The Orlando Magic landed two top-eight picks in the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night. They will have the No. 5 and No. 8 selections in the July 29 draft, joining the Warriors (No. 7 and No. 14) as the only teams with multiple lottery picks.
Orlando finished the regular season with the third-worst record in the NBA. It was tied for the best odds to win the No. 1 overall pick with the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets. Detroit won the top pick over Houston.
Now with the draft order set, the Magic have a couple options to help rebuild their roster amid their search for a new head coach. Injuries to Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, Michael Carter-Williams and Otto Porter Jr. this season forced them to rely on youth.
After back-to-back losing seasons, Orlando will be happy with whoever is available at picks five and eight, but the Magic should also be focused on who will best complement their roster. They moved All-Star center Nikola Vucevic (and Al-Farouq Aminu) at the trade deadline in March, acquiring Wendell Carter Jr., Porter and two first-round picks (including this year’s Bulls first-rounder that became Orlando's No. 8 pick).
Vucevic’s extraordinary numbers — 24.5 points and 11.8 rebounds in 44 games with the Magic — did not translate to success, as Orlando finished 14th in the Eastern Conference under Steve Clifford. A guard/wing-first approach is needed.
Here are the top-three draft options for the Magic (if available).
Jonathan Kuminga, forward, G League Ignite: Kuminga can be described as a two-way forward. His 6-8, 220-pound stature is an ideal profile for his position. The native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo played on the G League Ignite team last season and showed the ability to take defenders one-on-one and score at the rim. He is extremely explosive with quick moves and his back to the basket. The 19-year-old's raw talent makes him the perfect athlete to groom into an unstoppable power forward in the league.
Jalen Suggs, guard, Gonzaga: Standing at 6-foot-4, Suggs' length is the one thing going against him in the league, but his speed going downhill makes up for it. He is a powerful guard who plays with a lot of confidence and finishes well at the basket. In just one season with Gonzaga, Suggs proved he is a mature decision-maker who makes unselfish plays. He averaged 4.5 assists (in 28.9 minutes) per game, awarding cutters and post players in the paint. Despite a rocky shooting performance in the national championship game, Suggs, with his sound mechanics and defending skills, would be a great addition to the Magic's backcourt.
Davion Mitchell, guard, Baylor: ESPN’s Mike Schmitz called Mitchell this draft’s most NBA-ready prospect. He is certainly the best two-way player in this year’s class. The 6-2 Mitchell does not have elite size, but he does have a strong lower body and quick feet. His ability to fight over screens and keep the ball and man in front of him on defense landed him the Naismith and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors. On offense, he is deceptively quick with his slow-to-fast drives to the basket and is quite consistent. Last season with Baylor, Mitchell shot 51 percent from the field and 45 percent from behind the arc.
These options are all up in the air with Orlando's first pick sitting at No. 5. President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman was slightly disappointed about not getting a higher pick, but he said the Magic ultimately did get lucky with their two-pick opportunity.
“I do believe that there are some unique, very talented candidates to become the players that outperform that (draft) position,” Weltman said. “We’re very excited to be able to start to get to know those kids. We’ll begin that process when we get back from Chicago (at the draft combine), and to have two of them (picks) is exciting for us.”