With just 15 games remaining in the NBA regular season, teams are beginning to look ahead to the coming off-season. For the Orlando Magic, the focus this year will be on the draft. In a class loaded with talent, the Magic are once again in prime position to have a lottery pick. With that being said, the Magic have much to consider regarding how to use their potentially high selection.
Early Orlando Magic Draft Preview: Part One
Sitting in the bottom five in the league in field goal percentage as well as points per game, the Magic are in need of shooting. A versatile wing who can create a mismatch, as well as spread the floor, could help the Magic take that next step. It’s no secret that the addition of Terrence Ross has helped Orlando with spacing and ball movement. However, if the Magic want to take the next step, they will need a forward with more upside than Ross. The new player would likely step in as the team’s sixth man next season. With an array of talented forwards available in the upcoming draft, the Magic’s front office personnel will have many options to consider when making their pick.
Jayson Tatum (Duke, 6’8″, SF, Freshman)
Jayson Tatum is almost the dream fit for the Magic. Averaging 16.9 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor, Tatum encapsulates everything the Magic are looking for. Tatum has the ability to generate his own shot and is a serious threat as an isolation scorer. Above all else, Tatum’s ability to show up in big games makes him stick out. Leading Duke to its ACC Championship win against Notre Dame, Tatum was masterful throughout the tournament. Tatum displayed his elite skill as a scoring threat, dropping 20 points on Clemson and 25 on Louisville, respectively, before putting up 19 in the final. Tatum has shown his potential and has one of the highest ceilings in the draft class. As a serious scoring threat, Tatum would instantly improve a Magic team that is ranked 29th in offensive rating.
Jonathan Isaac (Florida State, 6’10”, SF/PF, Freshman)
Jonathan Isaac, a versatile 6’10” forward, would bring consistency to Orlando on both ends of the floor. A major flaw in the Magic this season has been the inability to find an identity on either end. Isaac can not only offer efficient scoring, but his defensive capabilities are also worth marveling over. Averaging 11.9 points per game and shooting 50.2 percent from the floor, Isaac is consistent, to say the least. His steady 35.3 percent shooting from three-point range allows him to create a mismatch on the floor with nearly any defender. A face-up scorer with a lot of upside, Isaac would fit in nicely alongside Aaron Gordon in Orlando, and his ability to play both consistently on both ends of the floor makes him a complete all-around prospect.
Josh Jackson (Kansas, 6’8″, SF, Freshman)
Depending on where the Magic’s pick lands, Josh Jackson of the Kansas Jayhawks could also be an intriguing option for Orlando. While it is likely that Jackson will have been drafted before the Magic’s selection, the order of this draft is anyone’s guess. Once again offering versatility on the wing, Jackson would primarily provide the Magic with speed and athleticism, among other things. Jackson has displayed the quickness and agility to guard multiple positions, while still proving effective on offense. Although some concerns have arisen about his jump shot, Jackson has still averaged 16.4 points per game this year, and he’s improved his three-pointer, shooting 37.7 percent from downtown. Jackson has been essential in the Jayhawks’ stellar season and he could make some more noise in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.