5 players to watch at the NBA Draft Combine
Christian Koloko, Arizona
The Orlando Magic have a few needs they have to consider as they get deeper into the Draft.
They need a star player still. That is what the team’s top pick is for. A lot of the directions the team will head will be determined by that pick.
But the matter of the Magic’s two second-round picks — or the potential to trade into the first round — cannot be just about adding more talent. That should remain a key goal with any pick the team makes.
Later in the draft, the team’s needs certainly get a bigger consideration than simply taking the top player on the board. And the Magic still have a lot of roster needs.
The Magic could use another wing player to bolster the depth behind some often-injured players. Orlando could also use a third center in case the team goes back to a two-big alignment or to cover for any injuries at center. The Magic are going to have to find a center somewhere to fill in those stray minutes.
One option expected to go in the late first and second round is center Christian Koloko.
Bennedict Mathurin got a lot of the attention at Arizona, and rightfully so. But Koloko was a big part of the team’s defensive game plan.
Koloko averaged 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game last year. He was Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year and its Most Improved Player of the Year.
That is the kind of improvement and leap teams like to see. They want to see players — especially players who stay in school a bit longer — improve.
Koloko is a pretty rudimentary offensive player. His main role would be as a defensive stopper and rim protector. Bigs who can defend a little on the perimeter and block shots are very valuable. That is a baseline of what Koloko would provide.
Getting a good measure of Koloko’s physical attributes and possibly even a look at how he plays in a NBA setting will be big for him starting to climb draft boards again.