It is starting to get hot in Florida.
And in Central Florida fans are starting to get a little impatient with the progression of these younger players.
A decade since trading Dwight Howard, and just two playoff appearances to speak of — and first round exits at that — everyone is getting itchy to see the team take the next steps. They want to talk about their team during this part of the year — the deep part of the Playoffs.
Unfortunately there is nothing to talk about but the heat (no pun intended) in Florida and the Draft. Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery will set the team’s future.
And while plenty of fans understand this is an early stage of the rebuild. There is still that decade of history this rebuild is resting on. Fans want to see progress sooner than later. Even heading into the 2023 season, those seats in the organization may get hot if the team does not improve after this upcoming season.
The Orlando Magic are still in rebuilding mode but they have to be mindful of progress as they look ahead to the 2023 season, regardless of what happens in the Draft.
Changes do not have to be drastic this coming offseason but the organization has to show improvement.
This is a team that sat at the bottom of the Eastern Conference for the majority of the year last season. This year, the team needs to show a clear sign of progress and a clear direction for a franchise.
That will be tough to do without a superstar. And that is what makes Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery so critical. Last year’s draft brought two interesting players in Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner, but the team still seemingly needs a star player to build itself around.
This is not necessarily considered a strong draft, even at the top. Unlike last year that featured potential franchise players — or next year’s draft that has a seemingly generational talent. But it is still a big moment to add someone of consequence to the team.
It will help set the Magic’s path to getting out from the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley has been very vocal about developing his young players within his system. This approach has allowed players like Wendell Carter to flourish and take small steps in becoming a key to what the organization is attempting to build.
And another building block will be selected on June 23.
The top prospects in the draft — Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Banchero — would all help the Magic take their next steps. And they could all take the Magic down different paths to building their team.
These three players have totally different body types and basketball styles. Most pundits believe that Holmgren is the best NBA prospect this year but admire Smith and his approach to the game. Banchero would also be a nice selection and judging by his performances this season he would give the Magic a nice scoring punch.
Who they ultimately pick is still left up to the chance of Tuesday’s Lottery.
While the Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons and the Orlando Magic share the same 14-percent lottery probability, the organization has work to do to find out who they will pick if the were to get any of the picks they might end up with.
The Magic have to be prepared for any of these possibilities — even landing sixth. They know the best player may not be the one taken first. And Orlando needs to trust its scouting to get the best player the team can. That is what helped the Magic land Wagner when many did not expect that pick.
Regardless of where the Magic pick, they need the best player they can get. The pick of this year’s draft will add to a core of young players on this roster. The Magic will soon have to consider fit.
It will still take time. But the Magic still want to see progress happen quickly. Orlando should not be at the bottom of the standings again in 2023.
How much better will the Magic be after this years draft?
The bigger question is how do the Magic get the most out of their draft picks and how can the organization develop the rest of the roster and make them play to their potential?
Questions like these will need to be answered if the Magic are going to make a significant step toward being a better basketball team.
There is only one way to go when you are the worst team in the East, hopefully this draft helps put more light at the end of the tunnel.