2022 Orlando Magic NBA Draft Preview: Here are the longest wingspans at the Combine

Duke University center Mark Williams (15) blocks the shot of Michigan State University guard A.J. Hoggard (11) during the second half of the NCAA Div. 1 Men's Basketball Tournament preliminary round game at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. Sunday, March 20, 2022.Ncaa Men S Basketball Second Round Duke Vs Michigan State
Duke University center Mark Williams (15) blocks the shot of Michigan State University guard A.J. Hoggard (11) during the second half of the NCAA Div. 1 Men's Basketball Tournament preliminary round game at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C. Sunday, March 20, 2022.Ncaa Men S Basketball Second Round Duke Vs Michigan State /

In case anyone does not know, the Orlando Magic’s front office is certainly in on at least one of everyone’s draft jokes.

Back at the 2018 NBA Draft, after president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman drafted Mo Bamba, with his 7-foot-10 wingspan, and Melvin Frazier and Justin Jackson, who both measured with the longest wingspan among their position, he came down to meet with the media to recap his draft class.

In an off-hand comment before the formal press conference started, Weltman quipped, “Long night, long players.”

Yes, they are aware of the joke.

And inevitably you have read in some mock draft somewhere from some draft expert trying to figure out what the Magic are going to do, you will hear some comment about the team’s obsession with length since Weltman took over.

The Orlando Magic have a long history of valuing wingspan as they make their draft decisions. With the NBA Draft Combine wrapping up, we have the measurements to predict the Magic’s next pick.

His draft history is full of guys with positive wingspan-to-height ratios going from Jonathan Isaac to Mo Bamba to Wesley Iwundu to Melvin Frazier to Chuma Okeke. Inevitably, length is something that comes up as critical to what the Magic are building. Even coach Jamahl Mosley mentioned it in his initial reaction to the draft earlier this week.

It is hard not to watch the playoffs and the teams remaining and not spot length and versatility as key aspects of successful defenses. Teams are switching more than ever before. They do a good job of having their bigs do more than just deter on pick and rolls. They lock down wings.

The three players expected to go at the top of the NBA Draft — Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren — all possess tremendous length and versatility. They fit everything the Magic have historically liked.

There is still plenty of time to debate the top picks and figure out which one the team will take. There is a lot to sort through.

But there is also the matter of the Magic’s second-round picks — Nos. 32 and 35 — and the potential to trade back into the first round if the Magic choose.

Orlando has a history of just going through the list of players with the longest wingspans and picking from them. Especially when it comes to second-round picks.

The draft cannot just be about the guy at the top. The team will have a chance to add a few other players.

With the NBA Draft Combine wrapping up in Chicago, we now have official measurements for many of the draft prospects. And that allows us to go through the list of wingspans and use that as a guide for the Magic’s draft prospects.

If only it were that simple. None of the top three prospects got their official measurements at the Combine this week. So this will be limited to targets for the Magic’s later picks.

Mark Williams, Duke

Wingspan/Height: 7-foot-6.5/7-foot-2
Standing Reach: 9-foot-9

Mark Williams made the biggest impact with his measurement and may have successfully solidified his spot in the first round because of it.

Williams averaged 11.2 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game this season for Duke. He averaged 12.7 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game and 2.7 blocks per game for the Blue Devils in ACC play.

Williams is a major presence in the paint. He does well to take up space and protect the rim. Even though he is not a great offensive player, he is a big guy to have around in the paint.

Williams is a stalwart defender. That is what he would provide for this team — 2.0 defensive win shares and a 4.8 defensive box plus-minus.

The Magic need a backup center — especially with reports that Mo Bamba seems likely to leave the team in free agency. The draft could be an area where the team hunts for one.

Williams would certainly fit that bill. He has already shown he can play with other bigs too. He was the perfect screen setter and table-setter for his team. The perfect kind of player to be a backup center and spot starter.

Keep an eye out too for Arizona center Christian Koloko. The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year is a great shot blocker and came in with the second-longest wingspan at the Combine at 7-foot-5.25 with a height of 7-feet and a standing reach of 9-foot-5.

Jalen Williams, Santa Clara

Wingspan/Height: 7-foot-2.25/6-foot-5.75
Standing Reach: 8-foot-9.5

The guard with the biggest wingspan in this year’s Combine class? He is actually a guy who could go in the first round.

This will not be like taking Melvin Frazier or Justin Jackson, raw prospects who were still developing their skills and traded solely on their physical gifts.

Williams averaged 18.0 points per game in his final year for Santa Clara, adding improved passing with 4.2 assists per game and 51.3-percent shooting, including 39.6-percent from beyond the arc.

He made a sizable leap leading into his junior year too as his role expanded. The shooting jump is especially notable.

Williams was a good free-throw shooter throughout his career, topping out at 80.9-percent from the line. That all suggests that he can at least translate some of his breakthrough junior year into the league.

This is a guard with incredible physical gifts. But he also has a lot of talent and skills to build on too.

On top of that, Williams scored 17 points (albeit on 6-for-16 shooting) and 15 points, six rebounds and six assists in two matchups with Gonzaga. He had his moments going after a great defensive team with Chet Holmgren and Drew Timme.

His shooting efficiency in some of those big matches certainly could use some improvement. But that is not what anyone will ask of him in the NBA. And his length and wingspan will put him on a lot of teams’ radars ahead of the draft.

Patrick Baldwin Jr., UW-Milwaukee

Wingspan/Height: 7-foot-1.75/6-foot-10.25
Standing Reach: 9-foot-2.5

It is hard to quit the potential of Patrick Baldwin Jr.

The UW-Milwaukee forward entered the year as the No. 5 prospect in the country. He was expected to be a Lottery pick at least. But this is why they play the games.

Baldwin struggled in his lone season at UW-Milwaukee. He has since entered the transfer portal. Every option is open as he gets some feedback from the NBA Draft process too.

Baldwin averaged 12.1 points per game and shot 34.4-percent from the floor. It was not good as he never got his footing or found his place with the team. Even in conference play, Baldwin struggled, averaging 10.8 points per game and 38.0-percent shooting.

Injuries hurt him later in the season too.

So what does that all mean?

Baldwin is still a super talented player. And his performance at the Combine will go a long way to keeping him on the radar.

Measuring as well as he did helps too. He has the physical tools to be a good player. So the task is proving that he still has the talent to match it.

Baldwin did not participate in all the shooting drills at the Combine, but he performed better in the ones he did. But it is a big hurdle to overcome for the once-promising forward.

Other players to watch in his category are Rutgers forward Ron Harper Jr. who measured with a 7-foot-1.25 wingspan and 6-foot-5.5 height (with shoes). Harper was a promising scorer for the Scarlett Knights with a penchant for hitting big shots. He had a breakout 3-point shooting season this year at 39.8-percent, which is the area he has to grow most.

Next. Orlando Magic get the chance to make their own destiny. dark

Also keep an eye out for G-League Ignite guard MarJon Beauchamp, who measured at 7-foot-0.75 wingspan with a 6-foot-6.5 height.