With just 10 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 Two
It’s likely that the Magic will use their early pick on adding a versatile forward to the team. However, their second pick in the first round, projected to come in the mid twenties, will most likely be used to add scoring depth to an inconsistent backcourt. Despite starting point guard Elfrid Payton showing improvements in recent weeks, many still feel he needs further time to develop his shooting. Additionally, shooting guard Evan Fournier could also see more playing time at the three next season, which might force the Magic to add depth at either guard spot. With plenty of talented guards available in the draft, the Magic have plenty of options when it comes to adding to the team.
Luke Kennard (Duke, 6’5″, SG, Sophomore)
Luke Kennard has become one of the ACC’s most consistent offensive scorers in his sophomore year. Making huge strides in his game, Kennard has developed into an all-around scoring threat. Shooting a 46.1 field goal percentage over his collegiate career, Kennard has also improved his three-point shooting. Hitting 44.8 percent on the three ball this season, Kennard can knock it down from beyond the arc both on catch-and-shoot attempts and off the dribble.
Averaging a stellar 19.5 points per game this season, Kennard has the court vision, basketball IQ and the natural feel for the game to succeed in the NBA. Kennard has excelled at Duke during his time in college and would seamlessly slide into the Magic roster. Perhaps overlooked by his efficient offense, Kennard has also proved to be a strong rebounder, averaging 5.1 rebounds per game this year. With the ability to slide in at the two or act as an impact scorer off the bench, Orlando would be wise not to pass on this talented young guard.
Jawun Evans (Oklahoma State, 6’1″, PG, Sophomore)
A versatile point guard that has almost all the intangibles to be a success in the NBA, Jawun Evans should be a player the Magic consider drafting. Whilst Evans would likely come in as a backup to Payton, he could make a strong case for being the teams starter, should Payton fail to develop consistency. Evans is putting up 19.2 points per game this season, shooting a consistent 45.8 percent from the field.
An effective guard, Evans has the court vision to develop into a more than able point guard, dropping 6.4 assists per game. Evans has also taken steps to improve his three-point game and has no trouble knocking it down from deep. Having recently declared for the draft, Evans is the type of player that the Magic could not only look to for a short-term boost, but also long-term consistency.
Donovan Mitchell (Louisville, 6’3″, PG/SG, Sophomore)
Our third and final player on the list Donovan Mitchell has the ability to play both guard spots and still provides the offensive boost that the Magic need. Taking huge strides in his sophomore year, Mitchell has improved his scoring output in almost every way. Much like Payton, Mitchell finishes at the rim with aggression and is able to manipulate his technique to gain contact on the shot for easy ‘and-one’ points.
Mitchell also has the ability to score consistently from mid-range, whilst also taking steps to improve his consistency from deep. Mitchell has increased his three-point shooting by over ten percent from his freshman year, now hitting on 35.4 percent of his three’s. At 15.6 points and 2.7 assists per game, Mitchell has no trouble filling in effectively at either the one or the two. Mitchell is equally effective on the defensive end, ranking seventh in defensive rating in the ACC. His ability to play confidently on both ends of the floor allows him to cause problems for whomever he lines up against.