keep writing and nobody likes a static story.

But Barnes is worthy of some buzz. He is a true point forward (more in the Paul Pressey vein than the Ben Simmons vein).

Barnes averaged 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game last year. Everyone who watches Florida State knows that team is deep, disciplined and egalitarian. It is hard for any one player to shine statistically.

But the 6-foot-9 forward stood out because he literally played point guard. That included defending opposing point guards in the ACC. That defensive versatility has to get some notice and has to be a part of the conversation when it comes to him.

Barnes still has to improve as a shooter and playing off the ball. And the Magic certainly would have an odd fit if they took him — or Jonathan Kuminga, for that matter — with Jonathan Isaac and Chuma Okeke already in place. But Barnes could slide easily next to either of them because of his defensive versatility.

The talent is hard to deny.

Other Options

Josh Giddey, Adelaide 36ers: Josh Giddey followed in LaMelo Ball’s footsteps and led the NBL last year in assists as an oversized guard — except Giddey is 6-foot-8. Josh Giddey would be the biggest swing in the draft because he could either be what Ben Simmons was supposed to be or a discount Ben Simmons.

Jalen Johnson, Duke: Jalen Johnson had a strange year with Duke, ultimately withdrawing from the school because of a persistent injury. But it is hard to deny his athleticism and scoring ability when he was on the floor.

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Evan Mobley, USC: Evan Mobley is not a true unicorn in that he is very clearly a center. But his defensive versatility fits the modern game well from the center position.