5 players for the Orlando Magic to watch at the NBA Draft Combine

Kentucky's Shaedon Sharpe warms up Jan. 25, 2022.Syndication The Courier Journal
Kentucky's Shaedon Sharpe warms up Jan. 25, 2022.Syndication The Courier Journal /
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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.