Three Needs that the Orlando Magic Should Look to Address in Thursday Night’s NBA Draft
The Orlando Magic are coming off of their sixth straight playoff appearance, but with an aging team and a second straight first round exit, the 2012 NBA Draft should be viewed by Orlando as an opportunity to get better immediately. The Magic still have a number of questions to be answered including who the next head coach will be and the future of superstar center Dwight Howard. It will be the first draft for new general manager Rob Hennigan as well. With the draft looming, here are three needs that the Magic should look to address:
Over the past several years, the Orlando Magic have had the most dominant big man in the league in Dwight Howard. Howard’s future with the franchise is shaky at best, but even if the Magic trade Howard for a serviceable NBA center, they still lack size off the bench. Glen Davis, who is listed at 6’9″ served as Orlando’s backup center for much of last season. Ryan Anderson could be an option at the 5-spot if the Magic deal Howard, but Anderson has opted to become a free agent and may not return. Daniel Orton, who was taken in the first round in 2010, has still yet to fully blossom into a capable NBA player. Hedo Turkoglu and last year’s first round pick, Justin Harper, are each 6’10″, but are both perimeter oriented players. Possible selections for Orlando are Ohio State power forward Jared Sullinger, who was once considered a lottery pick. But if he falls far enough, 6’11″ Baylor forward Perry Jones III would be the best possible choice for the Magic.
With a starting lineup that featured aging players like Turkoglu and Jason Richardson and a 6’0″ point guard in Jameer Nelson, the Magic seriously lacked athleticism a year ago. The only two productive bench players, Davis and J.J. Redick, provided Orlando with great hustle and effort, but neither are great athletes. Teams with great athleticism constantly gave the Magic trouble a year ago and it wasn’t just the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunders of the world. Teams like the Atlanta Hawks, Denver Nuggets and even the Detroit Pistons were a tough match-up for the Magic. Orlando should look to address their need for size first, but if Sullinger, Jones or Mississippi State’s Arnett Moultrie are no longer there at 19, the Magic should perhaps look to a player like Moe Harkless of St. John’s or Kentucky’s Terrence Jones.
3. A Slasher
The absence of a slasher has really haunted the Orlando Magic over the past two seasons. Courtney Lee played that role as a rookie when he helped Orlando go all the way to the 2009 NBA Finals. The following season, Vince Carter even manned that role to some extent for the Magic as they reached the Eastern Conference Finals. Over the past two years, the Magic have simply not had an effective slasher. The needs for size and athleticism are much greater for Orlando and perhaps a slasher is something that would best sought after during free agency. But if Orlando is able to fill one of the other two voids in the first round, the Magic may look to take a slasher with the 49th overall pick in the second round.
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