The Orlando Magic should address glaring frontcourt need with 18th pick

The Magic have an important decision to make on draft night. Here is why they should select a rim-protecting big with the 18th pick.
2022 NBA Draft
2022 NBA Draft / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

For the first time since the 2020 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic will be picking outside of the lottery. The Magic have the 18th pick in Wednesday's draft and have an important decision to make.

Orlando should look to add a rim-protecting center to its roster. It is a need for the Magic because its current group of centers are not feared shot-blockers. Starting center Wendell Carter is solid all-around, but is not a shot-blocker. Backup big Mo Wagner's weakness is defense, and Goga Bitadze, who is solid defensively, is a free agent.

The Magic experimented with starting power forward Jonathan Isaac at center in its first-round playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers to fill that rim-protector role, and that netted mixed results as the team went 0-2.

The Magic could find a young defensive-minded center in the draft

Orlando could look to add a rim-protector via free agency or trade but will have its share of options come Wednesday night. Athletic Baylor center Yves Missi, Dayton power forward/center DaRon Holmes, and Indiana center Kel'el Ware are all projected to potentially be available when the Magic are selecting 18th overall.

Holmes and Ware are both promising shooters in addition to rim-protection. Holmes shot 38 % on 2.5 three-point attempts per game and averaged 2.1 blocks. Meanwhile, Ware shot 42 % on 1.3 three-point attempts per game and averaged 1.9 blocks.

Selecting a big man makes the most sense for Orlando because the power forward and small forward positions are solidified with All-Star Paolo Banchero and rising star Franz Wagner. And NBA All-Defensive Second Team member Jalen Suggs is capable of playing both backcourt positions. Adding a rim-protector to the mix could round out the roster and make the Magic’s defense even more imposing.

In the 2023 NBA Draft, Orlando added point guard Anthony Black with the sixth pick, and, with the 11th pick, added shooting guard/ small forward Jett Howard. Both need more time to develop, and the verdict is still out on them. It would not make a lot of sense for the Magic to add another rookie playing either position with the 18th pick.

Another need for Orlando is more shooting, so that is also a viable option with the 18th pick. Adding another shooting guard is not out of the cards. But with a roster full of young talent, the Magic are still missing a young big man to help solidify the frontcourt for years to come.