ORLANDO – The dust from the draft lottery is just starting to settle and the NBA Draft Combine is now underway.
Now that the Orlando Magic are fully aware of where they’ll be selecting in the 2023 NBA Draft, they’re beginning to fully evaluate which players will be worthy of their picks, who will potentially be available, and what other teams around them might do.
“To have two lottery picks is exciting for us,” said Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman. “Now, the hard work starts and the fun starts. We get to meet these guys that we’ve been tracking all year and talking about and tracking on video. So, to have them in and see who’s the right fit for us will be a really exciting process to go through as always. And it’s also a lot of work. We have to figure out for the architecture of our team what allows us to play the best basketball? What gives us the greatest upside? And how to move forward?”
In order to come to that conclusion, Orlando will take all the data it gains from the combine, in-person interviews, and individual workouts at the AdventHealth Training Center and pair that with all the scouting information it’s gained over the years.
With that process just getting underway, it’s impossible for anyone to accurately predict who the Magic will select with their two lottery picks. However, that doesn’t stop us from taking an early look at who the media is pegging for Orlando at the No. 6 and 11 spots, and which prospects will be in play when the Magic are on the clock.
Here’s a look at what they’re saying:
No. 6 - Taylor Hendricks | F | UCF: "The Magic love guys like Hendricks who are long, athletic and have high upside. On top of that, Hendricks actually fills a real need as a shooter for a team that really could use one."
No. 11 - Gradey Dick | SG/SF | Kansas: "The Magic need shooting around Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner, especially if they’re going to continue with a backcourt core of Markelle Fultz and Jalen Suggs. Dick is an elite shooter. This is an easy one." - Sam Vecenie | Read More
No. 6 - Ausar Thompson | SF | Overtime Elite: "Thompson has the chance to sway some hesitant executives during workouts with enough comfortable shooting that points to achievable improvement. Regardless, he's going to bring Orlando instant transition offense, easy baskets and defensive pressure/versatility while his creation and shot-making skills gradually develop."
No. 11 - Keyonte George | SG | Baylor: "George's shot-making would also work well in the rotation, either at the starting 2-guard spot or for a bench-scoring role." - Jonathan Wasserman | Read More
No. 6 - Anthony Black | PG | Arkansas: "The Magic have promising frontcourt players but could really use comparable young guards. Black has a chance to be one thanks to the fact that he has great size for his position and the ability to make incredible passes and make plays out of pick-and-rolls."
No. 11 - Keyonte George | SG | Baylor: "George wasn't the most consistent freshman in the country in his one season at Baylor, but his ability to navigate pick-and-rolls, put pressure on defenses and score is undeniable." - Gary Parrish | Read More
No. 6 - Ausar Thompson | SF | Overtime Elite: "The Magic are loaded with young talent throughout their roster, especially in the frontcourt, with Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr. Adding an explosive wing with upside such as Ausar who can play anywhere from point guard through power forward makes sense with the roster pieces they currently have."
No. 11 - Jordan Hawkins | SG | UCONN: "Surrounding their young talent with floor spacers will be a major priority for the Magic, who ranked among the NBA's least prolific 3-point shooting teams last season. Hawkins led all projected prospects in 3-pointers made, making 39% of his attempts on UConn's path to a national championship." - Jonathan Givony | Read More
No. 6 - Cam Whitmore | F | Villanova: "The big need for the Magic entering the 2023 NBA Draft? A catch-and-shoot offensive option who can do a variety of things. While Whitmore is not a proven shooter, he has shown the ability to get hot from 3, shooting just over 34% on the season. The first one-and-done Villanova prospect since Tim Thomas in 1997, Whitmore has a good handle while being a really active defender and rebounder."
