Orlando Magic 2024 NBA Draft Preview: How the current rookies affect the team's development

The NBA Draft comes front and center even in the middle of a Playoff race with the NCAA Tournament tipping off. The Orlando Magic have their own rookies to develop in the present and how they turn out could affect what comes next in the Draft.

Anthony Black has had his ups and downs but has been a surprising hit in his rookie year for the Orlando Magic.
Anthony Black has had his ups and downs but has been a surprising hit in his rookie year for the Orlando Magic. / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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Intro to the 2024 NBA Draft

The Magic's Rookies - Anthony Black

Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily: Before I let you go, I know you are very focused on this draft class and everything. But I would be remiss if I didn't ask a little bit about what you have seen from the Magic's rookies.

Anthony Black is someone I think a lot of people had a lot of questions about when the Magic took him. There was: Why did they need another guard? Why did they need another guard who can't shoot?

From what you have seen or what you've looked at with him, what have been your impressions from Anthony Black as a rookie?

Richard Stayman, Locked on NBA Big Board: Super impressive. I figured year one would be tough given he can't really shoot consistently. But he's been a really reliable corner shooter for somebody who has the label of he can't shoot.

Philip: He has come a long way. even from Summer League to now, there is still work to do but he has come so far. He's so much more comfortable as a shooter.

While Black is out of the rotation at the moment, he is shooting 39.1 percent from three this season, a major surprise considering his struggles in college.

Richard: Completely agree. Just even that has been really impressive. The defense, he has been fearless at times.

I think the defense has been really impressive. The ability to make something out of nothing at any given time and realizing I'm on the floor too just because I'm not a shooting threat or may not be the top, go-to scorer doesn't mean I can't find a way to impact the game on offense. He's done a really good job of that finding ways on cuts, feeding off everyone's strengths. His upside is ridiculously high.

Philip: My takeaway has been even when he had to step in and start for Markelle Fultz early in the year, the Magic I think have done a very good job making his role small.

My belief is with rookies especially is to start them off with something simple. Obviously, maybe Paolo [Banchero] is a little different because he is expected to do a lot more. But typically with role players my philosophy is always to give them something really simple to do, give them bumpers like on a bowling alley and stay between these bumpers. Do these really simple things and we'll slowly expand his role out.

From the moment he started those games early in the season. It felt like this is a guy you have to have on the floor. He has to play because his defensive impact is so great. Whatever you are losing shooting-wise, he makes up for with that defensive effort.

That says a lot about a rookie because usually defenses is where rookies really struggle. For this Magic team, with what their defensive philosophy is -- I would argue the reason why Jett Howard isn't playing is because he is still learning how to defend at an NBA level -- Anthony Black has that trust defensively.

We're going to get to meaningful games here, they are going to lean on AB in the playoffs. They are going to push him out there in the playoffs. However many minutes he plays, those 5-10 minutes are going to help them win a playoff game.