Orlando Magic 2024 NBA Draft Preview: A weak class, but still lots of options

The Orlando Magic have a loaded young roster and ambitions of improving their playoff standing not just this year but next year too. The 2024 NBA Draft class is not considered particularly strong but there are still options for the Magic as they do their draft prep.

The Orlando Magic will draft much later this year and should still have plenty of options to fill important needs like Tennessee forward Dalton Knecht.
The Orlando Magic will draft much later this year and should still have plenty of options to fill important needs like Tennessee forward Dalton Knecht. / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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No one would excuse any Orlando Magic fans for not paying so close attention to the NBA Draft.

It is widely considered a poor class, particularly at the top. So it is not a draft class that has taken up a lot of attention even among NBA fans. On top of this, many of the top prospects are not from the college game. The NCAA Tournament does not even really promise to showcase the top prospects one last time and build hype toward the NBA Draft.

All that has NBA fans a little less excited about the NCAA Tournament and the upcoming draft class.

Magic fans certainly are not paying close attention to the Draft either. For the first time in more than a decade, the Magic feel very little risk of landing in the Lottery this year. They have a fairly secure place in the top eight in the Eastern Conference. And while the Play-In Tournament is still a possibility, the Magic feel pretty good about their playoff positioning.

Throw in that No. 11 pick and rookie Jett Howard has spent most of the year with the Osceola Magic in the G-League and the Orlando Magic should have deeper playoff aspirations next year, a rookie may not be what the team needs.

Even if the Magic are not sold out on bringing another young player to the roster -- the team has plenty of cap room to chase after marquee players or absorb players in a trade and their draft pick (currently projected to land at No. 19 or 20) could easily be fodder for a trade.

Of course, there are still valuable players available in the Draft. And the team is in no position to pass up on any opportunity to add talented players, even if their priorities have shifted.

Orlando is having a successful season this year. There is no denying this. But the roster is certainly not yet complete. For the Magic to get where they ultimately want to go -- competing for a championship -- it will take plenty of internal growth, but also clearly some additions to the roster.

The Magic's needs are abundantly clear. They need shooting most of all and to shore up plenty of other parts of their roster.

As Friday's loss to the New York Knicks proved, the team is going to have to move up a level to compete in the Playoffs. Those games will reveal further where the cracks in the roster are and how they can overcome them.

That might be why it is more difficult to pinpoint exactly what the Magic need this offseason -- whether that is from free agency, trades or the draft -- and why the Magic may have opted to wait at the trade deadline to see how the team performed in the Playoffs.

The Draft feels like the afterthought in this process. But it is still important.

Since most of us are probably behind in our draft prep and the conference tournaments and NCAA Tournament will pick up this week, marking the end of the college basketball season and that phase of draft prep, it was time to play some catch-up.

I chatted with Locked on NBA Big Board's Richard Stayman last week to get an introduction to the draft class and talk about how the Magic should approach this year's draft.

He breaks down what the Magic need and their season so far and which prospects in the Draft will fit the Magic's eyes as the draft enters this final playing phase.

In this post, we will break down the names to know as conference tournaments begin and the NCAA Tournament comes up on the horizon. We will hit the Magic's needs and an update on their rookies in a future post.

This interview has been edited for clarity, context and updated stats.