Around the Association: 2010 NBA Draft Previews - Orlando Magic: Improving via draft while Dwight Howard improves

26 25 days until the 2010 NBA Draft! Sorry for not posting yesterday -- took the day off, but I'll be catching up with two previews today.

The 59th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft belongs to the recently departed Orlando Magic, who also own the 29th pick. I delayed posting about the Magic to let a few days pass and any discussions on off-season needs marinate a little.

Let's take a look at who's committed on the roster for 2010-11 and who's not...

COMMITTED MAYBE OUT?
pg Jameer Nelson Jason Williams

Anthony Johnson
sg Vince Carter Matt Barnes
J.J. Redick
sf Rashard Lewis
Mickael Pietrus
pf Brandon Bass
Ryan Anderson
c Dwight Howard Adonal Foyle
Marcin Gortat

According to HoopsHype.com's Salaries Database for the Magic, J.J. Redick has a potential qualifying offer coming up which could make him a restricted free agent, which at this point means he's 50/50 on coming back for 2010-11 --  a lot depends on his market value.

Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm just learning all of these salary cap rules as I go), but I believe the only other option is to let him walk without extending a qualifying offer to him, which would essentially mean the Magic don't want him -- as Portland did with Channing Frye -- and he becomes an unrestricted free agent. I don't see that happening, compared with the qualifying offer.

Barnes has a player option at $1.6 million. Williams, Johnson, and Foyle do not have contracts lined up for 2010-11.

So here's what I see with the Magic...

  • They have a good bevy of big men. Actually, if they did nothing with their roster and Howard came back with some fierce post moves, we're looking at a possible 2010-11 NBA champion. Superman can't just sit back and rely on his other-worldly powers. He actually has to work to improve as a human being on the court. So, in a way, all of this analysis is whack. Dwight Howard gets better, Orlando gets better.
  • They will need a backup point guard.
  • With Carter having a team option for $18 million after next season, and with Redick's future kind of dependent on him staying in his role as a backup, I think the Magic have to start wondering about the 2-guard position.

So let's see what NBAdraft.net, DraftExpress, and Chad Ford have to say about it...

No. 29 pick

  • NBAdraft.net: Damion James (sf, 6'7", 227, Texas, senior). James is a slasher/rebounder and could have come out last year. His stock probably would've been higher if he did. Perhaps he felt that Texas would have a better season this year with the addition of the #1 high school prep at the time, Avery Bradley (John Wall was #2), who's now a sure-fire 1st-round pick this year. James is very athletic, very mobile, and can probably come in and contribute right away. He's not really a proven scorer or shooter and plays on instinct. He's got some ceiling to grow into. On a Magic team full of tall shooters and post-up big men, James fits nicely in between, although I wouldn't say that's a priority niche right now, especially not with a first-round pick.
  • DraftExpress: Quincy Pondexter (sf, 6'6", 220, Washington, senior). Pondexter is a Poor Man's Wes Johnson. He's one of those long, lanky, versatile small forwards. As you would expect with most seniors in this year's Draft, he's just not quite as dynamic as you would like in any single category. Again, he would fit well in the niche between the Magic's shooters and post-up big men. You might say that Pondexter's ceiling is Rashard Lewis.
  • Chad Ford: Willie Warren (sg, 6'3", 210, Oklahoma, sophomore). Warren is one of those so-called "combo" guards (a moniker I detest), which means he's a shooting guard trapped inside an NBA point guard's body. He's got really smooth moves, and can handle the rock pretty decently. As a result, I really like Ford's prediction here. Despite Warren's attitude problems, which seemed to be a team-wide issue with Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel (being a former Dukie does not automatically make you a baby Coach K!), Warren definitely appeared to be an NBA talent trying to conform to the college format in the games that I watched.

