Orlando Magic Daily Mock Draft 2.0
The First Pick
I am very much on record for being in favor of Paolo Banchero for a number of reasons. I flipped him to number one on my Big Board on Lottery Day and I have been taking him No. 1 in every mock draft exercise I was doing pre-Lottery.
To me, Banchero’s individual scoring ability is still something this Magic team needs. It is an essential aspect of any winning team. And it is something the Magic still need to find.
There is still a long way to go, but I am torn between the scoring potential of Paolo Banchero and the overall versatility of Jabari Smith, Jr. Personally, I flip almost daily and sometimes more frequently between the two.
For everything there is though, I think the Magic and the rest of the NBA world is going to lean toward picking Smith. And this is also not the wrong pick.
The more you watch Smith, the clearer the reasons he makes sense as the pick.
At the end of the day, the Magic value positional versatility, defensive willingness and outside shooting. Smith is the best among the top prospects at all those things. He is a really skilled and able defender already and he is the best shooter among the top prospects — and really in a draft that is seemingly devoid of shooting.
Smith has all the skills the Magic need . . . except for that self-creation.
That is the biggest question surrounding Smith. But it is one he can overcome.
The reason we do not have this information is that Auburn did not run its offense through Smith. Instead, Smith had to rely on getting the ball from inefficient guards. He was reduced to a spot-up shooter. There were plenty of moments where he feasted on smaller guards in the post and set up his shot off the dribble.
There just was not enough of it to be sure about those.
At the very least, Smith is going to be a great 3-and-D wing. Of course, with the first pick, you want more. And the question Smith will have to answer in workouts and interviews is whether he can take that next step.
For now, the mix of his versatility, defensive ability and length, and scoring and shooting potential is enough to make him the prospect with the surest floor and the highest ceiling.
There is no convention in this pick. But there is a reason that perhaps Smith has come out as the betting favorite. He has been that way for a while now. For now, that is where I feel like the Magic are leaning and the pick that I would make under the gun.
Guess it is a good thing I am not making the decision. And that there is a lot of time left.