Orlando Magic Daily Mock Draft 2.0
The Orlando Magic are in a really unique position. They have a player that should have some value as a veteran bench player in Terrence Ross who would provide an instant boost to a playoff team. They also have the Nos. 32 and 35 picks as an enticement to move up, especially for teams looking to create some cap room either immediately or for the summer of 2023.
Orlando has the ability to move around. Finding the right player to trade up for (and perhaps the right big contract to take on in exchange for Ross) is going to be a tricky thing.
These are a few players and a few teams the Magic could target. This is about the range the Magic could look to trade up to:
Jalen Williams was one of the big risers at the NBA Draft Combine. It is not just his wingspan that turned heads. He has a nice, complete game that can get his way into the lane and finish around the basket. He had good showings against Gonzaga too, making it seem like he can get to the next level.
Williams had a breakout year last year, averaging 18.0 points per game and 4.2 assists per game while shooting 51.3-percent from the field and 39.6-percent from beyond the arc.
Those are all the ingredients for a solid guard on the perimeter. Especially coming off the bench. And the kind of player you trade up and for and invest in.
Terquavion Smith is one of the more intriguing scorers in this draft class. He averaged 16.3 points per game while shooting 36.9-percent from deep and 39.8-percent from the floor overall.
Smith has good size and can get into the lane, but his efficiency will be a huge question moving forward. And the Combine did not help — he played one game, scoring an inefficient 17 points and then sat out the remaining games.
Smith has the size the NBA likes. The question is how he puts all those skills together and finds his role.
E.J. Liddell was a two-time All-Big Ten player and a Big Ten Defensive team player. That is music to a Denver Nuggets team that is still chasing size and consistent defense, especially as some of their guards return from injury. Without many guards to chase, grabbing a good wing defender like Liddell will help.
Christian Braun is starting to make his way around the workout circuit and is starting to make some noise. He was a solid shooter for the national champion Jayhawks, but his defense really stood out at Kansas. And that will make him a great fit for a contending team.
Kennedy Chandler is a quick scoring guard with some good athleticism and explosion to finish at the rim and some growing playmaking chops. He can shoot a little bit too which should increase his value. The Brooklyn Nets probably have a lot more pressure to hit on this pick and get some cheap players in especially with Kyrie Irving’s uncertain future.
The biggest need for the Orlando Magic this offseason (or immediate if not biggest) is to find a backup center. So there should be some attention put to Auburn center Walker Kessler.
Outside of Chet Holmgren, no one was as impressive as a shot blocker in the college ranks than Walker Kessler. He averaged 11.4 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game with 4.6 blocks per game. He was a monster on the interior gulping up rebounds and tracking down boards.
Kessler is very limited offensively. He is not a great shooter and will have to be satisfied with clean up duty. But that rim protection is hard to find.
Nikola Jovic is one of the more intriguing prospects in this draft class. Figuring out what to do with him and whether he is someone to invest in will be a challenge. But he is definitely one of my players to keep an eye on.
Jovic is a 6-foot-10 forward who has good shooting form and good playmaking instincts. He can attack off the dribble well and beat up smaller defenders. This is what the modern forward looks like.
Jovic just plays zero defense. And his translation to the NBA is still a question. But the natural talent and ability are all there for him to grow and develop from.
Keep an eye too on Jake LaRavia. He measured well at the NBA Draft Combine and he is a player who will find a way to stick in the league. He is someone that I think teams will clamor for if he becomes available or creates some demand.
LaRavia averaged 14.6 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game after transferring to Wake Forest. He was an all-Missouri Valley Conference player at Indiana State before becoming all-ACC at Wake Forest.
But what always stands out about his play is his hustle. The dude gets after it and plays hard. He defends well. And while there are still a lot of parts of his game to round out, he seems like a player who can make an impact.