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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Intro to the 2024 NBA Draft

The Class as a Whole

Philip Rossman-Reich, Orlando Magic Daily: Before we nail down specific names and talk about the Orlando Magic specifically, let's talk about this draft class as a whole.

Generally, I think the rap on this class is that it is not a great class. But from what I understand that opinion is merely because the top isn't great. How would you assess how this class is shaping up?

Richard Stayman, Locked On NBA Big Board: It's an underwhelming class. There's really no standout, alpha guy.

It's kind of weak throughout the top 15 or so. It's got some good depth because I think every draft at this point does. It's just the nature of basketball at this point.

It's a draft that Magic fans should be very thankful that the Magic are just good now. This is not a draft they have to worry about who they are taking, what they have to guess on, because right now No. 1 is a guess, No. 2 is a guess. You can't find many people with the same top player at the moment. And you also can't find people with the same seven players in the top 10.

It's a wild class at the moment.

Philip: Currently, the top prospects in the draft are Alex Sarr from France (playing in Australia) and G-League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis, who stood out for the G-League Ignite team in the Rising Stars Game. The Ignite also has Ron Holland who may get top-pick consideration. Among the other players in consideration for the top pick are France's Zaccharie Risacher or Serbia's Nikola Topic.

The top college prospects include Kentucky point guard Rob Dillingham and Colorado forward Cody Williams. But those looking to do draft prep in the NCAA Tournament will find that most of the top prospects in this year's Draft are not playing in college.

Obviously, the Magic aren't necessarily looking at some of those guys. It has been a while since the Magic drafted in the middle. How would you assess that range that the Magic aren't picking at if the top 15 guys aren't blowing people away?

Richard: One of two things is going to happen, they are going to have to reach for need. And, actually, not even reach because a lot of teams are going to do it so it's hard to say what is truly a reach. Or somebody who was considered a top 10-12 prospect is going to fall into their laps.

Ideally, that's what happens. Of course, you probably don't want it to be another guard at this point.

But if it's someone like Donovan Clingan, who I still think is top 10, I think he is somebody who could easily make a difference for this Magic team for example.

Philip: Donovan Clingan is a 7-foot-2 center for UConn averaging 12.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in 21.5 minutes per game as a sophomore. The Huskies are one of the favorites to win the NCAA Tournament. ESPN currently has him mocked at No. 11 on their latest mock draft.

Center is one of the Magic's needs for the upcoming offseason -- especially with Goga Bitadze's impending free agency. But Orlando may not know what it needs until it gets through the Playoffs. Need will likely be a bigger focus in this year's Draft.

Before we dive into specific prospects, how would you assess how the Magic should approach this Draft? When you are drafting sixth, even though the Magic felt like they were on the cusp of doing something more, the talent level is so high, that drafting the best player is still the right choice.

When you are drafting 15-18, that best player available changes because your pool of potential players grows. The deeper into the draft you go, the narrower the margins are between players. How much should the Magic's draft approach change now that they are picking in the middle rather than the Lottery?

Richard: There's a few ways to look at it. You could do a lottery ticket kind of guy. In this draft, it's not actually a terrible idea. Historically, if I'm not mistaken, in bad drafts the best players aren't always at the top. There's a chance you could find a hidden gem right there at 17.

But at the same time, they've got their alpha [Paolo Banchero]. They've got their second guy too in Franz [Wagner]. They have a lot of really good surrounding pieces. The hope is Anthony Black turns into that really good third. The hope is he comes into that top-three mix. You don't need that much.