Orlando Magic stand pat at the NBA Draft Lottery, now the work begins

May 16, 2023; Chicago, IL, USA; A overall shot of the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery at McCormick Place West. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
May 16, 2023; Chicago, IL, USA; A overall shot of the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery at McCormick Place West. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

The NBA Draft Lottery is one of the weirdest days in the NBA.

For a league full of control freaks who seem to have as much data and information at their fingertips to make decisions both in-game and off the court and a game that is literally in the hands of five players and oftentimes one player with immense control over the outcome, the Lottery is random.

Yes, there are odds and math involved in determining who actually wins the thing. But at the end of the day, the result comes down to the bouncing of 14 ping pong balls in and a drum and which four get called up out of the hopper.

For executives who have done a lot to try to reduce risk and understand the game, this is something completely out of their hands. This is something they just have to accept. The results are the results.

With that being the case, the Orlando Magic seemed pretty content with how their draft lottery went.

The Orlando Magic did not move up or down in the NBA Draft Lottery. Now their work begins to add to their growing core.

The hope of climbing into the top four lasted as long as it could before the reveal that the team would pick sixth in the draft. The Orlando Magic also got the benefit of receiving the Chicago Bulls’ pick at No. 11, completing the Nikola Vucevic-Wendell Carter pick from 2021.

In the end, the Magic got exactly what they bargained for. Perhaps no more, no less. So now the work of finding the right players to add to the team begins.

"“That board looks pretty good,” president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said after the Draft Lottery. “To be six and 11 and have two lottery picks. The greatest likelihood percentage-wise was to move back from six. To hold six and add 11 is a good day for us.”"

Indeed, the odds were in favor of the Magic moving back at least one spot from six.

Much of the complaints during the Rob Hennigan era in the years after Dwight Howard was about how the Magic not only failed to win the Lottery but also never improved their draft position despite years of losing to position themselves for a big Lottery payday.

Random luck is like that. And that is all anyone can consider the Lottery.

In this case then, the Magic should consider the Lottery from Tuesday a bit of good fortune, even if it did not land them in the top four. Certainly, the fact the franchise won the Lottery and nailed the pick in drafting Paolo Banchero lessens the blow of not jumping in the Lottery.

Instead, it seems the Magic are in a better position to add to their already-strong core of players. And that would appear to be the focus now that the draft process really begins.

"“I’ll repeat over and over again, Jeff and that group are incredible at finding the right fit,” coach Jamahl Mosley said after the Lottery. “The character, the fight, the fit, those guys who will come in and contribute and be part of what we’re building. They are incredible at putting the work in to find the right fit for us.”"

The Magic have worked meticulously to build their team through the draft — not just with Paolo Banchero but with Franz Wagner, Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony. The team is still very much in the development business with other young players like Wendell Carter and Markelle Fultz on top of that.

Orlando is still looking to add to the roster. If there is something that has changed with the team with this draft process, it should be the team’s focus on adding players who will help the team win rather than taking a big swing on a potential star player.

Much of the Magic’s foundation is now seemingly in place.

"“I love our team,” Mosley said after the Lottery. “I love what we’re doing. I love how we’re building and love how they have come together. It is such a tremendous group in how they care for one another and how much they really root for one another and strive to be great. They hold each other accountable. Their being together this summer is going to be huge as well.”"

As Weltman put it after the Lottery, now the team has to look at how best to move the team forward and best to figure out if what the draft will provide will line up with the team’s needs.

Playing with the sixth and 11th picks opens up a lot more possibilities. There will be a lot of draft prospects to review and examine. And a lot more avenues for the team to improve.

The team has its assets for the Draft now set in place. Even though the Magic did not jump into the top four, they still have a lot in front of them.

"“The work doesn’t change,” Weltman said after the Lottery. “We always go through the whole draft for any eventuality. We have to plan on trades. I say planning on unpredictability and organizing chaos, that’s the draft. That’s what the next month is for us.”"

Next. The case for the Magic to keep their 2023 draft picks. dark

It will be a busy month for the Magic. A busy time for the team to grow and develop and find the right piece to add to this group.