By securing the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA draft, the Magic may finally get the impactful big man they’ve been searching for, Zach Kram writes for The Ringer. Orlando has taken chances on young frontcourt players in recent years, drafting Jonathan Isaac sixth overall in 2017, Mohamed Bamba sixth in 2018 and trading for Wendell Carter Jr. in 2021.
To this point, Isaac, Bamba and Carter haven’t been game-changers, though all of them are still 24 years old or younger. Orlando will select first in the draft, likely choosing from a consensus top three in Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr. and Paolo Banchero, all of whom are power forwards or centers.
Outside of their big men, the Magic also have young players Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, R.J. Hampton, Chuma Okeke and Franz Wagner. The team is clearly trying to figure out the best combination for the future, a group that could be headlined by this year’s No. 1 pick.
Here are some other notes from Orlando:
- Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel examines who the Magic should draft as they continue their rebuild, specifically with the top selection. The team is coming off a 22-60 season, which was the worst record in the Eastern Conference and the second-worst record in the league.
- Mike Vorkonuv of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at the night of the draft lottery, which awarded the Magic the No. 1 pick. President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman was originally supposed to represent the Magic on the lottery stage, but was replaced by Jamahl Mosley because the head coach “felt lucky.” As it turns out, Mosley had good reason to feel lucky.
- By securing the top pick, the Magic put the decade-long “Dwightmare” to an end, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel opines. Bianchi, referring to former Magic center Dwight Howard, explores how Orlando hasn’t received a No. 1 selection since drafting Howard in 2004. Howard had six All-Star seasons in a Magic uniform, with perhaps his best coming in 2010/11 (22.9 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game). The Magic also haven’t won 50 games since then, which was one of the last years Howard played with the team.