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NBA draft preview: Who ought to the Magic draft with the No. 1 decide on?


The Orlando Magic know just as nicely as any group how owning the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft can change a franchise’s trajectory.

The very last a few times the Magic had a draft’s No. 1 decide, they knocked it out of the park: Shaquille O’Neal in 1992, Chris Webber — whom Orlando traded to the Golden State Warriors for Penny Hardaway and three long run to start with-rounders — in ‘93, and Dwight Howard in 2004.

Now president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman gets his very first shot with Orlando at No. 1 in Thursday’s draft, like the pressure that will come with picking out the type of franchise-altering players affiliated with the prime pick.

The Magic also have two 2nd-spherical picks — Nos. 32 and 35.

“I hardly ever would place the pressure on anybody buying 15, 8 or 1 that you are acquiring a franchise dude,” Weltman stated forward of the draft, which begins at 8 p.m. from Barclays Center in New York.

The draft will be broadcast on ABC (initial round) and ESPN (very first and second spherical).

Weltman added: “I do not feel which is fair to a male who has not performed a moment in the NBA yet.”

Nonetheless, individuals are the anticipations that come with the No. 1 decide on. The clock has been ticking on Orlando considering the fact that the mid-Might draft lottery, and it’s Weltman’s and the Magic’s basketball operations leadership jobs to get the pick suitable.

Duke’s Paolo Banchero, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Auburn’s Jabari Smith are considered the prime players in the draft, with most rival executives and scouts believing the No. 1 choose will occur down to Holmgren or Smith.

Each individual prospect brings a skillset and argument for staying the top rated decide on.

The situation for Banchero: He may possibly be the closest point to a go-to offensive option in this draft course because of the superior-stage scoring and passing he showed with the Blue Devils. Banchero can make performs in a myriad strategies with the ball in his hands.

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The situation for Holmgren: A skillset on the two ends of the ground not normally found from a player his dimension (7 feet and 195 pounds with a 7-foot-6 wingspan). He has the mix of rim security, defensive versatility, handles, touch near the rim, basketball IQ and ground-spacing capacity that make some think he could turn into a defensive anchor and offensive focal position.

The situation for Smith: A combination of sizing, capturing/scoring skill and flexibility on both ends that is scarce. Smith can score in a variety of techniques without having needing to create substantial strengths and brings a defensive depth that could enable him come to be a two-way star.

“In terms of these 3 [players], as perfectly a selection of many others, [they] can be foreseeable future All-Stars,” Ryan Blake, who’s served immediate scouting companies for the NBA since 1996, claimed in a recent cellular phone phone with the Orlando Sentinel. “The previous cliché [is] it is in the eye of the beholder. It’s shut.”

In the long run, Smith is the player the Magic should really choose at No. 1.

Smith would give the defensive versatility the Magic and coach Jamahl Mosley price and the shotmaking Orlando needs off location-ups, pull-ups, from the elbows and posts or coming off screens.

He’s the most verified shooter (42% from beyond the arc on 5.5 makes an attempt with the Tigers) and would open up up the flooring for the Magic, which they need to have right after taking pictures 33.1% from past the arc (league’s 3rd-worst mark) in 2021-22.

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His ball managing and playmaking have to have to increase, but the Magic have ballhandlers (Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr.) to have the development responsibilities though he is effective on people abilities to develop into the total-time go-to solution he has the prospective to be.

Defensively, Smith will be equipped to swap across most, if not all, positions. There should not be a defensive coverage he simply cannot enjoy. The Magic prided themselves on defense their 1st period under Mosley, and Smith matches into that.

Smith would unlock lineup combinations for the Magic on equally finishes of the ground much more than any other participant in this draft, elevating their collective flooring and ceiling while fitting into what Orlando began building soon after kicking off a rebuild in March 2021 centered all around young talent.

He’s also the most malleable player of the three on the court docket, letting the Magic to assemble a assortment of rosters all over him depending on which path their front business office decides to get the rebuild and how the NBA’s foreseeable future looks.

Banchero and Holmgren would fill needs for the Magic in their personal ways, but Smith must be the player the Magic focus on at No. 1.

“I’m pretty confident that we are heading to get a guy with size, talent, IQ, skill, character — everything that we want to be about,” Weltman explained. “We’re likely to add him to our team of by now interesting young gamers. We’ll place him in a place to absolutely improve his prospective. Outside of that, it goes in which it goes.”

This write-up first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Electronic mail Khobi Cost at khprice@orlandosentinel.com or observe him on Twitter at @khobi_selling price.

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