2023 Orlando Magic Offseason Needs: Rim Protection
Usually, the NBA Draft is good to add a few bigs to the league who can protect the rim and stand tall in the paint. This year’s Draft though is not loaded with bigs.
Yes, Victor Wembanyama at 7-foot-5 is the top pick. But there are not many other center options available in this draft. In any case, if the Magic are worried about the backup center spot, they are probably looking for a veteran they can rely on to start when Wendell Carter is out.
That does not mean there are not a few options worth considering from the draft to fill in this rim-protection role.
Lively averaged 2.4 blocks per game in 20.6 minutes per game last year. He has good size at 7-foot-1 with a wingspan to match. At this point, his rim protection and help-side defense is his greatest NBA skill. That is something he should be able to come in and make an impact with pretty immediately.
There is certainly a current that the Magic could just draft Lively at 11th and develop him as their center to come off the bench behind or alongside Wendell Carter and for the future.
The options beyond that? They are slim at the center position at least.
James Nnaji is 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan. Nnaji right now is a bundle of potential who has shown more encouraging work on the defensive end as an energy player than anything polished on offense. He could be an option for the Magic at the 36th pick.
After that? There just are not a lot of bigs in this draft.
Orlando certainly could look for some rim protection with wings and stretch-4s too.
That is one of the attractions in taking UCF forward Taylor Hendricks. Hendricks averaged 1.7 blocks per game last year. He has the athleticism to play above the rim that the Magic are certainly missing right now in their current lineup. And he could give them the flexibility to play some smaller big lineups by putting Taylor Hendricks at the 5 next to Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner.
Hendricks is very much in play at the sixth pick.
Other rim-protecting wings could include French wing Bilal Coulibaly and Alabmaa forward Noah Clowney.