Orlando Magic Daily 2023 NBA Mock Draft 3.0
The Orlando Magic’s Pick
Question: Do the Magic take one more bite at the apple or focus on fit?
Even the notoriously tight-lipped Jeff Weltman seemed to suggest as much in talking about how his team is preparing for the draft. Yes, nobody is skipping steps and everyone is looking at this draft as an opportunity to add to a growing core.
At the same time, this core is different.
The Magic seem to have a lot of things figured out. Or at least a lot of things they want to continue to explore. The team seems determined to let their team grow organically — Weltman said as much publicly.
So how should the Magic approach these picks? Should they take one last big swing with one player and go safer with the other? Should they look for players who can find playing time immediately and contribute to the team and their playoff hopes even if they pass on players with more upside?
The answer, like with all things, is it depends. As Weltman is quick to point out, it is still about the person and player the team picks. The Magic are versatile enough that they should be able to find the place for talent to fit in.
At No. 6, Orlando should have its pick of one of Ausar Thompson, Cam Whitmore, Jarace Walker, Taylor Hendricks or Anthony Black.
None of those players are a perfect fit for the Magic. Yet going off the board with someone outside of this list could invite ridicule or questions about whether the team maximized this opportunity (trust me).
Among that group, I think Ausar Thompson offers the most potential for growth. But if he is off the board, then things could get very tricky for the Magic.
Perhaps Whitmore is that home run swing for the Magic. He is a potentially strong scorer and spot-up shooter. But I just do not feel like he fits either the Magic’s physical profile for what they look for or even the skill profile — his assist rate is embarassingly low for someone who was the lead scorer on a team, even when accounting for his wrist injury.
Among the group available here, I think the Magic take the bite on Anthony Black. While their point guard situation is fairly set, it is also kind of up in the air. And perhaps Black gives them some versatility to explore other areas in free agency.
His poor shooting is certainly a concern, but he can defend at a high level and has a really good in-between game (51.3 percent on 2-pointers, although 70.5 percent from the line and 30.1 percent from deep).
There is no perfect fit. That needs to be re-emphasized.
But the Magic could really go in a number of different directions. Hendricks is the cleanest fit for this roster as a solid backup forward to give the team needed depth and a clearer understanding of his role.
The Magic should view this sixth pick at least as a chance to add something substantial to the team. This could well be their last chance to draft this high for some time.
Then again, this could also be an opportunity to take someone they are comfortable with or use the pick to trade down a few picks, grab a veteran and still get a quality player from this draft.