5 prospects to know for Orlando Magic’s second-round pick
Ben Sheppard, Belmont
You are going to notice a theme very quickly in the players that I have selected to focus on with the second-round pick.
Undoubtedly this is the Orlando Magic’s biggest need and something that everyone is intently focused on for them to fill. One way or another the Magic have to come away with more shooting from their perimeter players if they want to take the next step. It is truly a swing skill for the team’s development.
It is why so many have the Magic taking Gradey Dick with the 11th pick. And why that has been a big focus in free agency — there was little relief that Gary Trent Jr. opted to stay with the Toronto Raptors.
So if Dick is considered the best shooter in this draft? Who is the next best shooter?
There are a few options for that ranging from UConn’s Jordan Hawkins to Santa Clara guard Brandin Podziemski. Or it just might be Belmont guard Ben Sheppard.
Sheppard averaged 18.8 points per game while shooting 41.5 percent from beyond the arc. The senior progressively got better each year at Belmont. For a senior that is important to see that he got better every year. The progression is a good thing.
Additionally, he was named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s all-defensive team last year. At 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan, Sheppard makes the most of what he has. But he is not seen as an imposing or impending defensive force.
Thus he is a second-round prospect.
Further, the downside with him is that he shot only 68.4 percent from the foul line last year and only 69.6 percent from the foul line for his career. He also did not play any games against power conference teams last year. So it is hard to get a sense of how he would fair against better competition.
Then again, he scored 25 points in 20 minutes in his second scrimmage game at the NBA Draft Combine. He made three 3-pointers in the game. So perhaps he can hold his own.
He is an excellent catch-and-shoot option. So if he can grow to the NBA 3-point line, that simple role will take him a very long way. Especially if the defense translates.
The point with Sheppard is that if one believes enough in his shot, it is easy to see a role for him. And that makes him a high-level second-round option.