This is getting to be crunch time for the NBA Draft.
With one week to go, workouts around the league are finishing up and trade discussions that were cursory at one point will start to get serious. The Orlando Magic are already pretty deep into their draft process and are getting ready to put a bow on what they will do with the fifth and eighth picks.
It could be a chaotic evening for the Magic. Falling out of the top four put the Magic in a bit of a bind debating between sticking with the conventional wisdom of taking a player like Jonathan Kuminga with higher upside or sticking with a cultural fit like Scottie Barnes.
The team certainly wants to start its rebuild with the most talent it can find. And that could lead to plenty of moving going on.
The Orlando Magic have been busy with their draft preparations and are expecting a busy final week before a big day on NBA Draft night.
Magic assistant general manager Matt Lloyd said on the latest episode of Orlando Magic Pod Squad he is seeing the conditions that could lead to an active trade night.
That does not necessarily clue into the Magic’s thinking. Lloyd said the drop-off and relatively equal talent after that first group would suggest teams might be willing to move around depending on who they are or are not enamored with.
"“I have a feeling there is an impending storm coming,” Lloyd said on the podcast. “There wasn’t much time for the scouting foot soldiers across the league to establish a consensus. What that means is teams this year it’s going to be very interesting what they value and weigh different prospects differently than they have in the past.“I think it’s going to be very difficult this year to peg who is going where. The Combine is always t time where teams like to say this team likes so and so. There are legitimate real intel and there’s gossip chatter and gobbledygook that means nothing.”"
Lloyd further noted so few teams control a lot of picks in the Draft that there could be a lot of movement. And the Magic are one of those teams.
Discerning information at this point of the year is really difficult. Especially, as Lloyd noted, without those massive gathering moments like the NBA Draft Combine to get a sense of what other teams are thinking. Lloyd is right to say that most teams are hunting around in the dark and relying on their own lines of communication with other teams.
There are plenty of reports and rumors coming out in the last few days that seem to point in one direction or another. Whether they are true or not is certainly up to the reader to decide and many of them are couched pretty vaguely to believe they have much legs behind them.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic have both made overtures to move up to the No. 3 pick with the Cleveland Cavaliers. That has long been a target for the Magic if they tried to move up.
Sam Vecenie of The Athletic reports the Magic are believed to be interested too in Turkey center Alperen Sengun as a potential Nikola Vucevic replacement. Sengun reportedly worked out for the Magic on Wednesday (at least according to his social media posts) and the Magic were one of the few teams to get Sengun into their building.
The general consensus across the major mock drafts follows the reporting that many believe the Magic have Scottie Barnes near the top of their list if they cannot move up. Most mock drafts are slotting Barnes to Orlando at No. 5.
But, of course, this is the season of misinformation. And the Magic are notorious for being tight-lipped. Nothing leaks from their camp. So any little bit of information coming directly from the Magic is extremely valuable.
Lloyd laid out a bit of the team’s timeline for the final week before the draft. The team hoped to have all their workouts concluded before Thursday but have one more workout scheduled for Friday. Lloyd noted they had a workout scheduled for Wednesday — which was confirmed to be Sengun.
The team made Corey Kispert, Scottie Barnes and Jonathan Kuminga available when they cycled through Orlando. And the team reportedly had additional workouts in Orlando with Moses Moody and James Bouknight.
Lloyd said once the workouts are completed, the group will come together to consolidate their staff’s big boards and create final tiers and discussions for where the team would go. This weekend is also likely when trade discussions get more serious and the team begins planning out how those will play.
Lloyd concluded that he felt his team was in a good place entering the final week of the draft. They certainly trust their preparation and process to bring in a strong player. And he noted that Jamahl Mosley’s addition as head coach will help young players improve — also confirming on the podcast that Nate Tibbetts has started already as one of Jamahl Mosley’s assistant coaches.
But a lot can change in the final week of the draft. And as Lloyd said, there could be trade winds blowing.