Orlando Magic: 3 perfect combinations for their pair of 1st-round picks
The Orlando Magic can put the finishing touches on their rebuild with two lottery picks in the 2023 NBA Draft. Which prospects should they target?
The Orlando Magic built strong winning habits last season. While their record didn’t always reflect it, the Magic were scrappy defenders who showed more than enough offensive promise to get the fanbase revved up for the next decade of Orlando basketball.
With two legitimate franchise pillars in Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner, plus an array of quality supporting pieces like Wendell Carter Jr., Markelle Fultz, and Jalen Suggs, the Magic could be on the precipice of contention. Or at least a playoff berth.
John Hammond, Jeff Weltman, and the Magic front office have the opportunity to put the finishing touches on their young core in the 2023 NBA Draft. The Magic own their own pick (No. 6) along with Chicago’s pick (No. 11), courtesy of the Nikola Vucevic trade. The right prospect combination could land them more star upside as well as two immediate contributors for a potential winner.
Perfect NBA Draft combinations for the Orlando Magic:
3. Anthony Black and Nick Smith Jr.
Orlando double-dips in the Arkansas talent pool, nabbing college teammates Anthony Black and Nick Smith Jr. The Magic already have several young guards on the roster — Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony — but by that same token, the backcourt still feels like an area of need relative to Orlando’s frontcourt depth.
The Magic have the extreme luxury of quality players at every position. Quality young players, at that. Black and Smith are both extremely talented in ways that complement one another. There’s also a built-in familiarity and chemistry that could appeal to the Magic.
Black is built like a wing, 6-foot-7 with bursty athleticism and tremendous basketball instincts. He’s the perfect Orlando Magic prospect — they love positional size and versatility. Black is a wrecking crew on defense and he’s one of the savviest playmakers on the board. He has drawn some comparisons to Lonzo Ball because of his knack for rapid-fire processing; Black won’t hammer the ball into the earth before making a decision. He either heads for the rim or keeps the ball popping.
Smith is a silky scorer who is comfortable playing off the ball. He’s an active cutter and he’s deadly attacking off the catch, using stop-start handles and dynamic footwork to shake his defender and get to his spots in the mid-range. Neither Smith nor Black were great shooters in college, but Smith’s soft touch around the rim should translate to positive long-distance shooting at some point. Black’s shooting upside is far murkier.