The Orlando Magic pulled the first major surprise of the 2014 NBA Draft when they used their fourth-overall selection to take former Arizona Wildcats’ power forward Aaron Gordon.
The Magic reportedly coveted both former Kansas Jayhawks’ swingman Andrew Wiggins and Australian point guard Dante Exum. When Wiggins went first to the Cleveland Cavaliers, former Duke Blue Devils’ forward Jabari Parker went second to the Milwaukee Bucks and former Jayhawks’ center Joel Embiid went third-overall to the Philadelphia 76ers, it looked like a foregone conclusion the Magic would take Exum.
Instead, the pick was Gordon, who measured in at 6’8.75″ and 220 lbs. with a wingspan of 6’11.75″ at the NBA’s Scouting Combine. He averaged 12.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 49.5% from the field, 35.6% from beyond the arc and 42.2% from the free throw line for the Wildcats this season. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express ranks Gordon as the ninth-best prospect in the daft.
The Magic are not in a position to select a point guard purely based on the need at the position and no one should have any problem with the Magic taking the best player available, but in this case, that is not something they did. In fact, you could argue Gordon isn’t even one of the best two or three power forwards in the draft. He is a poor shooter from the field and a poor shooter from the free throw line. If the Magic wanted to go big, former Kentucky Wildcats’ power forward Julius Randle and former Indiana Hoosiers’ big man Noah Vonleh would have been good fits.
Gordon is an incredible athlete, one of the best few in the draft, meaning he should be a good defender, but other than that, he doesn’t bring much to the table offensively, at least not at the moment.