No. 11 - Gradey Dick | SG/SF | Kansas: "Dick's shooting release is really sharp, and he can move well without the ball, a nice attribute to an offensive system with a playmaker like Banchero. The amount of pressure he puts on a defense to guard the 3-point line can lead to him scoring as a driver and slasher while being able to make plays with a high IQ." - John Fanta | Read More
No. 6 - Anthony Black | PG | Arkansas: "The Magic are building an identity with players who are jumbo-sized for their skillsets and positions. As a 6-foot-7 point guard, Black would fit that mold as another tall playmaker. He would also help Orlando take their already-solid defense up another level as a uniquely versatile guard who is tall enough to switch onto forwards."
No. 11 - Gradey Dick | SG/SF | Kansas: "Known for his 3-point shooting prowess and 40.3% deep-ball percentage this past year at Kansas, Dick has many skills that teams covet in a draft prospect. He plays hard, has good length that leads him to above-average rebounding and steal rates, as well as an assertive demeanor he brings to the court." - Tyler Byrum and Chase Hughes | Read More
No. 6 - Ausar Thompson | SF | Overtime Elite: "With Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero and a host of other long, versatile players like Franz Wagner on the roster, the Magic should think about Thompson because of his ability to be a switchable piece on defense."
No. 11 - Gradey Dick | SG/SF | Kansas: "With his shooting ability, Dick provides something the Magic don’t have; the team ranked 27th in 3-point attempts and 24th in 3-point percentage this season. After going with Ausar Thompson at no. 6, it makes even more sense to lean toward a shooter here." - Kevin O’Connor | Read More
No. 6 - Taylor Hendricks | F | UCF: "Hendricks is suddenly one of the hottest names in this draft with real potential to go in the top-10. The 6’9 forward checks a lot of boxes teams are looking for in a modern four: he can protect the rim a bit (his 6.2 percent block rate ranked No. 94 in the country), he can hit a spot-up three (39 percent from deep this year), and he can finish plays above the rim as a dunker."
No. 11 - Gradey Dick | SG/SF | Kansas: "Dick is the favorite to earn the ‘best shooter in the class’ label. The 6’8 freshman made 40.3 percent of 206 attempts on three-pointers this year, mostly on shots his teammates created for him. With deep range and a quick release, Dick is the sort of shooter opposing defenses have to stay glued to, and that opens things up for everyone else." - Ricky O'Donnell | Read More
No. 6 - Cam Whitmore | F | Villanova: "Whitmore brings a motor and selflessness to a team already hosting some interesting pieces like Franz Wagner & reigning Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero."
No. 11 - Gradey Dick | SG/SF | Kansas: "The Magic went with a tenacious athlete at pick six in this mock, and pair him with elite sharpshooter Gradey Dick at pick 11. Dick will be an effective and efficient offensive option from day one." - Ian Black | Read More
No. 6 - Ausar Thompson | SF | Overtime Elite: "The Magic are set in the frontcourt with Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr. In Ausar, Orlando will add another tenacious backcourt defender with a much-needed scoring prowess."
No. 11 - Keyonte George | SG | Baylor: "The Magic have an opportunity to add two young, talented guards to the mix with their lottery picks. After taking the more defensive-minded Ausar Thompson at No. 6, they should target an offensive weapon like George at No. 11." - Kyle Irving | Read More
No. 6 - Ausar Thompson | SF | Overtime Elite: "Ausar has great size, especially when he plays point guard. He also has strength and athleticism ... He can beat defenders with the dribble, can direct the offense, and he improved his jump shot this season."
No. 11 - Cason Wallace | G | Kentucky: "You can rely on Wallace for highlight reel-worthy steals and chase-down blocks, but he can also get it down on the offensive end with his ability knock down a shot." - Lindsay Schnell, Cydney Henderson, and Jeff Zillgitt | Read More
No. 6 - Jarace Walker | F | Houston: "Walker's size and defensive versatility make him an intriguing prospect inside the top 10. He has the most NBA-ready frame for a big and is comfortable stepping outside the paint and knocking down shots."
No. 11 - Keyonte George | SG | Baylor: "George had an up-and-down season at Baylor but one thing is loud and clear, he can score from all over the court and isn’t afraid to have the ball in his hands in big moments or at the end of the shot clock." - Krysten Peek | Read More
Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by Dan Savage are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.