The Magic finished with the league’s fifth-worst record this season, but they’re more likely to end up with the No. 6 pick than any other lottery selection, as the odds show. They have about as much chance to move up into the top three as they do of drafting fifth, and there’s less than a 9% chance that they’ll drop below sixth. While we wait for the lottery, which takes place two weeks from tonight, here’s more from the Magic Kingdom:
- The athleticism Aaron Gordon has to play elite-level defense was readily apparent this season for the surprising No. 4 overall pick from last year, writes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Still, concerns about his ability to guard taller and more physical power forwards contributes to uncertainty about his role going forward, as Robbins examines.
- Dewayne Dedmon saw plenty of minutes at power forward down the stretch under interim coach James Borrego, notes Ken Hornack of Fox Sports Florida. Hornack surmises that Dedmon will remain on the team as a defensive-minded big man unless the Magic score a marquee interior defender this summer. Still, Dedmon’s non-guaranteed salary for next season and the likelihood that the Magic hire a new coach are complicating factors.
- It’s not entirely clear if the Magic made a pitch this year to new Thunder coach Billy Donovan before Oklahoma City hired him, but they should have, argues Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel. His knack for player development and experience in recruiting were among the reasons he should have been attractive to the Magic, who have plenty of young players and the cap flexibility to chase top free agents, Bianchi writes.
- Set-off rights have bumped the Magic’s cap space for 2014/15 from about $7MM to approximately $8.2MM, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (All four Twitter links). Orlando recouped about $958K of the $2MM that the team owed to Jameer Nelson thanks to the deal he signed with the Mavs last summer, while the minimum-salary pact that Glen Davis received from the Clippers scraped about $220K off the Magic’s $6.4MM obligation to Big Baby, Pincus notes. The team’s cap flexibility for next season, which officially begins in July, remains untouched, but the savings give the team extra maneuverability for when trade activity perks up at draft time, as Pincus points out.