2022 NBA Draft Preview: Early thoughts on Orlando Magic’s Lottery win

Jamahl Mosley and the Orlando Magic have the number one pick. Nobody knows yet what they will do with it. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Jamahl Mosley and the Orlando Magic have the number one pick. Nobody knows yet what they will do with it. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

Has everyone come down from the excitement of Tuesday night yet?

No one would blame Orlando Magic fans for not still being over the moon about the team’s sudden turn of fortune to win the NBA Draft Lottery and get the first pick in the Draft.

The Orlando Magic’s coaching staff and front office are all in Chicago for the NBA Draft Combine and are certainly getting out to work on looking through this draft — the team also has the Nos. 32 and 35 pick to worry about too.

There is a lot of work to do. And at the top of the list is to begin finishing the process of reviewing the top prospects — whether it is limited to the consensus top three of Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren or whether that might also expand to include Shaedon Sharpe and Jaden Ivey or possibly even more.

The Orlando Magic are still basking in having the No. 1 pick in the Draft. Now comes the hard part of actually sorting through the information and figuring out who they will select.

The team will be spending this week getting some initial introductions with the top players through the Combine’s interview process and, certainly, there will be a lot of discussions with agents to arrange individual workouts and in-person interviews in Orlando at the Amway Center and the yet-to-be-opened Advent Health Practice Facility.

This is the biggest part of the work now is finding out who these players are. That is the next step in the Magic’s process, as Magic general manager John Hammond related on In The Zone on Wednesday:

"“This is kind of like the dating process,” Hammond said on In The Zone on Wednesday. “You don’t know who that person is until you actually live with them. That’s when you make the full commitment. That’s what we are going to have to do. We are going to have to get to know them the best we can and then you live with them and find out exactly who they are. Going into that, you try to find out anything you possibly you can like any relationship.”"

There is a lot of work still to do for the next month. And this week will help set a lot of that up. The Magic do not have to make a decision today. There is a lot of information to gather and a person to get to know in the meantime.

Certainly, the prestige of holding the first pick will open every possible door for the Magic as they explore who they ultimately want to take.

No one would blame fans for keeping from all of that and taking the rest of the week to celebrate the opportunity that is now ahead of the Magic.

Of course, now the attention is heading toward who the Magic will pick. There is a consensus three that is emerging. But Magic fans certainly have not picked their camp. Everyone seems to have a favorite. And that favorite probably changes hourly for this team.

Jim Rome had Jamahl Mosley on the Jim Rome Show on Wednesday and noted the length and defensive attitude of this Magic team already. Mosley said versatility is something the team prizes and that is something they like about the top of this draft:

"“Length is throughout the NBA,” Mosley said on The Jim Rome Show. “You look at teams that have done it and played that way because there is so much versatility. I think with this class, there is so much versatility with each one of these guys. You talk about having a competitive edge, you talk about versatility, you talk about maybe length. But then there is that other side of basketball IQ. I don’t think you can put enough playmakers on the court.”"

It is really easy to make a case for any of these three players. It is easy to see how all three of these top players fit everything this Magic front office has valued in previous drafts.

Certainly, the Magic are going to hold things very close to the chest.

If there is one thing Magic fans know about this front office is that they do not leak anything. With so much division and uncertainty at the top of the draft, it is very likely that no one has any clue what the Magic will do at No. 1 until Adam Silver is walking to the podium — or until the cameras get in place to capture the pick’s reaction in the green room.

The rest of the NBA world is going to be held in suspense while the Magic deliberate and make their pick.

It is no surprise then that the early mock drafts seem to be all over the place with who the Magic are taking.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN has the Magic taking Auburn’s Jabari Smith, citing his shooting as something the Magic desperately need. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic also mocks Smith to the Magic as his top-rated player in the draft. Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated also has the Magic taking Smith, citing executives who believe Smith is the best player in the draft and all the plus-attributes he brings to the table like his versatility, length and shooting.

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports has the Magic taking Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, noting that Holmgren is a unique talent that would give the team something special to build around. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer also has the Magic selecting Holmgren because of the front office’s fascination with length.

Ian Levy of The Step Back has the Magic taking Duke’s Paolo Banchero with the top pick, because of his ability to be a primary offensive creator.

That is where I have personally landed as I have done mock draft exercises. But do not pin me down, I do not think I would be ready to make a decision today unless I had to.

It is easy to see how split everything is on what the Magic should do with this year’s draft. It is going to make for an interesting month as the days count down to draft day and who the Magic ultimately will take with the first overall selection.

For now, that intrigue is fine. Nobody has to make a choice today. Orlando has the time to go through its draft process and break down all the data, tape and interviews it needs to make a decision on June 23.

Next. Franz Wagner named to All-Rookie First Team. dark

For this team, it is just good to have that choice and the opportunity it presents. That is the part fans will continue to celebrate.