Orlando Magic 2022 NBA Draft Preview: Second Round picks that could be steals

Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard was a solid leader who helped elevate Gonzaga to a national championship contender. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard was a solid leader who helped elevate Gonzaga to a national championship contender. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Orlando Magic having the first pick in this year’s NBA draft, everyone is excited to see which young talent they may bring in.

Who they draft will be a key component to their success moving forward. But one player can not save a whole team. Especially a team that finished last in the Eastern Conference.

They need to round out the whole roster if they want to go back to being a playoff contender. And they will have multiple tools to do so.

Orlando has a good young roster — the team is eager to continue developing second-year players Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner and young veterans like Markelle Fultz, Wendell Carter and Jonathan Isaac are all still with the team.

The Orlando Magic will be looking to add to their roster and take the next step in the NBA Draft. With two second-round picks, the Magic will have every chance to keep building through the draft.

The Magic are not done there. With the Nos. 32 and 35 picks in this year’s draft they could potentially bring in some solid players to make an impact without having to spend big money like they would in free agency.

Orlando has made it clear the team wants to make sure there is a pathway for all of the team’s young players to play. The Magic have a history of moving their second-round picks with little in return. It is not even clear the Magic will use these picks.

But they have their options. And they will be looking to continue adding to the roster.

Here are five prospects the Magic should look at in the second round of this year’s draft.

Andrew Nembhard, Gonzaga

The Orlando Magic seem pretty set at point guard. Markelle Fultz had a strong finish to the season and they have Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs capable of handling the ball. But the team still needs some depth at the position.

A solid backup point guard would be a great pick up in the draft. And that is where a veteran guard like Andrew Nembhard comes in.

In his collegiate career, he made an Elite Eight and even made a National Championship Game appearance. Whether it was at Florida or at Gonzaga, he knows about a winning culture.

Nembhard averaged 11.8 points per game, 5.8 assists and 1.6 steals on shooting splits of 45.2/38.3/87.3 in his last season at Gonzaga. He is also a senior which means he is more mature and could make an impact right away out of the draft, especially coming from a top program like Gonzaga.

A pick-up like this could definitely solidify a solid and consistent backup point guard which the Magic have lacked. He is a great scorer with fantastic ball handling and passing abilities, which could help the Magic who were second to last in points per game last season.

Nembhard is 6-foot-5 as well and big guards are heavily favored in today’s game. He also came off the bench his junior year behind current Magic guard Jalen Suggs, where he won West Coast Conference Sixth Man of the Year. So, he is used to being effective in a  bench role.

He put up 26 points and 11 assists in one of the Combine scrimmages showing that he can run in NBA-style games.

Kennedy Chandler, Tennesseee

Another guard they should look at to fill those backup point guard minutes is Tennesse guard Kennedy Chandler.

The freshman from Tennessee was a star his first and only year of collegiate basketball. He averaged 13.9 points, 4.7 assists, and 2.2 steals, which led Tennessee to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

He was a very efficient shooter at 46.4-percent form the floor and 38.3-percent from beyond the arc. He just needs work on his free throw percentage — 60.6-percent — which is very fixable.

He is a quick explosive point guard with great playmaking ability and amazing touch around the rim that can run the floor and an NBA-level offense. He also is a great three-point shooter, meaning he can space the floor which is something current backup point guard Markelle Fultz can not give the Orlando Magic.

Although he does not have as much experience as Andrew Nembhard, he is younger with a higher ceiling and more room to grow. Another late-round steal that could impact the Magic in coming years.

Walker Kessler, Auburn

Aside from point guard, the Orlando Magic may also look to draft a backup center. Mo Bamba, Bol Bol and Robin Lopez are all entering free agency. Bamba will probably want a good amount of money, Bol is very injury-prone and unproven and Lopez is 34 which may not fit with Orlando’s young core.

The first center should look at is Walker Kessler from Auburn.

Kessler is a 7-foot-1 sophomore center who averaged 11.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game on 60.8-percent from the field. He is a two-way player who is a force inside on both sides of the floor.

Defensively he is terrific at contesting shots and he is an elite shot blocker which would help him take Bamba’s role if they decide to not re-sign him. He is also a good rebounder on both sides of the ball which can help any team.

All that defensive skill earned him the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Offensively he is a great finisher who can run the floor well despite his lack of speed.

His main downsides are his shooting and his impact in fast-paced games as shown in the tournament game against Miami where he struggled. But at 20 years old there is a lot of room to adjust. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, he even had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 9 blocks showing that he can do it all.

Bryce McGowens, Nebraska

The Orlando Magic also need some improved wing play. Johnathan Isaac has a cruel injury past and Terrence Ross is only getting older and has made it clear he would like to move on to another team.

One prospect that sticks out is Nebraska shooting guard Bryce McGowens.

Although he is a shooting guard, his 6-foot-7, 179-pound frame gives him potential to play the small forward too. McGowens averaged 16.8 points per game and even grabbed 5.2 rebounds per game from the shooting guard position.

He is an all-out scorer. He is another fast and explosive guard with insane athleticism and elite finishing skills. He is a phenomenal shot creator along with a great shot off the dribble and he is outstanding off the catch and shoot.

Although his shooting numbers were not great he never let it affect his confidence. His quickness, ball-handling abilities and athleticism show he can be one of the best three-level scorers in this draft.

He can create his own shot, he is a mismatch nightmare and an improving shooter, especially as he moves off the ball.

The Magic had a lot of trouble scoring the ball last season and this is definitely someone who can come in and help that. He is a really exciting and fun player to watch so get your popcorn out if he lands here. He is also a perfect fit in Orlando’s young and fast-paced offense that continue to get better.

Dominick Barlow, Overtime Elite

The Orlando Magic should also definitely look at is Dominick Barlow.

Barlow played for the new Overtime Elite League last year at power forward where he averaged 14.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks per game, so he gives you a little bit of everything.

Standing at 6-foot-9, 221 pounds with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Barlow is a big, athletic, and versatile player who can also run the floor and has a lot of upside on both sides of the ball.

On offense, he is a great finisher, he is a great free throw shooter and he can space the floor. He can shoot the three, attack off the dribble and can score inside. He also is a good decision maker and does not turn the ball over too often.

Defensively he showed he can guard all five positions and he can be a force in the paint.

The Overtime Elite League is still an upstart and it is hard to evaluate the league as whole.

But at the combine scrimmage, he had 19 points, two assists, and a steal on 7-for-9 shooting, 1-for-1 from three and 5-for-7 shooting from the free throw line. He even had a three waived off so he even could have had another.

This shows his game does not differ at all against the other prospects going into this year’s draft.

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Barlow has great hustle, skill, and decision-making skills that should make him one of the better players in this year’s draft that the Magic should absolutely consider.