After several years of attempting to contend for an NBA championship, the Orlando Magic are back in the lottery. Orlando was last in the lottery in 2006 when they selected Duke guard J.J. Redick with the 11th overall pick.This will be the first time the Magic have had the second pick. They had the first pick back in 2004 and changed the course of their franchise by selecting Dwight Howard.
The Magic have several options with the second pick. If the Cavaliers do indeed select Kentucky center Nerlens Noel, as expected (although recent reports say Maryland center Alex Len could be in play), the Magic will likely decide between a trio of guards – Michigan point guard Trey Burke, Kansas guard Ben McLemore and Indiana swingman Victor Oladipo.
The Magic were originally thought to covet Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart, but he decided to return to school for his sophomore season.
As the Magic attempt to trade for a young point guard, possibly Eric Bledsoe of the Clippers, the chances of drafting Burke become lower and lower. Although they’ve had the likes of UNLV forward Anthony Bennett, Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams and Georgetown wing Otto Porter, Jr. in for workouts, it looks like the pick will come down to McLemore and Oladipo. If the Magic do indeed trade Arron Afflalo and many expect them to, they’ll need to fill a need at shooting guard.
Recent reports indicate the Magic weren’t wowed by McLemore’s workout and prefer Oladipo.
Oladipo clearly provides you with a bigger, better defensive presence while McLemore is an excellent shooter (he shot 42.0% from beyond the arc last season). McLemore averaged 15.9 points and also shot 49.5% from the field and 87.0% from the charity stripe. Those are fantastic numbers for a player at a big time program like Kansas.
McLemore’s speed and quickness have made him an excellent player in transition and could lead him to becoming a more-than-solid defender as well. However, if McLemore wants to handle the ball in the pros, he’s going to have to improve greatly in that area.
At times, Oladipo showed off his offensive prowess. He had 18 points on seven-of-10 shooting in a loss to Butler, 20 points on eight-of-10 shooting in a win over then eighth-ranked Minnesota and career-highs of 21 and 26 in wins over Michigan State and Ohio State, respectively. He also had 16 points on just six shots in a season-ending Sweet-16 loss to Syracuse.
McLemore could immediately become the perimeter scorer Orlando lacks and slide in next to promising rookie Maurice Harkless, who seems to be further along on the defensive end.
If the Magic were to take Oladipo, it would be interesting to see how he’d fit in next to promising Harkless. Oladipo is a good enough athlete to play shooting guard alongside Harkless. The potential to develop into two lock-down wing defenders would be there, but the offense could suffer. Neither appears to be the type of player that can take opponents off of the dribble and create open shots for themselves or others, which is something, among many other, the Magic severely lack.
Unless the Cavaliers pass on Noel, one of McLemore or Oladipo will likely be in a Magic uniform next season.