No. 59 pick

  • NBAdraft.net: Hamady Ndiaye (c, 7'0", 240, Rutgers, senior). I got to see Ndiaye in person at the Portsmouth Invitational this year, but I didn't think he had what it takes to be in the NBA. I felt the best big man at Portsmouth was UNC's Deon Thompson, and that was a bit of a stretch. Ndiaye actually played on Jeremy Lin's Portsmouth team and was your typical 7-foot semi-athletic rebounder type who doesn't really have any post moves. You will see a TON of these types of players at the NBA Summer League in July. I think with the depth of this year's Draft, the Magic can do better even with a pick as low as #59.
  • DraftExpress: Andrew Ogilvy (c, 7'0", 240, Vanderbilt, junior). I do not have any information on Ogilvy. I find that a strange prediction by DraftExpress, considering he's not been on any mock draft radar for the whole year, and that this is a Draft deep in NBA rotation players -- and big man, at that. For example, Cornell's Jeff Foote has at least been a blip on the radar and, while I can't picture Foote in the NBA (he's way too slow and indecisive or non-aggressive with his moves), I can picture him at NBA Summer League. Yet Foote's not even rated higher than this Ogilvy, whom I had not heard of prior to this.
  • Chad Ford: does not project 2nd round picks

My first-round pick analysis for the Magic:

  • In case they drop: As I said, Willie Warren would be a great pick at #29. If any of the shooting guards are available prior to him -- Avery Bradley, James Anderson, Dominique Jones, Eric Bledsoe -- I would go with those guys.
  • Guys I'm not sold on: I watched Mississippi play a few times last season and each time, shooting guard Terrico White was not even the best player on his team; Eniel Polynice was the only one who looked like he had a remote shot at the NBA. White couldn't shoot, couldn't dribble with his head up as a point guard, and basically was a huge disappointment in my eyes because he had been hyped by all the big mocks. I also don't like Nevada point guard Armon Johnson going in the first round. He's alright, but he's not first-round material. Lance Stephenson of Cincinnati is unproven and I did not get a chance to evaluate Eliot Williams of Memphis. These are all 1's and 2's the Magic could pick at #29.
  • Projected later than #29: Some mocks have Jordan Crawford of Xavier going later than #29. He might be a sleeper pick for the Magic, although he's more of a pure shooter a la Pietrus than a penetrator/shooter combo. Everyone else later than 29th that I can see the Magic picking, would be more of a selection at #59 should they drop.

My second-round pick analysis for the Magic:

I think they should be picking a backup point guard with the 59th pick. Here are some possibilities...

  • Mikhail Torrance, who trains out of nearby IMG Academies, would probably be the Magic's dream pick if he's available that late. On my blog, I called him a Poor Man's Russell Westbrook.
  • Jerome Randle would be a smaller clone of Jameer Nelson. On my blog, I quoted the trainer from IMG as saying that Orlando loses nothing if Randle subs in for Jameer.
  • Armon Johnson would be a decent fit into the Magic's system. He doesn't really shoot very well and does not necessarily possess blazing speed, sort of like a stronger, more athletic re-incarnation of Avery Johnson.
  • The draft stock for Matt Bouldin is virtually non-existent at this juncture, but he could be a solid pick. I'd certainly rather have this big 6'5" 214 frame than Jason Williams going willy-nilly out there.
  • Sherron Collins could be a decent pick at #59 to backup Jameer. The ceiling for Collins is Derek Fisher, so that makes sense and it'd be good for Jameer to go up against him everyday in practice.
  • I think Greivis Vasquez will be, similar to a Jeremy Lin, a marketing-related pick. Is the Miami stronghold of Venezuelans a bit too far commute-wise to get to Orlando? Probably. Also, I'm not sure that he fits into the Magic's system.
  • Lin would also be a decent fit into the Magic's system because he can move the ball around via dribble-drive and is always looking to find an open shooter. However, because I think Lin is mostly a marketing pick, I find it hard to picture him in a Magic uniform, in a populace as devoid of Asian-American ticket-buyers as Orlando.
  • Jon Scheyer has no chance of getting picked by the Magic as a backup point because of Redick and the Duke connection. No way.

Of course, this could all be wrong. Watch as GM Otis Smith drafts two big men!

NEXT: Atlanta or Phoenix

PREVIOUS:
DAL - Depends on Dirk and Dampier dollars (50th, 57th picks)
CHA - S-Jax stuck (no draft picks)
DEN - Just need Coach Karl back? (no draft picks)
CLE - If you leave (no draft picks)

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