Insider: The Orlando Magic & The Draft: Wings
We continue our look at which players the Magic could select with the 19th pick in the NBA Draft. The draft will take place on Thursday, June 28.
We already took a look at the point guards that could be available.
Today, we’ll take a look at the wings (In case you missed it, here is the story about wings the Magic could target in free agency).
Of course, the Magic aren’t in position to land the likes of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Kentucky, Bradley Beal of Florida, Harrison Barnes of North Carolina or even local product Austin River of Duke, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find a solid player.
Terrence Jones of Kentucky, who falls somewhere in the Small Forward/Power Forward category, will be long gone.
You can make a great argument small forward is Orlando’s worst position with Hedo Turkoglu and Quentin Richardson and is therefore their biggest need. So let’s take a look at three wings who could still be on the board when the Magic are on the clock.
Moe Harkless, St. John’s
Harkless left the Red Storm after just one season. The small forward had a fantastic freshman season, averaging 15.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Harkless was named the Big East Newcomer of the Year.
Harkless possesses good size (he measured in with a height of just under 6’9, which is great and a wing span of 7’0 at the NBA Draft Combine last week, which was a little disappointing) and is clearly an excellent rebounder, not only evidenced by his per-game average, but by his offensive rebounding rate of 8.4% and his defensive rebounding rate of 18.1%.
Harkless’s size and athleticism give him the opportunity to evolve into a good defender.
Clearly, Harkless can score, but his shot needs a lot of work. Harkless is good around the basket, but will clearly have more trouble scoring in the paint in the NBA. Harkless shot 44.5% from the field, but just 20.2% from beyond the arc.
Harkless has plenty of time to improve – the Queens native is just 19.
Harkless’s physical attributes make him a very interesting prospect and he clearly has a lot of upside so it will be tempting to take him if he’s there at 19. Whether or not he will still be around when the Magic pick, is a toss-up. Most pundits have Harkless going in that 17-25 range.
However, as the draft inches closer, Harkless’s stock continues to rise and a source told ESPN Florida Harkless is very unlikely to be available at 19.
Quincy Miller, Baylor
Miller was somewhat overshadowed at Baylor, mainly because of the hype surrounding his teammate and probable lottery pick, Perry Jones III.
Still, Miller was able to average 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, while helping Baylor reach the Elite Eight, where they bowed out to eventual national champion Kentucky. Miller played just one season with the Bears.
Miller’s size is the first thing that sticks out to you. At the combine, he was 6’10 in shoes and had a 7’1.25 wingspsan.
Miller was only the fourth leading scorer for the Bears behind Pierre Jackson (13.8 ppg), Jones (13.5 ppg) and Quincy Acy (12.0 ppg).
As a freshman coming off of ACL surgery with proven players like Jackson, Jones and Acy, it’s somewhat understandable Miller would go somewhat unnoticed. However, his inconsistency is troubling – he was even held scoreless against Texas back in February and only scored in double digits once (10 points against 14th seed South Dakota) in four NCAA tournament games.
Of course, you have to look at the positives. Miller had plenty of big games, including a 29-point performance against then fifth ranked Missouri in a one-point loss. He also scored 20 points on just 10 shots in the second meeting between the two teams.
On the season, Miller shot 44.7% from the field and showed off some range, shooting 34.8% from three.
Walker Beeken of Draft Express explains what could be Miller’s biggest asset, saying “Miller’s most impressive attribute might be his ability to create shots off the dribble. He doesn’t have the most explosive first step, but he has outstanding scoring instincts, doing a nice job utilizing shot fakes and showing terrific ball-handling skills for a player at 6-9. He’s able to put the ball on the floor with either hand and utilize crossovers, hesitations, spin moves, jukes, and step-back dribbles to create separation to get his shot off, with superb body control and very polished footwork.”
Despite his lack of strength, Miller’s ability to score in the paint is another asset.
One would think Miller’s height and length would make him a good defender, but Baylor mostly plays zone.
Despite his inconsistencies, Miller’s talent and potential will make the Magic give him a long look if he’s available at 19. Miller is seeing similar projections as Harkless.
Terrence Ross, Washington
This season, his second with the Huskies, Ross averaged 16.4 points, 6.4 rebounds 1.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
Ross was Washington’s leading scorer, edging out fellow projected first rounder Tony Wroten, and was also Washington’s second leading rebounder.
Ross measured in at 6’6 without shoes and 6’7 in shoes. His wingspan of 6’7.25 seems a little small for his height.
This first thing you notice about Ross’s game is that he takes – and makes – a lot of three-pointers. Ross attempted 194 treys and connected on 37.1%. Ross also takes a lot of mid-range jumpers.
Ross connected on 76.6% of his free throws last season and had a free throw rate of 20.0%.
Despite being an excellent athlete, Ross has trouble getting to and finishing at the rim. Joe Treutlein of Draft Express says Ross “remains largely limited due to his still unpolished ball-handling and average basketball IQ.” He goes on to say Ross “does very little attacking off traditional isolations from the perimeter and doesn’t try to force the issue much in this regard, playing well to his strengths in his team’s offense.”
Defensively, Ross is considered a very good on ball defender.
Most experts have Ross right in that same group with Harkless and Miller.
Jeff Taylor, a three-point marksmen from Vanderbilt, who worked out for the Magic and Will Barton of Memphis, are other potential choices at 19.
Dion Waiters of Syracuse is an intriguing prospect the Magic could make a run at, but you’d think with Jason Richardson and J.J. Redick at shooting guard, they’d like to get a bigger player. Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut will likely have been off the board for a while and I’m not sure how the Magic would feel about taking a foreign prospect like Evan Fournier, who is from France. Doron Lamb of Kentucky is also an intriguing prospect, but selecting him at 19 seems like a reach.Despite playing on a team with four sure fire first round picks in Anthony Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Jones and Marquis Teague, Lamb was still the second leading scorer for the national champs. The Magic worked out Ohio State sharpshooter William Buford and would probably target him in the second round. The Magic are scheduled to work out South Dakota guard Charlie Westbrook this week. He’s considered a second round pick. Hampton guard Darrion Pellum also worked out for the Magic.
(Andrew Melnick is the ESPNFlorida.com Magic and NBA Insider, co-host of the ESPN 1080 Insiders Show and publishr of Howard the Dunk. The Insiders Show can be heard Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST on AM 1080 in Orlando and on ESPNFlorida.com. You can follow Andrew on twitter here.)Insider: The Orlando Magic & The Draft: Wings by Andrew Melnick