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PBT NBA Draft Preview: The Orlando Magic

Jun 20, 2014, 5:45 PM EDT

Joel Embiid AP

Picks: 4, 12

Needs: Everywhere. No doubt there are a few nice young players on the Magic roster — Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, and Kyle O’Quinn grew on me — but none of them is a franchise anchor piece.

There is no place on the court the Magic could not use a talent upgrade, they need to take the very best player available. Regardless of position.

Trade possibilities: There has been no serious talk of the Magic trying to move up into the top three picks and it’s likely the assets that Cleveland or the Bucks would want are the kind of longer-term projects the Bucks are not yet ready to give up on.

But in the wake of the Joel Embiid injury, a team may want to move up into the Magic’s slot and snag him. For example, it has been rumored that the Celtics still want Embiid and might trade up. If Orlando got Boston’s No. 6 pick and a sweetener (a young player or Boston’s 17th pick) that may do the job. It depends on if the Magic are in love with any players and if they think said player would be there at 6. Sources had told me a week ago that the Magic were big on Marcus Smart, but there have been more recent reports that feeling has cooled.

Orlando has trade assets, starting with Arron Afflalo, who apparently the Timberwolves covet and Denver would like to get as part of their package for the elite power forward (the Nuggets have the No. 11 pick). If not Denver a number of teams will have interest in Afflalo. Also on the roster that could draw interest are Andrew Nicholson, Jason Maxiell and maybe Ronnie Price. fa

Predictions: The Joel Embiid injury has blown the top of the draft wide open and put the Magic in a very interesting spot — Embiid very well might fall to them. By all reports they are gathering a lot of information on the foot injury and what that could mean. This is potentially serious, this is the same spot on the foot Bill Walton and Yao Ming suffered breaks and were never quite the same after.

But if he is there at No. 4, the Magic need to take him. Yes, it’s a risk, but this is a league where you need elite players to reach the highest levels of the game and Embiid has the potential to be one of those guys. There are reports the Magic liked Dante Exum (now not likely there at 4) and Marcus Smart (likely still on the board) but Embiid is the potential franchise changer and you need to roll that dice, even if you sit on him for a full year. Didn’t seem to slow Blake Griffin much.

At No. 12, it depends on who is still on the board. If Elfrid Payton falls that far they should snatch him up as the point guard of the future (I’m very high on him). Likewise if Aaron Gordon or a good shooter fell that that far they’d have to consider it (Gary Harris and Rodney Hood may well still be available and good fits). But there is more and more buzz they may take Bosnian Josuf Nurkic, a true center but one expected to be stashed overseas for a couple years to mature. Watch for that pick.

  1. xmatt0926x - Jun 20, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    This guy isn’t done growing yet. He’s going to get heavier, maybe even a little taller and the injury is in the same spot that gave those other guys problems and pretty much ended their careers. Orlando is going to risk the #4 on that? Wow.

  2. mungman69 - Jun 20, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    And with the #1 pick Philadelphia chooses …..

  3. themagicfanguy - Jun 20, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    The Magi will take Smart or Vonleh, not Embiid. They’d be stupid to take Embiid anyway.

  4. sportsfan18 - Jun 20, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    IF the Magic could get BOTH the 6th and 17th picks in the first round, they should go that route.

    Now, IF they are REALLY in love with a certain player at 4 that they don’t think will be there at 6 I understand not wanting to do this.

    But their team is NOT one player away. No one at 4 vs. 6 will turn the Magic into contenders this season. In other words if they don’t pick 4th, they won’t be losing the title this season because they dropped down to picking 6th.

    Let’s say Parker and Wiggins are gone before pick number 4, which should be a safe bet.

    Players like the following will be there in the 4 to 6 range.

    Exum well, he could go 3rd to Philly if they don’t trade with Cleveland for #1 to get Wiggins

    Then, if the get the 16th pick too, players such as Rodney Hood, James Young, Tyler Ennis, A. Payne and others could be there for them.

    Get 2 for 1 Magic.

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