Orlando Magic 2023 NBA Draft: 5 players to watch in the NCAA Tournament’s Regional rounds

Anthony Black has been a strong defender and point guard for Arkansas' run to the Sweet Sixteen. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Anthony Black has been a strong defender and point guard for Arkansas' run to the Sweet Sixteen. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Orlando Magic’s season is starting to wind down. The team’s playoff hopes have dwindled some and the fans at least are starting to think a little bit about the Draft.

Every team is finalizing its draft book as the season wraps up. Every basketball fan is watching the NCAA Tournament. And a lot of players can certainly make their name.

The Orlando Magic will be finishing off their season but they will be watching the next rounds of the NCAA Tournament too as many of the prospects look to make one last statement.

This year is a bit different though. Many of the top prospects in this year’s draft are outside of the NCAA Tournament — from projected top pick Victor Wembanyama playing in France to top guard Scoot Henderson playing in the G-League to the Amen and Ausar Thompson playing for Overtime Elite.

On top of this, many top prospects were playing for college teams that did not make the Tournament. And many more faced elimination in the early rounds.

There may not be a complete breakthrough prospect like Paolo Banchero seemed to be in leading Duke to the Final Four. At this point, Alabama’s Brandon Miller is the only top prospect remaining. And even he struggled in his first NCAA Tournament games.

This is how you should view prospects. Playing well is important, but teams likely want to see how these players respond to pressure situations and whether they rise to the challenge. That will tell them a whole lot more and help separate them within their tiers — do not expect many heavy risers at this point with most of their playing file already completed.

That is something that a player like Baylor’s Keyonte George (16 total points on 3-for-19 shooting before the Bears bowed out in the second round) is not going to get that similar guards in Arkansas’ Nick Smith Jr. or Anthony Black could get from playing further on in this tournament.

Every game is a critical piece of information to add to the ledger. And these are high-profile games that are hard to miss. Even as NBA teams near the end of their season and critical points on the road to the postseason.

The Orlando Magic’s postseason hopes are dimming. They are still mathematically alive in the postseason chase, but they trail the Chicago Bulls by 4.5 games with nine games remaining. The Bulls are on pace to win 38-39 games, meaning the Magic need to go 8-1 or 9-0 the rest of the way to have a shot.

It is a long shot even if it is still mathematically possible.

But that means Orlando is likely heading back to the Lottery. And the team is in a good position once again.

In addition to holding the Bulls’ pick if it lands outside the top four (the Bulls are ninth in the Lottery standings, giving them a 20.3-percent chance of landing in the top four), the Magic sit in fifth in the Lottery standings. Orlando would have a 42.1-percent chance of landing in the top four and a 10.5-percent chance of landing the top pick for a second straight year.

The Orlando Magic are likely to stay in fifth, sitting seven games ahead of the Charlotte Hornets and two games behind the Washington Wizards.

So Orlando will once again likely be looking at the top prospects in this Draft.

With the NCAA Tournament resuming again tonight, here are five prospects to keep an eye on this weekend: