Cohen 8-Ball: Assessing Magic's Draft Direction
February 11, 2013
Josh Cohen’s Analysis: There are still more than four months until the NBA Draft, but it’s never too early to start assessing the Magic’s direction in the draft. While per league policy no collegiate prospects can be mentioned on this site before they officially declare for the draft, we can still analyze Orlando’s most essential needs. CLICK NEXT for some position-by-position evaluation and what the Magic should target in June’s highly anticipated draft. Also consider, Orlando’s current roster could alter with the trade deadline approaching later this month.
Cohen’s Analysis: Nikola Vucevic has been one of the league’s most pleasant surprises and has proven to be an elite rebounder with a potential to become a privileged scorer because of his all-encompassing offensive arsenal. “Vooch,” however, must improve on his overall aggressiveness and defense in the paint to evolve into a top five center in the NBA. Therefore, the Magic could theoretically focus in the draft on a “big” to partner with Nik that is more defensive-oriented and has a propensity to block shots and intimidate opponents inside. Think of a “Twin Towers” concept like Duncan and Robinson or Sampson and Olajuwon.
Cohen’s Analysis: With Glen Davis presumed out for the rest of the season with a fractured foot, Andrew Nicholson will get a plethora of playing time. If the Magic draft a “big” with their First Round pick, it would suggest that both Big Baby and Drew are valued as dependable “role players” rather than starting lineup difference-makers. Some believe Nicholson will transform into an influential force in the league because of his offensive prowess. His fancy footwork, silky touch around the basket and reliable 15-foot jumper are distinctive. Others, however, wonder if he will be able to overturn those defensive liabilities.
Cohen’s Analysis: Many feel the small forward position is the spot that needs the most upgrade. However, that assessment profoundly depends on the development and growth of Maurice Harkless, who has recently shown more flashes of what he can eventually be. The intangibles are there as is the athleticism. But is Harkless the perfect “role player” or he can he evolve into an imposing force on both ends of the floor. Some are adamant that Maurice will be a borderline All-Star in a few years, while others aren’t convinced he has enough of an offensive repertoire to be that impactful.
Cohen’s Analysis: If J.J. Redick remains with the Magic past this season and with Arron Afflalo budding into one of the premier shooting guards in the league, it probably wouldn’t seem rational to draft another “2.” If J.J. is traded or simply chooses not to re-sign as a free agent this summer, perhaps selecting another wing scorer would be a justifiable option. Presently, though, Orlando is extremely happy with the Afflalo/Redick combo.
Cohen’s Analysis: Jameer Nelson is enjoying the best season of his career. His assist average is up almost two dishes from last season and his scoring totals are the best since his All-Star year in 2008-09 (injured his shoulder that season). Unless there is some sort of blockbuster trade that involves Nelson, which seems very implausible, there doesn’t appear to be a need for the Magic to concentrate on another floor general in June.
Cohen’s Analysis: Depending on the general manager and team philosophy, some believe, especially when picking higher in the draft, that it’s wise to forget about positional needs and simply choose the best player available. Wherever the Magic are slotted in the draft order, perhaps there will be a talent that can’t be passed up even if Orlando is already established at that particular position.
Cohen’s Analysis: By everyone’s account who cover college basketball, this year’s NBA Draft will likely not be the kind of draft in which the team that wins the lottery lands a franchise superstar and those who don’t settle for average talent. Rather, sources continue to claim that this will be one of the more balanced drafts as it relates to the top 10 projected picks.