The Orlando Magic will have the No. 6 overall pick in the NBA Draft for the second year in a row. Normally, this is undesirable. Usually, the sixth pick is where the superstar talent tends to fade. However, Trae Young is a more valuable player than scouts say. His undersized physique and athleticism make him suspect for some scouts. Playing on a weak college team for only a year doesn’t help. However, this may make the Magic draft Trae Young because he’ll be the best player available. In reality, Young will be far better than his draft position may indicate.
Why Orlando Magic Draft Trae Young
It’s important to realize that Young may of course not be available at the sixth pick. The Atlanta Hawks are going through drama with point guard Dennis Schroder. Spending their No. 3 overall pick on Young could very well be their decision. However, after that, most of the other top-five teams probably won’t target a point guard.
The only team in the upper lottery with a gaping hole at point guard is the Magic. Even since before trading Elfrid Payton, the Magic have had a problem at the position. Young is easily the best point guard in this draft. Alabama’s Collin Sexton can hold a candle to him, but Young clearly has the best upside.
What does Young offer the Magic?
After averaging 27.4 points per game in only one season of NCAA play, the simple answer is offense. And a lot of it. Young is a prolific scorer. His excellent vision and handling ability make him an excellent point guard. But his jump shot and ability to run the floor are what make him so talented. Moreover, Young can really pass the ball. He tied the NCAA record for assists in a single game with a staggering 22.
Offense and ball movement are things the Magic have truly lacked in recent years. Especially in the backcourt. Young’s shooting ability will help them space the floor. That’s so even despite being the only focus of other teams this year. Additionally, his passing ability will help elevate players like Aaron Gordon. Only his catch-and-shoot abilities need a closer look.
Regardless, Young boasts a myriad of different NCAA and Big 12 records through his lone season at Oklahoma. Almost all of them are related to his offensive strengths. The Magic finished the year with the 24th-ranked offense. Among several areas that need work, the offense is arguably the biggest. Young will certainly help there.
What are the concerns about Young?
Certainly, Young has his noticeable weaknesses. Even players who go No. 1 overall do. Many think Young will struggle against the length and physicality of the NBA. Additionally, his penchant for turnovers and poor shot selection have drawn criticism. Young averaged a highly suspect 5.2 turnovers per game. He certainly took inadvisable shots as well.
Orlando’s scouts would be right to wonder if an equally offensively inept squad will make Young play any differently on the floor. If his surrounding cast wasn’t excellent in Oklahoma, will Orlando’s squad be much different?
The biggest concern with Trae Young is his defensive ability. Young has an especially hard time with screens. This is a problem considering how pick-and-roll heavy the modern NBA is.
Young will need a coach who can help him develop his defensive awareness. Understanding defensive schemes at the pro level will be key for him. His lack of length could also be a problem when contesting shots.
How concerning is Young’s size?
Overall, it seems like the biggest concerns with Young are related to his size. Why should the Magic draft Trae Young when he’s so undersized? In reality, he’s actually the average height of an NBA point guard. Several All-Star point guards like Chris Paul and Kemba Walker are actually even shorter.
Moreover, Young has gained almost 15 pounds in just a short few months since the end of the NCAA season. He went from a scrawny 170 pounds to a respectable 183. That bulk in size and muscle will certainly translate to an improved physicality on defense. Additionally, it speaks about the high work ethic he can bring to the Magic.
Trae Young now weighs 183 pounds, up from 170 when he started working with trainer @travellegaines two months ago and 177 at the combine. He was also able to bench 185 pounds fifteen times. When he started his training, he was at six. pic.twitter.com/uUD1z22dLq
— Bryan Kalbrosky (@BryanKalbrosky) May 31, 2018
Should the Magic draft Trae Young?
To put it bluntly, absolutely. While Young potentially has the lowest floor in the higher end of the lottery, he also has the highest ceiling. The Orlando Magic have been mired in mediocrity for a very long time. Modernizing the team with talent like Trae Young is exactly the right move for them. He’s drawn comparisons to Stephen Curry for good reason. If the Magic draft Trae Young, the team will make a major move towards becoming competitive again.
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