Tuck: Orlando Magic Building To Summer 2014

The Orlando Magic would currently have the 6th pick in the NBA Draft before the lottery takes place.  They could be bumped down, or even climb up if Pat Williams works more of his Magic.  There is still half a season to play, but it’s worth looking ahead.  Unfortunately the reality is that this just isn’t a great draft.  Not at the top, middle, or bottom.  It doesn’t mean that there aren’t any good players, just that there aren’t any players teams would be tripping over themselves to pick.

So this long season of losing will continue, and this summer is unlikely to bring any free agent fruits off the tree for Orlando.  They could spend, but why spend to be average in 2013 when you can save and hope to be great in 2014?  A slow build looks like the most reasonable option for GM Rob Hennigan.

In my opinion, the best players available for the Magic to pick this summer will be: UCLA SG Shabazz Muhammad, Kentucky C Nerlens Noel, UNLV PF Anthony Bennett, North Carolina PF James Michael McAdoo, Georgetown SF Otto Porter, Kansas SG Ben McLemore, and Syracuse PG Michael Carter-Williams.

If the Magic pick in their current range or lower, then they should focus on just drafting the best player.  Don’t worry about what your current roster is telling you that you need.  Remember, planning for 2014.

The Orlando Magic are most likely to have a quiet summer after the draft saving their money for the next year.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this loaded free agent class for 2014!  Yes, that could include LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and many other superstars.

Orlando could have the opportunity to spend money on one or two big-time free agents that year with just Glen Davis and Aaron Afflalo with fully guaranteed deals of any real consequence.  The rest of the roster could just be kids on rookie deals (and second deals) and the Magic could be sitting around $25 million in salaries, which would be some $33 million under the cap.

Who the Magic attract will largely depend on the development of Andrew Nicholson, Nik Vucevic, Maurice Harkless, and future draft picks.  That will also probably determine how good they could be with a couple of free agent additions.  Remember, Boston had Paul Pierce when they got KG and Allen, but it wouldn’t have worked if they had not drafted a Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green (to trade to Seattle for Allen) and Al Jefferson (to trade to Minnesota for KG).

So it isn’t just about 2014, it’s about the decisions they make that lead up to that summer.  2014 could be a blockbuster summer and the Magic could be right in the middle of it.