The NBA Draft is just a few days away and rumors are viciously circulating around the basketball world. The Orlando Magic have all the cards in their hands heading into Thursday. Following a front office shakeup, Magic general manager John Hammond has made his intentions clear regarding the draft. Orlando will likely look to trade one or more of their four draft picks; and as a fan of mock drafts, I simply couldn’t resist writing up one more before the draft. With that being said, let’s get straight into the final Orlando Magic mock draft of the offseason.
Orlando Magic Mock Draft 3.0: Draft Week Edition
ORL Receives: D’Angelo Russell, 28th pick, 2018 second-round pick
LAL Receives: Nikola Vucevic, 6th pick, 35th pick
We start this mock draft with a trade. The rebuilding Magic are in need of a point guard for the future, and who better than the Lakers backcourt star. During his two seasons in the league, Russell has established himself as a future All-Star guard. Averaging 14.3 points per game over his career so far, Russell has shown promising signs early in his career. Shooting an efficient 40.8% from the floor, as well as 35.1% from beyond the arc, Russell fits into the productive scoring role the Magic are in need of. Russell also has no problem moving the ball, averaging 4.8 assists per game this past season. Having established himself as a leader both on and off the court in Los Angeles, Russell fills the need of a strong figure in the Orlando locker room.
Although the Magic may be forced to give up a veteran presence in Vucevic, the Lakers are gaining exactly what they need. Perhaps more importantly, the Magic will not only receive a potential franchise point guard in Russell but will also free up some much-needed cap room heading into free agency. Despite sacrificing the sixth pick, Orlando will gain an additional first-round pick to strengthen the roster. This trade would seem increasingly likely if the players such as Malik Monk, Jayson Tatum, and Dennis Smith Jr. are no longer available for Hammond and his team.
Round One, Pick 25 (via Toronto Raptors)
Donovan Mitchell (Louisville, 6’3″, SG, Sophomore)
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. 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, and would be the perfect edition to the roster.
Round One, Pick 28 (Projected Trade)
Mathias Lessort (Nanterre, 6’9″, PF, France)
The Frenchman plays with aggressiveness and is one of the most physical athletes in the draft class. The Magic will surely be looking to add some depth at the four spot behind Aaron Gordon and Lessort looks to be the perfect compliment. Lessort displays high intensity on the boards and is a fierce defensive player. Averaging 7.2 rebounds this season. His 10.6 points per game are steady, shooting an efficient 58.8% from the field. Lessort has several areas for improvement, including being undersized for a power forward. Additionally, his shooting leaves a lot to be desired, especially from beyond the arc. Despite these faults, Lessort has the potential to be an effective role player in Orlando.
Round Two, Pick 33 (via Los Angeles Lakers)
Josh Hart (Villanova, 6’5″, SG, Senior)
A player who has consistently improved during his collegiate career, Hart has been clinical to the Wildcats success in recent years, leading them to the NCAA Championship in 2016. Another impressive offensive player, Hart has developed his shooting every season at college. This past year he put up 18.7 points per game, shooting 51% from the floor and over 40% from three. Hart also excels on the defensive end, averaging 1.6 steals per game and taking home the 2016-17 Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award. At the age of 22 however, although there is room for development, Hart’s age has limited his prospects. Having said that, the Villanova guard would be a great threat off the bench for the Magic.